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Sharon Donald Associate Director of Strategic Systems

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October 2014 | Los Angeles, California Sharon Donald Associate Director of Strategic Systems


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Objectives of this Presentation Diversity, Inclusion & Bias Test Cases, Team Activities Making a Difference Wrap Up and Questions Outline 2


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Objectives What can you expect to get out of this presentation? Insight: into how unrecognized bias can affect your team Curiosity: on what are people’s perceptions based?; what are your own biases? Determination: to be open to alternative perceptions Beginning toolkit: recognizing and overcoming bias in yourself and others What benefits can you expect by understanding how bias can affect the workplace? Better team leadership skills Ability to work effectively with diverse teams Mutual respect of co-workers 3


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The Four Layers of Diversity* 4 * Adapted from Marilyn Loden and Julie Rosener, “Workforce America!” (Business One Irwin, 1991)


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The Four Layers of Diversity* - Self Conflict-handling Mode Competing Collaborating Compromising Avoiding Accommodating MBTI Type Extroversion/Introversion Sensing/Intuition Thinking/Feeling Judging/Perceiving Learning Styles By doing? By watching? By listening? Communication Style Think before speaking? Think while speaking? Comfortable with interruptions? * Adapted from Marilyn Loden and Julie Rosener, “Workforce America!” (Business One Irwin, 1991)


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Diversity & Inclusion Why Do We Care? 6 Why is Diversity important and what role does Inclusion play? A diverse workforce provides the best opportunity for innovation and the flexibility required to overcome complex challenges Inclusion is important because it helps us get the most out of our diverse resources


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Why is Diversity Hard? Why is It Important to Understand Bias? 7 While diversity of thought & experience provide valuable insights which we can leverage as a team, Differences can also cause Anxiety, Misunderstanding and Lack of Trust Recognizing our own and others’ biases can help us understand team dynamics, effectively address issues, and ultimately achieve our goals by building strong teams


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What is Inclusion and Why is It Important? 8 Inclusion is the process by which we effectively integrate diverse resources into a whole that is more than the sum of its parts. We do this by recognizing and leveraging our differences rather than seeking to minimize or ignore them.


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Diversity Past & Present 9


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Where Are We Now? 10 What’s going on? Demographic %Population %Board Room White Male 36% 66% Women 50% 20% Minorities 37% 16% Data is composite from CBS News Report, Wiki-Answers


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Examples of Subtle Bias 11 Second Generation Gender Discrimination1 One common gender-biased dynamic is the way in which leadership tends to be judged in the workplace "Good" leaders are expected to be strong, confident, and assertive. Yet, when women act strong, confident, and assertive, they're often perceived and judged as uncaring, self-promoting, and aggressive And when they act in more collaborative ways, they're viewed as not possessing "good" leadership skills. 1The Invisible Barrier: Second Generation Gender Discrimination; http://www.simmons.edu/som/docs/insights_32_v6.pdf


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Examples of Subtle Bias 12 Protective Hesitation1 If a mentor or manager is more comfortable with one person than another, he/she is likely to give that person more critical feedback, thereby enhancing their chances of success, all quite unwittingly! This in turn can lead to the perception that ‘even when given the same opportunities, this group does not achieve at the same level’, reinforcing stereotypes and impeding forward progress, despite the best intentions all around! 1http://www.mentoringgroup.com/html/mentor_12.htm


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Examples of Subtle Bias 13 Avoidance of the Appearance of ‘Favoritism’ If a manager is concerned that he/she may be perceived as biased toward a minority employee, he/she may fail to give equal access to resources and opportunities to this employee, thereby actually putting them at a disadvantage May be in response to concerns from majority employees about ‘unfair advantage’ given to a minority May be very difficult to recognize by the manager, and a difficult subject to broach by the affected employee Similar to protective hesitation, this can lead to the perception that ‘even when given the same opportunities, this group does not achieve at the same level’, because the opportunity imbalance is not recognized


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Why Can’t We Just Eliminate Bias? 14 Bias is based on our life experiences, and can be a protective mechanism We often do not even recognize our own bias It is easy to misinterpret others’ bias It is very difficult to understand all possible perspectives, and despite our best efforts, we still base our assumptions on perceived ‘truths’


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So, What Can We Do? 15 Be open to question our own and others’ perspectives Be open to discussion about bias or perceived bias Don’t get defensive, get to the bottom of misunderstandings! Facilitate discussion with others who may have difficulty Work with allies to effect change The following case studies will provide an opportunity to think about possible bias in different scenarios but first ….


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Let’s Look at Some Attributes Behavioral Attribute Positive Interpretation Negative Interpretation Neutral Interpretation Loud Voice Assertive Pushy Hard of Hearing Soft Voice Thoughtful, Introspective Timid Sore Throat Outgoing, Engaging Motivational Unprofessional Friendly 16


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Let’s Look at Some Attributes Attribute Western Cultural Interpretation Loud Voice Squeaky wheel gets the grease The loudest duck gets shot Self-Advocation You have to learn to toot your own horn! The nail that sticks up gets hammered down Outgoing, Engaging Friendly Too familiar Eastern Cultural Interpretation 17


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Generational Attributes 18 Traditional Boomer Gen X Millennial


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Let’s Look at Some Attributes Developer Project Manager There are still unexplained phenomena, we aren’t done yet! It meets performance, and I have customers waiting. Ship it! Who needs documentation? It’s self-explanatory! We need to support this for several years in the future; more documentation is better. It’s somebody else’s job to worry about the schedule. We review the schedule every week, why don’t my developers take it seriously? There are an infinite number of ways we can sort ourselves, and just as many ways to misunderstand each other … 19


