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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: August 2018

By Ian Dodds – Lotus Award Winner 2017: Lifetime Achievement for Pioneering Inclusive Cultures

Address unconscious bias and get the accompanying performance gains

Over the last few years we’ve done a lot of work with clients to raise awareness of: what is unconscious bias; its impact on inclusion, meritocracy and performance; how to handle it There are big gains to be had from addressing it: retention of diverse talent; bigger and more diverse promotion pools; performance and innovation gains from diverse individuals feeling more fully included in helping the organisation succeed.

An audience member at a conference where I was speaking about the importance of mentoring for helping underrepresented groups gain advancement asked me how we help our clients address unconscious bias. I told her that we help people:

  1. Understand that it is absolutely normal to be biased. Some biases are positive and some negative.

  2. Explore the significance and unconscious effect of early messages they received as they grew up about different people, e.g. men, women, gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, religions, etc.

  3. Make an emotional connection with unconscious bias through the use of interactive theatre. IDC’s theatre production team does some research, e.g. interviews, small group discussions, to obtain stories illustrating situations demonstrating unconscious bias in the client’s workplace. These stories are then scripted into short, 8 – 10 mins, dramatic scenarios which are played out by 2 actors at workshops, or filmed for DVD delivery, with the learning being drawn out through a suite of facilitated exercises we have developed for this purpose.

  4. Develop skill in applying IDC’s diversity change drivers in order to transform the culture from its present state, usually white, masculine and middle aged, to one which is more inclusive for all.

  5. Appreciate what is involved in practising bias free performance management and selection interviewing.

Finally, we coach the client’s leaders to enable them to be exemplars of a few, critical, inclusive behaviours that are targeted on their strategic priorities. The behaviour of the leaders is by far the biggest influence on how others will behave and, therefore, a critical driver of the change to a more inclusive culture.

IDC has the experience and capability to help you deliver big gains on all of the above.

Dr Ian Dodds FRSA,


30 July 2018

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