by Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contribution™ Cultivator, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), originally posted on YouMeWe.ca
In our last video of the unconscious bias series, we continue to focus on appreciating that to establish parity in society, we need to acknowledge that our unconscious biases can be the barrier. The best way to bust a preference is through questioning – not imposing quotas.
In this weWednesday I’ll share some questions you may want to consider to expose an unconscious bias when you are looking for a job, hiring a new employee, seeking to collaborate with another organization, or consciously contributing to a company’s cause.
Expose an unconscious bias when you are looking for a job, hiring a new employee, seeking to collaborate with another organization, or consciously contributing to a company’s cause. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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It is difficult to assess if there is an unconscious bias by just observing micro-behaviours, as discussed earlier in this bias buster series because those biases are usually seen over time. However, micro-questioning can get to the root of a preference, by directly asking a question once bias is being observed. Using this technique in a new relationship, however, can sabotage a connection faster than you can say bias buster three times.
So, what is the alternative? Ask questions that lead to how people make decisions and listen to the cues and clues they give you, some may provide you with insight to their unconscious bias. People will often share, especially if given the opportunity to talk. As said in the last weWednesday… is “the one who asks a question, is the one who controls the conversation.” I call the below questioning techniques micro-macro questions – meaning questions that give you a broader understanding of someone’s perspective on a specific subject matter.
Ask questions that lead to how people make decisions and listen to the cues and clues they give you, some may provide you with insight to their unconscious bias. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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Looking for a job?
Questions to ask to assess the opportunity for growth:
- What is your business model?
- How do you reward performance?
- How are employees acknowledged for meeting organizational objectives?
- Tell me about the hiring procedure?
- What results does an individual need to demonstrate to achieve advancement in your organization?
- Is there a mentoring program available, and how does one become a mentee?
- What are the more important criteria you look for while assessing the best job applicant?
o Which is most important and why?
o What is the other order of priority?
Hiring a new employee?
Prospective employees may also have an unconscious bias, learning about them before hiring them, will help expose if they will be someone you can collaborate with to meet the organization’s vision.
Prospective employees may also have an unconscious bias, learning about them before hiring them. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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- When assessing an organization to work with, what criteria do you evaluate?
- Which are your three top priorities?
- How do you measure your success within an organization?
- Tell me what you would consider as a failure?
- Describe the environment you like to work in to maximize your performance? Why is that?
- Share how you have collaborated with a team, the project, goal, interactions and outcomes?
o What were some of the obstacles that presented themselves?
o Did you overcome them? How were they overcome?
- What type of leadership style do you best respond to, why is that?
Seeking to collaborate with another organization
- What is your business model?
- What are your hiring practices?
- What role does hiring diverse talent play in your organization?
- Do you promote from within? What characteristics do individuals need to demonstrate to be considered for advancement?
- What criteria do you seek in a collaborator?
- How would you measure the success of the collaboration?
Consciously contributing to a company’s cause?
- How did your organization go about selecting this cause?
- Why is the cause important, and why now?
- As a result of supporting this cause, has your organization considered any potential consequences –either to the community, or the other stakeholders?
- How long have you been supporting it?
- How are your employees involved in helping the cause?
- What has contributing to the cause affected your business performance?
- What impact has your organization made on moving the causes mandate forward?
There are many other questions you may want to ask about a cause, (visit a previous weWednesday Please don’t volunteer – An opportunity awaits), but the intention of these questions is to expose possible biases that are not aligned with yours or are aligned with your values.
Assessing an organization’s unconscious bias
In addition to asking questions, and listening for clues and cues, assess an organizations willingness to operate outside the usual networks. Do they have an untraditional approach to a traditional problem, which opens the door for diverse solutions? Do they have the courage to offer someone a chance in underrepresented communities? Or partner with an organization that provides opportunities to a minority group?
By asking questions, and exposing organizations’ practices, we will transform behaviours…not just for the betterment of underserved communities, but for all. Over-represented cultures also benefit from having diverse perspectives, to help them grow, look at an idea, opportunity, challenge through a new lens. As mentioned earlier in this bias buster series, ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform their non-diverse counterparts.
Does your organization have an untraditional approach to a traditional problem, which opens the door for diverse solutions? #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement
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When Quotas count
I hear people often say: “I don’t care if it is a man or woman, long as it is the best person for the job.” Not only do I appreciate this sentiment, I stand by it. The challenge is if a cohort is never given, or given limited opportunity to demonstrate their ability, how will we ever know who is the best person for the job?
Here’s the thing, sometimes imposing quotes allow for people’s potential to emerge – and alter social norms. Unconscious bias is not only embedded in our minds but in our system, processes and structures. And although quotas are prescriptive, until we have a critical mass of women leading in organizations, politics and society, the masses won’t be able to appreciate the leadership that an often more innate nurturer can bring to a community. This doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And therefore, until we master our questions, or change our social paradigms, quotas may help even out the leadership scale with diverse people, from diverse cultures, abilities, sexual orientation and races.
While we are on the topic, most women do prop up other women. They only break each other down when there is limited room for all to excel. That was on my mind, so I thought I would share.
Thanks for joining us for the unconscious bias buster series. Who would have thought, this was just going to be one vlog?
Until next time, make your contributions count!
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Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contributor Cultivator
Certified Speaking Professional, (CSP)
Social entrepreneur |Professional Speaker | Host | Author | Philanthropist
2017 National President: Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS)
Awards: TIAW World of Difference Recipient for women economic empowering
Accreditation: Suzanne is one of 65 Certified Speaking Professionals (CSP) in Canada and is in the exclusive 15% of speakers who have this designation internationally.