Heard about the shocking case of the two black men who were led out of a Starbucks in handcuffs for doing nothing more than sitting waiting for a colleague? When the story broke, Starbucks obviously had to take some serious action to protect their reputation (and revenue) and to show that this kind of incident cannot happen again.
On Tuesday, 29 May 2018, Starbucks closed 8,000 stores across the US to put all staff through Unconscious Bias Training.
At Scene Change we have been delivering Unconscious Bias Training across industry to help organisations and the individuals within them to open their eyes to something that we all have. It’s what’s kept us safe when we began to crawl out of the caves. Snap judgements that helped us survive to get us to the top of the food chain ,”Is this thing going to eat me or join my gang and help me survive better? I’d better decide pretty fast”.
And, therefore we rely on our inner ‘chimp’ to make the decision for us. Based on our past experiences of similar things, our family dynamics, our likes and dislikes we judge others and make decisions about their character and abilities.
“I do it – so do you and right now someone is judging you for the way you look and sound. Right now”.
What we can do to mitigate this and give us all a more even field to play on, is talk about it, test it out, explore our own judgements and hold a mirror up to ourselves. We can then begin to see how our simple judgements can lead to life limiting lack of opportunity for ourselves and others, for if you do not consciously include people, you will exclude them and exclusion leads to a big failure all our parts.
Let’s all start to take responsibility for our perceptions and become conscious of them. Many of us now know diverse teams and leadership. Experiences enrich our organisations and add value. What can you personally do on a daily basis to enrich yourself and others?