Equity Is A Choice
Marsha Clark 0:00
This episode is being sponsored by Amazech, which is a women's business enterprise that has a proven track record of driving business transformation through technology and talent. Amazech culture is defined by two key values, making a positive impact at every step and giving back to the community. Visit amazech.com to learn more about them.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 0:37
Welcome to your "Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, we are back on track with our second in our series of exploring diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. So welcome.
Marsha Clark 0:57
Thank you very much, and welcome to you, too. And I'm excited to continue our conversation on what I think are really important topics.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:05
Well, me, too. And you know, I feel like these deep dives, this content 106 through 109, this content is extremely applicable today and relevant for our listeners.
Marsha Clark 1:19
I agree. You have to have your head in the sand. So, we're definitely going to be diving deep into the exploration of stereotypes and biases today. And I think we all face these every day in ourselves, in our organizations in our community. So, I think this is a topic that has lots of implications and lots of relevance.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:42
Absolutely and we've got a lot to cover today. So, the title of today's episode is inspired by a quote that you use often from DEI strategist, Arthur Chan.
Marsha Clark 1:55
Yes. And when I first heard this quote it really struck me for how simply yet elegantly it describes the differences between diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. And what Chan said, and I now quote him, "Diversity is a fact, equity is a choice, inclusion is an action, belonging is an outcome." And last week's episode was titled " Diversity is a Fact" and we shared some activities that individuals and teams can use to explore and both understand and appreciate those differences. And so, this week we're going to be using Chan's statement 'equity is a choice' to see that we, as leaders (and remember, leaders is a broad representation. It's not a position or a title. We can all be leaders) to see that we as leaders need to be clear, mindful and explicit in how we choose equity for our teams, our organizations and our communities.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 2:55
Yeah, in your book, "Expanding Your Power', you share a definition of the word "equity" in this chapter to help frame the exploration.
Marsha Clark 3:03
Yes, you know I'm a fan of giving a definition up front so that we're all clear about what we're talking about. And especially for the words that can be charged, they create something in us or they spark something in us. Therefore, they can have many different interpretations. So, I chose to use the definition from the Oxford Languages dictionary, and it defines equity as, quite simply, the quality of being fair and impartial.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 3:30
Okay, that seems extremely straightforward - the quality of being fair and impartial.
Marsha Clark 3:36
And yet it's straightforward by definition, but as we all know, being fair and impartial isn't quite as simple as it sounds. And as we learned last week, we all come to situations with very different, I would call, life experiences and that diversity, therefore, because of those different life experiences, it affects our worldview even to the point where we don't even all agree on what is fair. Our experiences influence and even dictate because especially when it's coming from that unconscious place it dictates how we navigate the world around us, what we pay attention to, or what we notice, how we interpret what we see, and how it aligns or doesn't with our value systems and our belief systems.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 4:26
Well, and now I'm having flashbacks to our episode on the Ladder of Inference.
Marsha Clark 4:31
Well, that's right. It's reminiscent of Chris Argyris' Ladder of Inference. And that episode for our listeners who may want to go back and take a look at that or take a listen is called "A Dangerous Dance" and it was all about how easy it is for us to fall into this dangerous dance of disagreements based on our worldviews, how we gather and interpret data, how we choose to believe some data and discount or dismiss other data that may not align with our beliefs. And it becomes, therefore a self fulfilling loop.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 5:05
And kind of like our own internal echo chamber.
Marsha Clark 5:08
That's a phrase that comes to my mind as well. And it comes back to the idea that it's really no surprise that we have a hard time agreeing on what's fair because we are, by nature, we're not impartial. We are not this objective thing that's able to walk around and only see things in some clinical or scientific way. We are, in fact, partial creatures by design. And that partiality gets baked into our decisions as individuals, as leaders, as organizations, communities and beyond.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 5:40
Yeah, that makes sense. And so I highly recommend that our listeners go back and check out that ladder of inference episode to discover how this automatic partiality is developed in our heads, because it's fascinating work and it helps with what we're going to be talking about here today. And that was episode 27 from March 23, 2022.
Marsha Clark 6:02
Great suggestion, Wendi.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 6:04
So, in this chapter in "Expanding Your Power" titled "Belonging", you share some disturbing statistics that reinforce the case that we live in a world of inequality and partiality.
Marsha Clark 6:18
I do and I look long and hard for data not just to support my worldview, but one that gives a more statistical bell shaped curve, much broader experience than my own. And this particular study is from 2019. And it's called Our World in Data. And Ortiz-Ospina, I don't know if I'm saying that right, I hope I am, and Roser. So, those are the two people who did this research. And their summary of the most predominant examples of inequality and partiality shows. And before I go into that, what they show, I do want to acknowledge 2019 was pre COVID. And yet, because COVID stopped so many things, there's not more current research, but I just want to acknowledge that to our listeners. So, here's what their study shows. All over the world - and this is taking that global view, not just my world, but a global view - all over the world men tend to earn more than women, bullet one. Bullet two, women are often under-represented in senior positions within firms. You don't have to look very far in the research to know that. Bullet number three is that women are often over-represented in low paying jobs. Bullet four is that in many countries, men are more likely to own land and control productive assets more so than women. And then the last bullet, women often have limited influence over important household decisions and that includes how their own personal income is spent.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 6:41
And so now I'm having flashbacks of our Fight for Freedom video series where we were talking about or movie series documentary series, if you will, where we talked about women having to fight for rights to own property or to vote. And while intellectually I know this is still happening around the world, but I just get so tired sometimes thinking about how there are still very real examples of major inequalities everywhere.
Marsha Clark 8:33
Everywhere, every day, and, and it is a flashback. And I get that it can be disheartening to have these examples called out over and over, and especially for people who just aren't seeing it in their own day to day environments. And that is either because it's not happening where they work, which I find it hard to believe, or they're oblivious to it.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 8:34
Yeah. Or they're just choosing to ignore it.
