How to Counteract 3 Types of Bias and Run Inclusive Meetings
Companies which are robustly diverse report growing market share 45% more often than their more homogeneous counterparts and are 70% more likely to capture a new market, according to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation. Why? Because when a group is demographically diverse and has diverse experiences it gains what’s called “cognitive diversity”. And cognitive diversity – varied perspectives, thought patterns, and problem-solving approaches – produces better solutions.
Julia Taylor Kennedy, Executive Vice President at CTI, puts it this way: When you have the experience of being the ‘other’, even if it’s because you purposefully put yourself into those situations, you gain empathy for people who are outside the majority. In other words, you’re better at anticipating the edge cases and accounting for them from the get-go. But, says Hilary Dubin, there’s a catch. If we don’t counteract the sub-conscious biases we all carry, and create an environment where everyone can contribute, we don’t actually benefit from that diversity.
Women, people of colour, remote workers, and introverts often struggle to be heard in meetings. Based on what we know about the benefits of diversity, the impact of excluding certain groups is that the entire team misses out on valuable ideas and insights that lead to new opportunities. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing marketplace, this could mean bad news even for teams with high diversity and potential. Fostering a culture of inclusive meetings is emerging as a competitive advantage. Building that culture is a matter of understanding the biases that sabotage our effectiveness as teams, then adjusting your approach to meeting facilitation. Kennedy points out that inclusive leaders create an environment where it’s safe to propose novel ideas and everyone can be heard, which creates a sense of belonging amongst a team’s diverse members. And while relatively few of us show up as leaders on an org chart, we can all demonstrate inclusive leadership qualities in the way we facilitate meetings. So, how do you run inclusive meetings?
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