Unconscious organizational biases close off opportunities and hide weaknesses like an unseen wind holding you back, Everyone, every collection of individuals, every organization has them, however leaders’ biases create the most impact.
Unconscious Organizational Biases
Biases affect perceptions, as well as interpretations, preferences, and selective attention, then collectively direct what you choose to do and not do. They impact:
- Whom you hire (or not);
- Whom you serve (or not);
- How you benefit people (or not);
- What you do (or not); how well you do things (or not);
- and, how you grow (or not).
You need to step out of your normal thinking because exposing unconscious biases is challenging. Dig deep to unearth why you believe and act in certain ways, then ask all stakeholders what they believe.
Inside the organization, people should ask about their processes:
- Why do we do it that way?
- What other ways have we not considered?
- Why do we feel that way?
Assumptions and Perceptions
Consider your organization’s diversity and ask, “Do we represent the makeup of our community?” then “What assumptions and perceptions have led to this mixture?”
These questions allow clients and other stakeholders to share the biases they observe:
- Whom and what do we seem to ignore?
- What are we not providing that we should deliver?
- In what ways do we seem to be biased?
Consider how your organization has changed what it provides because this is an opportunity to meet unfolding new needs and wants.
Asking whom you do not serve and why helps you to identify biases that are holding you back, so you can establish a long-term vision and mission to escape them, by serving a larger, more diverse client base.
Look at past shortfalls and ask:
- What did we do incorrectly or not well enough to cause this?
- Why? (asking five or more times will dig down to answer)
- What kept us from seeing this?
Work to uncover your biases, then train people in every part of the organization to overcome them and move forward.
Unveil your organization’s biases and act to take advantage of new insights, so you will feel the wind at your back, pushing you in new directions toward becoming a better, more successful organization.