Unconscious Bias

Cook Ross was the first US consultancy to bridge between the academic research on bias and organizational application.  We have delivered many hundreds of educational sessions to pre-eminent organizations around the world.  Awareness education is the foundation for any kind of transformation to occur.  Please consider however that although education is the foundation, organizations must also launch strategic communications and explore structures and systems that keep culture locked in place for lasting change to occur.  Please see below for a variety of offerings on unconscious bias.

Beyond Diversity: Unconscious Bias Foundations Course

Everyone knows that all human beings sometimes feel more comfortable with some people and not with others. We all get “triggered” by exposure to different kinds of people. Unconscious perceptions govern many of the most important decisions we make every day and these perceptions can potentially have a profound effect on our personal and professional lives. This Cook Ross workshop provides a comprehensive overview of the impact of “unconscious bias” on our personal beliefs and professional behavior. In this session, participants will participate in “The Big Decision,” an experiential learning exercise that exposes hidden beliefs and attitudes toward others in the context of talent management. This new higher level of engagement requires an increase of awareness, introspection, authenticity, humility, and compassion in all people. Most of all, this change will require better communication and a sincere commitment to action. Other key takeaways from this session will include a deeper examination of how unconscious bias develops in our minds, where those frameworks come from in our life experience, and the overall impact that “unconscious bias” could have on your bottom-line. We introduce the PAUSE model, and 6 steps for mitigating unconscious bias. Please note the 2 hour version of this course does not include The Big Decision simulation.

Duration: 2-3.5 hours

Unconscious Bias in Talent Management

An understanding of “unconscious bias” is an invitation to a new level of engagement about diversity and inclusion issues as they impact the many talent management decisions made in organizations every day. This special Cook Ross session is specifically-tailored for people managers and thoughtful leaders and it will explore the impact of unconscious bias on hiring, promotion, performance management, and succession management, and delves deeper into the impact of these phenomena upon your employees, workplace, and marketplace standing. Through individual exploration and group interaction, your managers will learn how to examine existing processes, identify where bias may exist, and through scenarios practice more inclusive talent management decisions. This powerful session explores the impact unconscious patterns can have on the complex task of recruiting and retaining the best talent in your organization. This class is specifically designed to help move people managers out of their old ways of thinking in order to successfully recruit, develop and retain the very best talent for your organization. Your people managers will walk away from this class more empowered to help create more inclusive teams with their diverse colleagues who are motivated and inspired by different values or communication styles. (Prerequisite: Completion of Beyond Diversity: Foundations Course, or they can be offered together in a full day format)

Duration: 3.5 hours

Unconscious Bias in Succession Management

Succession management is perhaps the most important calibration that senior leaders engage in. It is a process rife with bias, especially when leaders support candidates that they know, like, and with whom they have much in common. A word or two, or even a look, can discourage one’s colleagues in perhaps less of a power position to support an alternative path. This workshop either encompasses the core of unconscious bias, and then focuses on this critical decision process, or can be a targeted workshop. Offering this just prior to succession management reviews has been shown to be a powerful impetus for unexpected decisions.  The workshop will identify how to look for code words, interrupt patterns in process, garner the support of one’s colleagues to mitigate bias, and provides a platform to practice those skills.

Duration: 2-3.5 hours

Cognitive Biases in Decision Making

We are all subject to cognitive biases in our decision-making. These, coupled with leader’s tendency to be over-confident in their ability to make decisions, is a formula for making decisions based on the past, familiarity, emotions and comfort. This engaging workshop builds on the foundational unconscious bias workshop, and asks participants to reflect on recent decisions, analyze them for cognitive biases, and create a strategy for making more grounded decisions moving forward. The benefit of this inquiry are to make decisions that support the business strategy rather than keep leaders comfortable, drive employee engagement and connectivity and build strategic mindset of leaders by freeing them up from decisions which can be pushed down. This workshop also introduces a decision accountability model that brings clarity to the decision process.

Duration: 2 hours

Unconscious Bias Webinars

Led by senior consultants, the Cook Ross unconscious bias webinars are customized to meet our client’s needs and where they currently reside within their unconscious bias organizational journey.. These highly interactive webinars may be used to lead dialogue sessions, introduce subject matter, offer more education or complement an existing Cook Ross solution offering. These webinars can be either live or pre-recorded. The substantive content can be customized for individual clients to include any specific managerial skill related to building an inclusive organization . Note that these named topics can also be delivered live in a workshop format.

Sample topics recently delivered via webinar:

  • UCB and Performance Management
  • UCB and Recruitment
  • UCB and Succession Management
  • What is UCB
  • Cognitive Biases in Decision Making
  • UCB and Innovation
  • Leading Inclusive Virtual Meetings

Duration: Maximum 2 hours, 40 people.

Unconscious Bias Learning Lab (UBLL)

This offering from Cook Ross is a thought-provoking innovative 3-day interactive learning experience where new skills are gained in decision-making, building inclusive teams/cultures, inter-cultural communications, and increasing employee engagement. This research-based and highly interactive experiential learning experience focuses on hot topics and business issues that are most important to organizations and diversity practitioners. This learning lab is led by Cook Ross’ Chief Learning Officer (CLO) and includes the “Unconscious Bias Learning Lab Participant Guide” and Cook Ross Inc’s well-known “Unconscious Bias Workbook”.  This program is offered quarterly in Silver Spring, Maryland and can also be delivered in-house upon request. For more information or to register, click below.

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