Marsha Clark 8:58
Well, yes, that's happening, too. And whatever the case, I just simply urge our listeners to look beyond your own experience and your own world, whatever represents your world because the findings that I'm sharing are macro level, bell shaped research findings. And I offer this information in lieu of because you'll notice tend to, are often, are more likely, rather than the statistical absolute numbers because here's what happens in my experience, and therefore, in my humble opinion. I think that arguing about whether a finding is 32% versus 44%, just as an example, is merely a distraction that we can argue about the numbers rather than what those numbers represent.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 8:41
Exactly. That's just missing the point.
Marsha Clark 9:12
It is and in some cases, as you mentioned, missing the point is the point. They're willfully choosing to be distracted and get away from what the real issues are. And we're here today in sharing this information to offer insights and suggestions. So, we're going to move forward with good purpose. And I'll start with at least some promising news in terms of gender equality. In this same 2019 Our World in Data report, they share that (first bullet) in most countries, the gender pay gap has decreased in the last couple of decades. Good news. Bullet two: Gender equal inheritance systems, which were rare until recently, are now common across the world which basically means a woman can inherit a families' or father's or whatever it might be assets, when in many cases they couldn't just because they were a woman. And that third bullet is that composite indexes that cover multiple dimensions show that, on the whole, gender equalities have been shrinking substantially over the last century. So, I want you to get that. It's 100 years. And that's the slow, but there appears to be steady progress around the world.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 11:22
In inequalities. Right, and that's encouraging.
Marsha Clark 11:25
It is. And I believe that the more we can shine a light on these inequalities and the beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate those inequalities, we can continue to make those positive strides and reduce those gaps even more.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 11:38
So, in your book, you also draw a direct link between stereotypes and biases and equality.
Marsha Clark 11:46
That's right. And not only does the research reflect that direct link, but certainly my own experience as a leader and coach has shown me that the stereotypes and biases that we hold certainly impact our thinking, our beliefs and our decisions which is why it becomes even more critical that we understand these stereotypes and biases as leaders and as human beings. We need to understand our own and really those of the people around us, and in particularly making critical decisions for the organization or communities that were a part of. So, you can think about it in terms of workplace leaders, local government and even federal government leaders, I mean, they have stereotypes and biases, too. And we need to understand the stereotypes and biases that are held by our team members and key stakeholders, because we have to deliver on our promises. And frequently, when there is a breakdown in the processes, it's often because there is some stereotype or bias that might be driving that breakdown.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 12:51
That's a great point. You know, when you boil down most problems, it does often come down to basic disagreements driven by assumptions and individual perceptions.
Marsha Clark 13:02
Yes, as one of my favorite colleagues, Barry Oshry, often says with great regularity. So, not every time, not each time, but with great regularity. So, let's unpack how some of these breakdowns happen. And we'll look first at stereotypes. And of course, I want to start with the definition. So, again, according to the Oxford Languages dictionary, a stereotype is defined as a widely held but fixed and over simplified (thank you very much) image or idea of a particular type of person or thing.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 13:43
Okay, hold on just a second, because I think it's important that we solidify this definition. So, say that again, Marsha.
Marsha Clark 13:50
You bet. A stereotype is a widely held but fixed and over simplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. And I'll give you an example. And I usually use this one when I'm teaching because it's so obvious at that point. When I walk into a room (me, Marsha Clark) in this physical representation of a woman, an older woman, and no one in that room knows me, then there's going to be all kinds of assumptions made about how I will or how I should act, behave, and speak just because I'm a woman. And that's the oversimplified image of me. I get thrown into a bucket that basically says all women are alike.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 14:40
Exactly, at that age, at that highest, at that hair color, whatever. Right. Exactly. Exactly. Okay, I understand that concept. It's a snapshot based on limited information or data compared to what I might already know or believe about you.
Marsha Clark 14:58
That's right. That's right. So, so let's look look then at the definition of bias, and again, going from the Oxford Languages dictionary. Bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person or group compared with another. And that prejudice is usually applied in a way that can be considered to be unfair.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 15:25
You know, something you just said just jumped out at me, the idea that biases can be prejudiced in favor of something or someone but still considered to be unfair. So, I want our listeners to kind of queue in to the fact that bias isn't always a negative bias, but the result is typically considered unfair. And I really hadn't broken it down that way before.
Marsha Clark 15:52
Yes, so, the definition generates some critical thinking, which, of course, is my intention with these podcasts. So, yay, I'm glad you're starting it with that deconstruction of how you thought about bias before. And for me, I see stereotyping and bias really walking hand in hand. So, for example, a woman will be too emotional when making decisions. That's the stereotype, therefore, and here comes the bias, I won't invite her in or listen to her perspective or recommendations because they're rooted in emotion rather than fact. And a second, therefore, I will not hire or promote her because she, and I would reference it as all women, are too emotional.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 16:37
Yep. There's a lot of critical thinking happening there.
Marsha Clark 16:41
That's right. And that's the thing. Most of the time these stereotypes and, and biased beliefs are operating below our own consciousness. And what I just said out loud isn't actually verbalized and we might not even be aware that it's going on inside of us. But it's an operating system, almost, if you think about it in those ways, working behind the scenes driving our decisions, but we don't take time to check in or check out or challenge our own thinking. Another point I want to make here is is not that we shouldn't have stereotypes, that's an impossibility I think. We're going to have them, we do have them. All of us. And our choice point - and this is a really important point - is whether we're going to hold on to them and not be open to the person on the other side of this assessment I'm making as being human, being themselves and not being placed into some limited category of bias. So, acknowledging our stereotypes and then choosing to move beyond them through curiosity and learning, now new relationships can open up for us.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 17:54
Yeah. And you include an interesting reflection activity in the book around that idea of acknowledging your own stereotypes. And will you share that?
Marsha Clark 18:04
Yes. I can. And I added that because I want people to get clear on the stereotypes that they hold so that they can and will make intentional choices around how to treat other people who may look different from them, act different from them, have a different life experience certainly than them. So, our listeners can do the exercise by answering this one question. And again, it's simple but complicated. "What stereotypes do you have?"
