2 Lessons on Diversity


Ok, I’ll put my hand up to say that until less than a year ago I was ignorant about diversity.

As part of carsales‘ programs, I attended a session called Unconscious Bias. I went in to the session negatively I have to admit because I had been told it was about diversity so I immediately put my unconscious bias hat on (even though I didn’t know I had one).

I was ignorant on two fronts in particular and learnt a lot about them:

1) I had no idea what diversity actually was. What would happen if I had to solve a real world problem and I surrounded myself with people just like me? I’d get answers that would be similar to what I was already thinking. Now what if I had a diverse group of people around me to solve this problem? I’d most likely get a much more diverse discussion with lots of points of views that I would never have thought of and most likely get a better result. Pretty simple philosophy in hindsight. Lesson learnt.
2) I had no idea what unconscious bias was. Well, it is a bias that we are unaware of, happens automatically and is outside of our control. To get the most out of any situation we are faced with, we need to be aware of the unconscious bias that we have and how it influences what decisions we make. For instance, we were advertising for a job a while ago and had 8 male applicants. HR told me that they’d prefer if I could interview at least one female in the candidate short list. “How can I when only males applied?”, was my call. Our unconscious bias when we penned the job ad lent itself to male applicants. By tweaking the ad (i.e. adding we are an equal opportunity employer) and re-posting, we quickly had a female applicant. Lesson learnt.

And here’s one tip I learnt and I liked which I think has a practical use in the office for everyone:
Get people to write down ideas in brainstorming sessions rather than getting them getting influenced by the first talker. This will give the introverts the chance to show their wares.

Again, pretty simple stuff in hindsight.

Well, it ended up being a fantastic 3 hours as I found enlightening answers and meaning in learning about two of my ignorance’s.

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