Unveiling the Invisible: Why We Must Disrupt Biases in Ourselves and Our Organizations

Tania A. Ibarra, CPA
December 5, 2019

We talk a lot about biases at Step Up. When we start looking inside ourselves and our organizations to recognize, own, and disrupt our biases, big things can happen. But why?

Biases are human nature, but that doesn’t mean we must accept our biases. The human brain makes quick judgments and looks for shortcuts to translate all the stimulation from our senses. These snap judgments help us navigate the world without becoming completely overwhelmed.

We evolved to where we are today thanks partly to the ability to make quick decisions: safety or danger, life or death, friend or foe, safe or poisonous. This is how biases work; they help us get through the day without overloading our brains.

However, what is the impact of such unconscious decisions when we make them based on gender, race, ethnicity, income, etc.? Reflecting upon such a daunting and traditionally taboo topic can be uncomfortable.

It is essential to understand that, as humans, this is normal. We are predisposed to have biases for self-preservation. However, we must note that we are not born with biases. Exposure to our society develops and embeds biases in our brains through family norms, culture, geography, music, media, etc. It is our responsibility to reflect on our biases, see how they impact the world around us, and work to disrupt biases that do not serve us.

“Ninety-nine percent of who we are is invisible and untouchable” - R. Buckminster Fuller

At Step Up, we focus on biases because you can’t change what you can’t see. By recognizing - and owning - your biases, you can disrupt them.

The area where biases affect organizations most is within the talent management cycle. At each Step of the cycle, there is human intervention, meaning the opportunity for partiality and fallibility. From deciding where to post a job description to who is promoted, the unconscious side of human minds plays a significant role in the talent management process.

There is no one solution to fix disparities. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and change isn’t happening fast enough. However, change IS happening. You can be part of that change. Contact us today to get started!