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 18:34
Okay, so, let's go a little bit deeper and share the prompts that you offer in the book with some example stereotypes. So, please share some of those to help our listeners kind of get started because the broad question 'what stereotypes do you have?' I think I would, it's a big question, little deer in the headlights.
Marsha Clark 18:52
So, here are what, again, the literature describes as some of the more commonly held stereotypes, and I hope they do prompt our listeners to think then about their own. You know, girls are good with language, boys are good at math. I've had many an engineer in my class go 'that's not true' because it's not, but it is a stereotype. Women are not risk takers. Men take more risks. The reality is that women take just as much risk as men. What the research tells us, now that we're doing research on women and risk because we didn't used to, is that women take risks. We just have a plan B, a contingency plan, a safety net, so it doesn't look like we're taking as much risk because we didn't just fall off the cliff. Right? Okay. Women are too emotional. Men take nothing personally. If you've ever been in some of my men coaching conversations you might think differently about that. And this idea about women being too emotional is usually because we had a tear in our eye, which means too emotional, or we were really enthusiastic and passionate and it's like oh, chill out, calm down. And yet men being emotional by screaming, hollering, all that kind of stuff, those are emotions, too, folks. Okay, I digress. That Millennials are an entitled generation, the trophy generation, the everybody gets a blue ribbon kind of thing. And I just want to say there's 80 million give or take Millennials thinking that all of them are the same. How naive is that? And then you can go on and on. Women from the North are... women from the South are... women from the East are... women from the West... put a country and it just gets really complicated. And again, the exercise is not to judge but to create greater awareness. And when we begin listing out all of the stereotypes that we hold, it's awareness. It's not judgment, it's not criticism, it's awareness.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 20:55
And all of these questions start making me think of how, what the next follow up question to that is, and because I don't think we hit on it here in this episode, but my response to doing this exercise is to then ask, what else could be true?
Marsha Clark 21:15
Yes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Love it when you when you use a tool back.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 21:19
That's right! So, Marsha, one of the resources you include in the book is a list of nine common stereotypes or nine types of common stereotypes, to call it that. And this list was developed by Chris Drew, who has a PhD, and that is available on his website, which is helpfulprofessor.com. And we will put that in the show notes.
Marsha Clark 21:47
Yes, we will. And I love even the thought of helpful professor. I corroborated his data and so and yet I'm not gonna list everybody I looked at. But Dr. Drew's was the seminal research that I wanted to share. And I like his work, because, in reality, I can relate to it. I mean, I can see me in it. And it's statistically legitimate and credible from a research perspective. So, as I describe each of the nine, I want our listeners to do some reflection along the way. And here's the deep question to consider for each of these stereotypes. In what way or ways do I hold this stereotype? And what I often find with my clients is once we ask some question like this they may not be able to come up with an answer right this minute, but then tomorrow, or this afternoon, or whatever, when they go back they'll start noticing things more. And so in what way or ways do I hold the stereotype. And so be careful not to automatically go into denial mode. Be honest with yourself because there's not judgment or blame, it's just awareness. So, I'm guessing there are at least one or two examples for each type where you're holding a stereotypical belief. And so let me share with you what these nine types are. And these are all in Chapter 12 in my new book. So, the first one is gender stereotypes, one near and dear to my heart. And this involves making assumptions about a woman, or what a woman or man can or can't do, or should and shouldn't do. And so the dominant gender stereotypes today are - and this is the way he characterized it. His heading is dominant masculinity and dominant femininity. So, under dominant masculinity, here are the stereotypes: A man is expected to be assertive, take control, take a leadership role, and take on dangerous or physical tasks in service of women, the knight in shining armor. Men who do not fit the stereotypical norm are often looked down upon by others in society. So, that's the dominant masculinity. The dominant femininity: A woman is expected to be passive, sweet, shy, quietly spoken. Some people think she should, quote, "act like a lady" end quote and take a more active role in household chores than men. And now, let me just say to our listeners, clearly, you may not hold these dominant gender stereotypes, and you may hold others. So, let's get real about that. And I think of this, too, as almost like a continuum with dominant masculinity on one end of the continuum and dominant femininity on the other and we could be operating at any point on that continuum. So, that's the way I would describe that. Now for stereotype number two, race and ethnicity stereotypes. And this is a pre judgment about people based on their race, Black, White, Asian, whatever it might be or their ethnicity, Hispanic, Native American, Pashtun, whatever it might be. And so societies create stories about people based on their race and ethnicity, and it can follow them throughout their lives. And so I ask our listeners, what stereotypical stories are you holding around race or ethnicity?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 25:33
Yeah, I'm already starting to sweat it out over here. And we've just done number two. This is a real conversation.
Marsha Clark 25:41
It is. It's gonna get even "realer", to use that word. So, I just want to acknowledge it's not easy when we confront these stereotypes. But again, I remind our listeners, this is about raising our awareness so we can make better choices. So there, I hope that you can hear my positive intent as we go through this explanation.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 26:00
Absolutely, absolutely. I'm all in.
Marsha Clark 26:02
All right. So, stereotype number three is sexuality stereotypes, another hot topic in the world today. And many people continue to hold prejudices against people based on their sexual orientation. And this can lead to a harsh discrimination against those whose sexual orientation is different than yours. And all you have to do is look at the news to see this in action because state after state is creating LGBTQ legislation. And we're not here to tell you how to think. I would never ever, ever do that. But just thinking about what your own stereotypes are around this, and recognizing that they can show up in hiring, promotions, who I let my children play with, all of those things. So, that's sexuality stereotypes. And then the fourth stereotype is social class stereotypes. And these are stereotypes about working class people that have followed them throughout the centuries. And it can prevent certain social class stereotypes from getting a good job or access to education and housing. I call it the headwinds versus the tailwinds kind of thing. And these stereotypes work both ways. So, it's not just one class talking about another class, every class is talking about every other class, if I can say it that way. Working class people have long been seen by wealthier classes as uneducated and narrow minded people are only capable of so much. And then on the flip side, wealthier people can be seen as pompous, arrogant and uncaring, and dare I say, even entitled. And these stereotypes can certainly make it hard to build or to strengthen the relationships we all need. So I invite our listeners to think about what are your stereotypical beliefs around different social classes?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 28:07
Oh, this is really powerful. And, you know, it's it's making me think about also what people's stereotypes are around people who move to different social classes, like the people who maybe started out small that now they're big time or whatever, and what that stereotype looks like as well.
