Last week I was having a deep meaningful conversation with my dear friend Margreeth van der Oord about the “business as usual” state of the world: despite the many crisis, everyone is focused on maintaining life as it is and not many question or act differently. This lead me to think of our difficulty to question ourselves and review our own beliefs, values and behaviours. As you know introspection and questioning are key practices that I promote in organisations, that’s my bias!
And that lead me further to think (with a bit of delay) about this years’ women’s day theme of “breaking the gender bias” with a strong posture of arms crossed. I had found it quite hard to relate to the theme and I wasn’t sure why.
If you are still following my train of thoughts (some may remember that I have a tendency to fall into rabbit holes ;o) I started to think about the work of ECWO at RSM about women leadership and how our late beloved Dianne Bevelander used to bring awareness about these biases in organisations with her fish in water metaphor.
💡 Today it clicked for me, we are all biased!
I even have a dedicated section about that in the culture framework I use with clients. So thinking we can break or erase a bias seems like an impossible feat. But saying that doesn’t mean we are doomed by those biases. Because what I learned from introspection, mindfulness and other practices is that we can observe our thoughts (where our biases are) and make a choice not to grab on to them, a choice not to follow their direction, and this is what I call stopping the auto-pilot.
I don’t believe that making people feel bad about themselves because they have biases is the answer. Experience has shown me that it is much more efficient and sustainable to first bring awareness and then help people make different choices. We can equip them to stir away from the business as usual, by empowering them to break away from old formatting and by supporting them to welcome, accept and love diversity in themselves and in their environment.