Becoming Conscious of the Unconscious
Affirmative Action Training. Sensitivity Training. Awareness Training. Diversity Training. Inclusion Training. Implicit Bias. Unconscious Bias Training.
It’s been called many things over the last 50 years and often the same name was used to describe training that was vasty different in content.
While there have been ongoing efforts since the early 1970s to increase representation of women and racial/ethnic minorities, most organizations continue to struggle with how to effectively recruit, retain, develop, and promote individuals from diverse backgrounds.
We all have unconscious biases and must learn how to manage and lead in spite of them, rather than as a consequence of them. Hiring people from different backgrounds creates a more diverse workforce, but if you want to retain your diverse hires, an inclusive workplace must be intentionally created.
One of the greatest things that has happened in our industry has been the significant advances in science about the human brain which led to the next evolution of training being called “Unconscious Bias Training.” While our approach for over four decades has been that we cannot hold anyone accountable for the stereotypes we all learned at a young age, the “notion” that things are happening in our unconscious brain has further reduced defensiveness. “I’m not a bad personal after all…there’s just some stuff that happens in my brain.”
At Pope Consulting, we have a Bias about Unconscious Bias Training.
If you want to check the box, any 30-minute to 2-hour course, regardless of methodology will accomplish that. On the other hand, if you truly believe that having BOTH a diverse workforce AND an inclusive culture for everyone will positively impact your bottom line, you already accept the training slogan that “you get out of it what you put into it.”
Our Bias is this:
- We have to earn the trust of participants in every single seminar.
- We have to create a safe space for learning to occur.
- We have to provide engaging content.
- We have to provide impactful experiential exercises that are rooted in strong theory – in other words, we have to provide an opportunity for participants to experience their own unconscious bias.
- We have to translate that experience and learning into how well they can apply it on the job (and likely outside of the workplace as well).
We’ve learned and evolved so much over the last 4 decades. Yet, no matter how hard we try, we have not been able to accomplish all of these things in two hours or less.
If you want leaders, managers, and individual contributors to become conscious of their unconscious biases, recognize when they’re “kicking in” and learn how to behave differently – it’s going to take a little more time.