Marsha Clark 28:31
Well, you know, I just want to share this quick story with you. I grew up in a very blue collar family. There were five of us children, we lived in a three bedroom house, my father was a construction worker, never made a lot of money. I've worked really hard and I live in a nice home and I drive a nice car. Well, people that know me now and know nothing about my childhood, they just assume I've had all that all my life. And so, part of, in my opinion, the greatness of America is you can start wherever you start, and you can do better. There is an opportunity. Now, it can be harder, again headwinds and tailwinds. And yet, I look at my own stereotypes around that and I invite our listeners to do the same.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 29:21
Yes, stereotype if you were a person who started with little and you look at others who have little and think, 'Well, why aren't they?'
Marsha Clark 29:31
Right. I did it. Why can't you? Well, because some of us are on yachts and some of us are in canoes or drowning!
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 29:37
Holding on to a stick.
Marsha Clark 29:39
That's right. And when I posted that, if you listened to last week's episode on this, I gave a little quote around that and then one of the people that I've worked with forever many years ago said and some people are throwing the oars out of the boat and you know, pounding holes in the hull, so there's all of that. So, that's our social class stereotypes. And so, the fifth common stereotype is, and the way the professor writes this is he puts the letters in parenthesis (DIS) and it's, but it's referred to as the ability stereotype. So, you can talk about it as disability stereotypes or ability stereotypes. So, and people with disabilities have long been excluded from social participation. For example, someone with speaking difficulties might be considered unable to do a job that in reality they're perfectly capable of doing. And I can tell our listeners and those of you who have been with us, you know, I've told this story before, I'm the older sister and was a frequent caregiver of a special needs child. And I have personally witnessed many times and experienced the cruelty of others when faced with the realities of a special needs person. And so even as you think about that, the meme or the picture or the example that comes to mind is the person in a wheelchair who's trying to get into the ramp but can't because someone took a handicap parking space that didn't need to take a handicap parking space. And so the reality of oh, it's not real or I somehow deserve to get to park closer or whatever all those things might be, is a part of what's going on there. So, I invite our listeners, what are your ability/disability, stereotypes? And then our sixth stereotype is exploring age. And ageism is a stereotype and is another stereotype that can go in either direction. This stereotype assume older people are incapable and losing intellect, or similarly that a young person is incapable purely due to the fact that they are a younger age than me. And my personal experiences, there are different standards around this even for men and women. For example, if a man's hair starts to gray, he looks distinguished. If a woman's hair starts to gray, she's either encouraged to color her hair (look at the trillion gazillion dollar beauty industry) and you know, and maybe even be replaced by a younger woman. And here's where I invite our listeners to notice it. Look at newscast. The man is always older, and the woman is young and vibrant and beautiful.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 32:30
47 hair extensions, fake eyelashes. Yeah, but it's a spray tan.
Marsha Clark 32:37
It's a different model.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 32:38
Totally. Different expectations that are reinforcing how women should look.
Marsha Clark 32:46
That's right, goes back to that shoulding. And then the seventh stereotype is to explore nationalities stereotypes. When you make a statement like people from England are... people from South America are... people from Asia are...you're probably perpetuating a stereotype. And in this case, you're making an assumption about all people from a nation and it can be damaging to the any individual from that nation who don't fit that stereotypical mold. And so, again, from my personal experience, this can come from knowing one person from England, say, and then applying the stereotype to the millions of people from England.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 33:25
Yeah, I think movies and TV do this a lot, like they they latch onto and enforce these stereotypes - British people, people from India, people from Africa. Yeah.
Marsha Clark 33:40
And so the question is, what stereotypes about people from different countries or regions do you hold? I mean, look inside right now, this isn't about what everybody else is doing. And recognize that a single data point because I know someone from (fill in the blank). Now, you know, think about it as an American. There are 333 million or something of us. We're not all the same.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 34:03
That's right. Nor do we all know each other. When you travel internationally, 'Where are you from? Texas! Oh, do you know so and so?'
Marsha Clark 34:15
There's only 28 million of us. Yes. Okay, so, next one. And the next one is religious stereotypes. And this is a stereotype that creates fear of religious groups that you don't belong to. And it can involve "othering" you know, creating them as an other them category of certain religions. And think about it in terms of Islam or Judaism. And our history as well as current world events demonstrate that these stereotypes literally kill people. I want you to get that. And I just want to also acknowledge for those in the United States, the terrorists of 9/11 blew that stereotype up.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 35:00
Yes, exactly. And I also want to just drop this in because I'm seeing a lot of documentaries around, things pop up in my Netflix folder is cults. So, stereotypes around cults, around cult leaders, around rebel who gets sucked into that. And, again, Marsha and I are not making judgments about what constitutes a cult or not a cult, but just that know that if you are dealing with someone in a work environment who has escaped that or was brought up in something like that, you may have an unknown bias. And once you learn that fact, you may, like it may put up your radar.
Marsha Clark 35:44
I think that it's really true. And I see cults oftentimes as a subset of the religious stereotype.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 35:51
Marsha Clark 35:53
The last stereotype to consider is political stereotypes. And again, I can't say this without oh, you know, having one of those moments, and it's created, this stereotype, when we retreat into our political tribes and paint anyone with different political views in the worst possible light. So, you know, this is the extremism, it's the absoluteness, it's the echo chamber of that comes into play here.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 36:24
Yeah. And while understanding and identifying what your stereotypes are about these people, no matter who these people are for you, it's this exercise that we're going through, I just want to reinforce this again. This is an exercise to understand what your own personal beliefs are. It's not to then take action on, you know, rise up a movement or whatever. It's so that you can analyze and understand how you may be coming across to that person in your communications.
