"I am passionate that from such moments of personal reflection, the smallest but most sustainable changes are created. Those ‘micro-changes’, founded on awareness, acceptance and personal accountability, will be the legacy of your presentation."
On Tuesday this week I was delighted to attend and speak at the Sainsbury's Argos gender balance network event. I was speaking about unconscious bias. It was a really fantastic event with people bursting out of the sides of their canteen. The above quote is taken from some feedback I received the next morning from a male participant.
He said some lovely things but you don't want to hear that - although he absolutely made my day! What struck me was that in two sentences he has managed to sum up what we talk about byrne·dean everyday. In today's world of 10 minute (if that!) bite-size learning opportunities, I am often asked to defend our approach to face to face training interventions. I believe passionately that there are just some things that you need to sit down and talk about - share with your colleagues, with your bosses and with those you lead.
On Tuesday, in 45 minutes, they were discussing blockers to inclusion - they came away with heightened awareness about the impact of their own biases in terms of their daily decision making (routine and critical), they surfaced it and discussed it with the person sitting next to them, they accepted the impact without the usual loaded defensiveness and then here's where the real work started ....they realised they were personally accountable for their behaviour. They realised that they needed to be ready to explain their decisions to people who see the world differently to them - to look at the factors that lead them to make certain decisions.
Much of this can be achieved through fantastic e-learning resources but I remain committed to seeing the faces on the people in the room, to seeing them explore and navigate the challenges of working in a complex, hierarchical and political environment that is the workplace. People need to connect, to share, and to hold each other to account.
For just one person to send me an email like that makes it all worth it!