BY ROWENA CROSBIE, president, Tero International

It is a rare leader who doesn’t claim a sincere interest in fostering a culture of inclusivity at work. Most leaders even mean it.

In pursuit of this worthwhile goal, organizations implement policies to ensure all people are treated equally. On a grander scale, laws are passed with the same end in mind for society.

Yet unfairness prevails. Why?

In Chapter 96 of our book, Your Invisible Toolbox, my co-author, Deborah Rinner, and I highlight the basic human tendency to unconsciously filter information. Shortcuts are part of our natural brain functioning. Unconscious organizing delivers benefits such as expediency in decision-making. But too often it results in outcomes that unfairly disadvantage people.

Do good intentions coupled with the unconscious tendency to categorize absolve us of discriminatory behavior? If you believe the answer is “no,” stay with us.

It has been said that the first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that you have one. Discussions around unconscious bias are now frequent and mainstream. Denial of the problem is no longer an option.

The second step in every problem-solving model is to gather information about everyone’s interests. To that step, we must bring something that is in large supply for leaders: intelligence. Humans are uniquely suited to think critically. Centuries of advancement have proved we can learn, change and grow.

Each month in 2020, Tero promises to bring to you a specific theme to challenge your own professional learning and growth. It is a journey into self-knowledge and self-improvement that we hope you will choose to join us on. Our theme for January is unconscious bias. This month, make a personal commitment to take these three actions:

  1. Dedicate the next few minutes to reading the excellent article written by Tero research consultant Harwant Khush, Ph.D. titled Impacts of Unconscious Bias Matter.
  2. Test your knowledge by taking this short Tero quiz.
  3. Become a champion for learning and positive change. Share or forward this information to others.

Rowena Crosbie

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