Marsha Clark 36:24
Yes. And Wendi, I would offer this as sort of a metaphor, if you will. If I have on my gender stereotype glasses, I see the world a certain way. If I have on this ageism set of glasses, to think about it as lenses through which we see the rest of the world. And we can take those glasses off, we can get a different prescription, you know if I can take it to that place, but you can't manage it or get beyond it if you don't even recognize that you have it.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 37:04
Exactly, exactly. So, what's the final reflection question on this?
Marsha Clark 37:06
What actions will you take to get beyond the stereotypes? And I mean, it can start with a simple question when you meet someone different than you that says, "Tell me about yourself." I mean, all of a sudden, you have all kinds of possibilities and shared stories.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 38:06
So, it feels like a whole lot of learning about other people, and maybe even spending time with people that you don't know really well or feel uncomfortable with.
Marsha Clark 38:15
Yeah, and I think you're onto something there. And I would also encourage each of our listeners to ask themselves,"What do I get by holding firmly to the stereotypes and what am I giving up by holding on tightly to these stereotypes?" And for example, what do I get or lose? I don't have to put much thought at all into how I choose to see this person, it's lazy. I'm just going to call it for how I see it. And then what do I give up? A potentially wonderful relationship. It could be I give up giving an assignment to a competent person that could achieve great results. I give up broadening my perspective and seeing life beyond my little world, because our worlds are little, I don't care how much you travel. And this really is about getting past the stereotype to see the humanity and the uniqueness of an individual. And really the bottom line in all of this is that stereotypes can be harmful to everyone and that they rely on prejudices and bias that see people not as unique and complex individuals, but instead as the worst version of a social trope about a group of people. I mean, just it gets that and I get so upset when I see this. The nine stereotypes that I've shared here, they've persisted, let's acknowledge this, too, for many, many, many generations. And I would just offer that they're an easy way out. And I would also offer don't be taken in by falling into the trap of relying on stereotypes. Do your homework and then take the time and make the effort to get to know this unique and complex human being on the other side of this conversation or whatever interaction you're having,
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 40:02
Earlier you said you think stereotypes and bias go hand in hand, especially in terms of how they impact our decision making. So, just based on the definitions, sorry, the definitions that you just shared, I can see how that makes sense. And then you also share in the book a difference between unconscious and conscious bias, which this piece was going through my head as you were sharing all nine. So, will you do a quick overview of the difference between conscious and unconscious bias for our listeners?
Marsha Clark 40:38
You bet. So, bias impacts our hiring decisions, how and to whom we delegate tasks or assignments, and who we promote. And in all of these, both conscious and unconscious bias are implied, okay, so they're both operating. So, conscious bias is an active, understood and calculated choice to act in a certain way. So, with conscious bias, you're aware of the decisions you're making and you know what is motivating you to make that decision. It's clear, it's visible to me. With unconscious bias, and you, our listeners, may also hear this referred to as implicit bias, your behaviors, actions, inactions, and decisions come from an unconscious place. And in contrast to conscious bias, people who are operating unconsciously, they really have no idea that they're acting in some way that includes some people and excludes others. And since unconscious bias is often undetected, and even an automatic default, it can be very challenging. And so in the spirit of learning, you know my quote around that - "When you know, better, you do better" - I hope to raise our listeners' awareness or their consciousness not just to raise the awareness, but to and then to also deepen your understanding so that you can make more conscious and intentional choices. And I will also add that your choices are often tied to your values. And so if I say I value human life or dignity and respect, do my actions and words or is my value, really, I only value and choose to treat people with dignity and respect who look like me?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 42:34
Right. Right. Okay. So, I'm really curious about this link between our values and our biases. Intuitively, we get it. But now let's dive into the 11 different types of biases that you include in the book. And then I want to see how my values are playing out in the different types of biases.
Marsha Clark 42:55
Yeah and I think it's a good exercise for all of our listeners to do as I go through these as well. So, the first one is conformity bias. And this usually occurs when you're encouraged or even pressured into going along with the group. So, think about groupthink, if you will, and you're likely to second guess your own thoughts, ideas, or even decisions based on the feedback, both verbal and nonverbal from others that you're going along with, right? And a way to make conformity bias more visible is to keep track in your own group or organizational meetings, you can make two columns on a notepad. And so in one column, you're going to document your own thoughts and feelings about a certain can be a certain person, whether you're making hiring, promoting, compensating, succession planning choices. And in the other column, document how others are thinking and feeling about the person being discussed. And this is going to help you determine if you're thinking and feeling similar to the group or not. And you can then choose to speak up and ensure that your perspective can be heard and considered in whatever decisions are being made. And always make sure you're speaking in support of what is in the best interest of the organization with the team, and not from a place of ego or an overwhelming need to be right. And you can determine if you're going along with the group. But and if you're not, that's the moment of choice to speak up and and offer a different point of view.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 44:29
Exactly. And I'm already seeing a connection between valuing harmony or unity and this bias or for that matter, valuing safety and how that might ignite this bias.