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Let’s Look at Some Test Cases 20


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Lucy & Rob: Being Heard 21 Setting Brainstorming meeting for ideas on how to promote diversity & inclusion throughout the organization


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Lucy & Rob: Being Heard 22 Event Lucy suggests an approach; no one responds A few minutes later someone else makes the same suggestion Rob, a well respected leader exclaims: “That’s a great idea!” That idea is then taken forward with the second proponent as lead


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Mary & Joe: Advocating for Self & Others 23 Perceptions and Assertions Mary Technically excellent, strong writing skills, gets along well with team members, fairly quiet Perception of Mary Excellent technical contributor but lacks leadership potential, the latter largely because she is perceived as someone who wants to avoid conflict and ‘please’ everyone Joe Outgoing, assertive, decisive and vocally willing to take on leadership opportunities. Good, but not great technically Perception of Joe Has great leadership potential, is seen as a rising star


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Mary & Joe: Advocating for Self & Others 24 Setting Joe is the technical lead on a complex project. He is working with management to identify a new team lead for this project so that he can pursue a new opportunity.


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Mary & Joe: Advocating for Self & Others 25 Situation Joe feels that Mary is the obvious choice to replace him, but, knowing management’s perception of her, is hesitant to ‘stick his neck out’ too far to advocate for her, in part because he assumes management may have better insight than he in these matters. Mary feels she is the obvious choice, but also feels it’s management’s job to recognize it, and that if they don’t, perhaps they recognize something lacking in her that she does not see. Management is very worried; they want to give Joe this new opportunity, but don’t want to risk the current project.


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Yolanda is a new hire at her company. She has many years experience in her field and has led numerous projects, managing both technical and programmatic aspects. She is very out-spoken, decisive and assertive. She is a first-generation immigrant. English is a second language for her, and she has a strong accent. Yolanda: An Assertive Woman 26 Situation


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Yolanda has been assigned to lead a large project staffed with long-term employees. The current project lead has been in place for many years, but he is retiring. It is a large, multi-disciplinary team with many long-term members. Some of her teammates are uncomfortable around her. They feel she is pushy and too aggressive. Some of her co-workers have trouble understanding her when she speaks due to her strong accent. Yolanda has a sense that she is not well accepted, but cannot understand why. She was very successful at her last company, and cannot understand what might be different here. Management has made the work assignment and feels their work is done. They are disappointed over Yolanda’s lack of acceptance and suggest to her that she find a way to ‘be a team player’. Yolanda: An Assertive Woman 27 Situation


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Harold & Ryan: The Age Divide 28 Setting & People The setting: A meeting to discuss decline in sales revenue causes & solutions The people: Harold is in his late 50’s, and leader of the organization, who has spent his career in sales Ryan is in his 20’s, a new hire with a background in communications and computer science, not sales Other team members who have been working with Harold for several years


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Harold & Ryan: The Age Divide 29 Situation Harold puts an agenda up on the overhead projector and methodically begins going around the room to query each team member about recent sales calls, existing customer feedback, and gathering observations from around the room Ryan seems distracted and keeps checking his phone, seemingly not paying attention to others in the room When called on for his turn, Ryan answers concisely, and responds to others’ inputs, but Harold is noticeably perturbed at Ryan’s behavior


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Team Workshop & Personal Reflection 30 At each table you will find handouts regarding the test cases discussed Each table should work as a team on the case studies, then spend some time individually on personal reflection Select a spokesperson for each test case Each table will out-brief their team responses Remember, there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers! Our goal is to understand what goes into our own and others’ perceptions.


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Let’s Look at Some Test Cases 31 Lucy makes a suggestion, but no one responds. A few minutes later someone else makes the same suggestion, which is embraced by the leader. The idea is taken forward with this second proponent as lead. Joe is a project lead who will be graduating and transitioning to a new job. He feels Mary will make a great replacement for him, but knowing leadership has concerns, is unsure of whether or how to advocate for her. Yolanda has many years experience in her field, but being a first-generation immigrant, some of her co-workers at her new job have difficulty understanding her strong accent. As an out-spoken, decisive and assertive person, some new teammates feel she is too aggressive. Management is disappointed over Yolanda’s lack of acceptance and suggest that she find a way to ‘be a team player’. Harold, organizational leader in his late 50s, and Ryan, new hire in his 20s, have different areas of expertise and seemingly conflicting approaches to successful business practices.


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Making a Difference 32 Be willing to question your own assumptions, and share this with others Personal examples help others recognize similar situations of their own Start small and local within your team, cultivate like-minded advocates and branch out! You will continue to increase your own sensitivity, and your own ‘Diversity & Inclusion Toolbox’ for dealing with sensitive situations


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Making a Difference 33 When you see misunderstanding or injustice speak up! Be careful not to make assumptions about others’ motivations or perceptions Help others recognize when they make this mistake


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Summary 34 Recognize that Diversity is not just about Gender and Ethnicity Question Assumptions Embrace Diversity! Don’t jump to conclusions! Recognizing bias helps us leverage diversity to build strong, flexible, creative teams Be open to alternative perspectives


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Feedback 35 Your Thoughts on the Workshop Feedback on this workshop Do you think this type of workshop is useful? What did you like best about it? What did you like least about it? Who do you feel would benefit from this type of workshop? How might we improve the workshop? Please send feedback to sdonald@draper.com with WORKSHOP FEEDBACK in the subject line


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