Marsha Clark 44:43
That is for sure. And I think there's so much in the media today that it is all about. It's a fear based story and so that I think definitely can lend itself to the conformity bias. And so now for our listeners The second of the 11 biases we're going to talk about is the beauty bias. And many people are biased towards those that societally, traditionally reflects as beautiful or attractive. And there's plenty of research that reflects that those who meet society's standards of beauty are more likely to be hired, given desirable assignments and given promotions than those deemed less attractive. And so, in order to combat this type of bias, consider holding more blind interviews. And I will just tell you that there's a lot of executive search firm or headhunters recruiters that say don't put your picture on your resume or your cv. And I also want to say, this is slightly askew, but have you noticed how many people are giving their daughters gender neutral names because they know there's a bias attached to that. And so, the idea of blind interviews I think is important particularly early on in the hiring process so you don't eliminate them right off the get go, after you have pursued getting to know them as a human being versus what they look like. And this is going to help you ensure that the most qualified people get far enough into that hiring process, again, before being disqualified based on the biases around societal beauty. And this is much harder when you know the person and you're looking for someone to promote or compensate or give that desirable assignment because I can't not know what they look like, the image comes up in my head. And in those situations, you're gonna have to challenge the basis of your decisions. And this is going to be true for all of these biases. Know what your specific decision making criteria is before you ever post that job or consider who you might choose to make this assignment for. And that's going to help you get past not only this bias, but really any of these biases.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 47:03
Any of the other ones. Yeah, because once you have the, because the criteria, especially for hiring, promoting, desirable assignment, that kind of thing, those are going to be hard, fast criteria around what needs to be accomplished. And so, therefore, those are immovable facts that have nothing to do with bias.
Marsha Clark 47:23
That's right. So, now, in certain environments, and it happens all the time, this next bias is the one that I think most of our listeners will be familiar with. And it's called affinity or similarity bias. And this bias occurs when the other person thinks like you, has similar interests or behaves like you. And dare I say, looks like you in some ways, and it's easier to form that deeper connection with someone who is like you. And this bias, we'll label it as having chemistry. And when you're considering another person for hiring, promoting, and so on, ask yourself, are you deciding based on your affinity bias or do I have solid decision making criteria which is going to help me neutralize that bias?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 48:16
Yeah, this is an extremely important suggestion on how to combat this bias with the decision making criteria.
Marsha Clark 48:24
Yes. And a tool or process like that can also help with this next bias as well. And this is called the halo effect bias. And this occurs, this bias occurs when you consider one outstanding quality or accomplishment that that person has to offer, as in their track record, and it outweighs or takes precedence over any or all negative attributes of the person being considered. So, for example, if a person went to a prestigious school, you may be immediately prompted to see how smart they are because if they could get into that school, and ignore their poor communication skills. So, I think about the people who often go to prestigious schools, if you talk about the alumni bias in the college acceptance part that says if your grandfather or grandmother, father or mother or if you gave a lot of money to that institution, guess what? Your kids are gonna get in whether they're smart or not. And so again, have some decision making criteria and have that right there with you when you're talking about that person and considering them for hiring or anything else. And really, objectively note the plus and minus behaviors and responses that the person you know, as they're giving you answers to the interview questions and as it relates to each of those decision making criteria.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 49:51
Yeah, I feel like the halo effect trap is probably or bias is probably one that I fall into a little bit more than I'd like to admit because it feels like it goes back to the affinity stereotype that we talked about earlier. So, yeah.
Marsha Clark 50:07
If they're a high achiever and I see myself as a high achiever, that's our affinity bias.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 50:12
Marsha Clark 50:14
And then as you might guess, the sort of the flip side of the halo effect bias is called the horns effect bias. Angels and devils is what we're talking about. And so, instead of focusing on that one positive quality, you may focus on the negative quality or experience. And I would also offer that you may have only heard about this negative quality or experience from another person, and you haven't even personally observed or experienced it for yourself. And the example I think of here is if you've worked in the same company or organization for a long time and you did something stupid when you're 26 and now you're 46 but that person may still remember how stupid you were 20 years ago and they can't let it go. So, again, go back to that decision making criteria and objectively note those plus and minus behaviors.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 51:08
Well, you know, I think, for myself, I feel like I do this one for sure as an initial reaction, but I quickly pivot to did I have a negative experience with this person myself? So again, is this second hand or third hand or 46th hand information or gossip, which is ridiculous and I'm not making a decision based on gossip. And then also, to your point, has this person grown past the thing that could have been a detriment?
Marsha Clark 51:44
Well, kudos to you for for acknowledging that that is a bias that you have and then working hard to get beyond it. And that's why this awareness is step number one. Yeah, because I can't manage it if I don't even know I have it. So, then the next bias is called contrast effect bias, we're getting really sort of technical here. So, this particular bias is often viewed as the most detrimental one in the hiring process. So, really important to hear this. As the person making the hiring decision, you will likely compare resumes or interviews with other candidates rather than having and using decision making criteria. So, well, they're the best of the bunch. But the bunch may be really mediocre.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 52:31
Yes. And companies under pressure, time pressure, project pressure, whatever, we'll just put a body in a place. That's right. That's right. So okay, so besides the decision making criteria, what are some other strategies for averting this bias?
Marsha Clark 52:48
Yeah, and because this is such a common one, I really invite our listeners to take heed. So, first have a current and accurate job description because that in and of itself, helps define decision making criteria. Do they have the educational level? Do they have the experience level? Do they have the skills that I need, and so on, and then develop relevant interview questions. And again, this is before you've ever seen a resume or talked to a person. And document the criteria of what you're looking for in the candidates responses to each. So, it's not just one thing. We all are familiar with behavioral interviewing. So, tell me about a time when blah, blah, blah. Well, it's more important that not that I know to ask you that question to tell me a story about, but to know what you're looking for in that story. Yes, yes. And then have some method for assessing a resume. You know, I often hear that it's like above the fold in a newspaper, right? That's where the big stories are. So, people are taught put the big stories on the top half of your resume because oftentimes headhunters or recruiters will never look past the first half of the page. So, make sure that you're representing yourself well in that, but also as a hiring manager or a recruiter or whatever, know what you're assessing. What is it that you're looking for? And then also having a qualified slate of people who are going to conduct the actual interviews and allowing them independently to give you their thoughts about the person so that you're not falling into that conformity bias. That was the first one we talked about that goes into groupthink.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 54:36
Well, and I want to underscore two things from these four bullet points that you just went through, Marsha. Number one, there kind of was a trend and I don't know if this is still a trend since we've bounced back from COVID. But there was a trend pre-COVID to your point number two, have relevant interview questions. There was a trend in giving people ridiculous puzzles to solve during interviews. Like I'm remembering the scene in one of the episodes of Billions where the firm is trying to hire a quant analyst and they give him this flat but had folding tabs. It was supposed to be a box that they were supposed to assemble. It was absolutely unsolvable box. So, the point of the interview was to get the person to actually admit that you couldn't put this box together. Okay, that's completely irrelevant interview situation. And number two, to underscore your fourth bullet of having a qualified slate of people who will conduct the interviews, it was a person who had his own power ego situations that put the frickin box in the room in front of the candidate. So, these interviews are not a place for somebody to get their jollies off of, you know, embarrassing or showing their superiority or whatever. So, if anyone listening to this has an interview process in your company that's a little bit whacked out like that, please do something about it. Great suggestions, Marsha.
Marsha Clark 56:16
So, really, all of this is about neutralizing the power of the bias. We want to diminish that. It won't go away. It's not about eliminating the power of the bias, it's neutralizing it. So, you know, I find it helpful to be able to check in with myself using this list of different types of biases so I can really get clear about what's going on inside of me. What's driving my thoughts, my attitudes, my feelings about a certain situation, and then I can manage myself effectively and make some necessary adjustments. And you know, it's not easy. I don't want to imply that it is. And, you know, I think it's a huge challenge, because the bias itself is fueled or fed by strong beliefs or assumptions in me.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 57:02
Right. And that sounds like the next two examples from your book, attribution bias and confirmation bias.
Marsha Clark 57:10
That's right. So, both of those examples are tough and it's hard to adjust them and they are strongly tied to our beliefs. So, the first one is attribution bias. So, in the case that I'm making a hiring decision, we can attribute a candidate success or failure to inaccurate factors. We may see a correlation, but it might not be cause and effect is another way to think about. So, so this is where you make an assumption and you subsequently make a decision based on in accurate factors. For example, if someone shares a success story, you may think this is an anomaly or the person getting lucky. And if a person fails at something, you might assume that they're incompetent. So, again, they're telling you something and your mind is going to a very different place. And I recommend to our listeners that you interpret their responses regarding failure, for example, as an authentic and mature response. If they're not willing to admit they were wrong or made a mistake, then that lack of humility, or lack of awareness, in my mind is a limiting factor. Because true leaders, in the context again of leadership being a mindset, you know, true leaders are willing to be vulnerable and to share their less than favorable experiences. It's a mature approach to take. And as the interviewer, your follow up questions are going to be targeted at what they learned from that failure and how they apply that learning in subsequent assignments. I go back to what did you do, what did you learn, and how will that help you going forward - the learning agility questions. So, let's face it. We're all going to have some failures and less than stellar performance. And now, if a candidate declares that they've had no failures, you might question their self awareness, their learning agility, and quite honestly, their trustworthiness.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 59:09
Yeah, I really hope that those senior managers and you know, placement agencies and all of these people who have to do with hiring are listening to this section.
Marsha Clark 59:21
Me, too. Me, too. Me, too. And so on the flip side with confirmation bias, you're dealing with a situation where you assume you're right, I'm right, regardless of the facts. And I often think about this one as ego or arrogance bias, quite honestly. And I'm a big believer in holding our thoughts, our feelings and even our decisions, holding them very lightly. And I learned this principle about I'm gonna say 50 years ago, and it was a quote that we used at our very first investor community shareholder meeting at EDS and the quote is: "A man's decision (and dare I say a woman's decision) is no better than the facts on which you've based it." And what that means for me and why I still remember this some, you know, 40 years later, 50 years later, is that you want to one, know the facts before you decide and two, if new facts emerge, you learn new things, be open to making a brand new or potentially a different decision. I was literally in a coaching session yesterday where a decision had been made in March. And now for that particular industry, the market has changed. And now they gotta go back and revisit that decision that they made back in March because we have new facts. And I mean, there it is.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:00:50
And is that tough? Was that tough for your coaching client? Was it painful?
Marsha Clark 1:00:56
Oh, it was, I don't know if I would go as far as to say it was an 'aha' moment but it was like, I hadn't thought of it that way. Right. Yeah. And so this next bias, and this one's really interesting to me. It's called the affect heuristics bias. This bias is prompting you to make decisions based on superficial or unimportant details rather than the more meaty facts or evidence. And I think the research can give us some great insights on this. In its most simple example, if a candidate wears a purple blouse, and I don't like the color purple, guess what? Unconsciously, I'm less likely to invite them to the next round of interviews.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:01:46
Marsha Clark 1:01:47
Yes, that's true. And a couple more examples, and these are ones I often hear about. The first one, if they have a firm handshake, then therefore they are strong and confident. Or they merely have a strong handshake, nothing more, nothing less. And second, they looked me in the eyes, and therefore I trust them. And I just want our listeners to hear in some cultures, looking people in the eyes in an afront, and it's actually a sign of disrespect. So, make sure you're checking those gut feelings or instincts, or this affect heuristics bias, before making those important decisions. And I say, again, return to your decision making criteria. And by the way, I hope 'doesn't wear purple clothing' is not on there. But this is, I'm gonna bet in these last two examples I gave, 'has a firm handshake' is not on your decision making criteria. Or 'looks me in the eyes' is not on your decision making criteria.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:02:51
Exactly. Especially not like, you know, right there in that one singular moment. And, yeah, but I definitely admit to this one firm handshake and I have the bias towards the man gave me a firm handshake but did not absolutely squish my hand together like those guys to exert his power. That's right. To make me have to like, Oh, my God, now I need a splint. Anyway, okay. Yeah.
Marsha Clark 1:03:18
I've told the story, I believe I have anyway, on the podcast where I had a gentleman who was retired military. And he broke my hand every time he shook it. And I know it was. He was older than I was so he was old school. Again, I'm stereotyping here. And I had to tell him, "You're breaking my hand." Here's what a firm handshake looks like. Here's what you're doing, a vice or something. So, this is all why it's so fascinating to me because so many of our decisions are made on these tiny little things. And they're random.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:03:58
Yes, and they're random.
Marsha Clark 1:04:00
And they're not really important and that we're making really important decisions based on them. And so, that's similar to the next bias and it comes, and the name of it is illusory, illusory like illusions. Correlation bias. So, this bias occurs when you make connections between unrelated concepts and then you make assumptions based on those unsubstantiated relationships. So, for example, the candidate is wearing a piece of clothing similar to what you wore in your interview. So, you're sitting across the table looking. That was me 20 years ago. And it's almost as if you are confirming your own choice of what you wore for that interview. And you're giving that candidate unconscious credit for making a similar choice. So, it's about validating me, right. And so make sure that again, you're going back to compelling and concrete evidence that support your decisions and conclusions.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:05:06
Yes. Not on whether or not they're shopped at J. Crew, Banana Republic, have on a Casper suit, whatever. Yeah. So, all of these are extremely helpful. Do we have a last? Are we are we getting to the last? Yeah, the last or the last bias that you include in the book is called intuition bias. And I really love the guidance that you offer on this one.
Marsha Clark 1:05:32
All right, and I will be honest, not honest, I will be transparent. This is maybe one of the toughest ones to get clear on because I do strongly believe in the power of intuition. So this is my struggle, right. And I want to trust my intuition. And yet, again, I want to hold it lightly. It is a data point, not the only data point. And so intuition bias reflects the practice of relying on what can often be seen as an emotional response, rather than facts or decision, you know, a critical decision making criteria. So, some of our listeners may recall that I had an entire chapter on intuition in my first book, "Embracing Your Power". And we did a podcast and I did look this one up, Wendi. Episode 61 with LaRue Eppler, and it was all about intuition. And she's done amazing work around that. The episode was called "A Woman's Knowing" because our intuition is strong. And we can often ignore it, which gets us in trouble. But if we rely solely on it, that can get us in trouble, too. So, this is a situation where you've got to dig deep, you've got to challenge yourself whether it is an unconscious bias that's driving that intuitive feel or is it a feeling that keeps tugging at you and you can't quite put your finger on it. And so, I can't give you an absolute on this. But you've got to ask yourself the question, what's going on here? What is driving this?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:07:11
That's fair advice. And I can see how becoming more aware of my own biases can then help me make better decisions.
Marsha Clark 1:07:17
It absolutely can be, I think, extremely helpful. And I encourage everyone listening to this podcast and if you do make hiring, promotion, compensation, assignment decisions, you know, to keep this list of unconscious biases handy. And we've got it listed all in the book, and when it comes out, if you want to have that as a part of your toolkit. And I also want to share that I tell my clients all the time, making hiring decisions is one of the most important decisions you're gonna make. And it's really hard. You have a 50/50 chance, and I would not put any more than that, of getting it right. And you know, because we also know and have the experience that some people interview well, and then they perform poorly, or vice versa, they interview poorly, and they're one of the best performers that you may have. And so, by acknowledging and understanding these biases, I think you're improving your odds of making a good decision.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:08:18
Well, so before we start to wrap up, Marsha, I want you to review the reflection questions around biases that you include in the book. So, please.
Marsha Clark 1:08:28
Yeah, and again, my intention with them is not only to provide some introspection, but I think that the answers can also serve as a clear call to action, right, for me to think and do differently. So, here are the questions. And I literally would make almost like a table or a spreadsheet. When have these biases shown up for you? And you've got all 11 of them listed and you think about it. When have you seen them show up in others? When might you have been on the receiving end of someone else's biases? That's the one that always, we've got lots of answers for that. But not how they might have shown up for us or even noticing them in others until we're the quote unquote, "victim of the bias". So, the next question is: "How will you better recognize and manage your own biases? And how will you help your team and organization recognize and manage these biases? So, these are big things. So, what are your first steps? Eat that elephant one bite at a time. What are your first steps that you need to do to acknowledge, understand and manage your biases?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:09:41
Well, Marsha, we've covered a lot of territory today between the exploration of stereotypes, the exploration of biases and then the impact that they have on equity as a choice and I know you wanted to offer a few final warnings from the book about what can happen when we let our biases drive our decisions, especially as leaders. So, please share those here as we begin to wrap this up.
Marsha Clark 1:10:08
Yeah, I think these are important, too, because it is about, you know, this book is about team and organization. So, this hits right at the heart of that. And if you are a formal leader in an organization, you have an accountability here. And so, there are four potential areas of concern for leaders and where you and your company can face negative outcomes when these biases are driving decisions. And so the first one is turnover. When you make biased decisions, you may find out that the person you hired is not performing at the level you expected, even if they did dress like you did on your first interview. And if you find yourself in this situation, set clear expectations, provide timely and constructive feedback to that person, give them a shot. And if performance continues to fall short, be a leader and take action. And this might be transferring that person to a role that's better suited to their skills and capabilities. And it might also mean exiting them from the organization because there's not a role for them that matches. Yet again, another coaching conversation I had just yesterday. And then the second potential negative outcome from bias decision making is colleague loss of trust. And often the people working with the candidate you chose, whether it be as peers, direct reports, or whatever, they're likely going to know before you do that the person's not performing well. This is, again, in the research. Bosses are often the last to know, especially if they don't have a good check and balance system in place. And so this can lead to loss of trust in your ability as a hiring manager to make good hiring decisions. And these same peers and maybe direct reports, they're also waiting for you to address the poor performance. And if too much time passes before you act, they're gonna lose further trust in you as a leader who's willing to make courageous decisions.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:12:07
Now you're bringing up points that aren't as obvious as repercussions and consequences when we think of how biases can impact our decisions.
Marsha Clark 1:12:18
And loss of trust is everything. I mean, think about that. Every relationship has got to be built on a good relationship. Strong, enduring relationships are built on a foundation of trust. And so if we're losing trust, that's danger, danger. So, then the other two repercussions of bias decisions, the third is legal issues. And, you know, if someone accuses you of making a biased decision or accuses the organization of having biased practices, you can face lawsuits, fines, court hearings regarding workplace discrimination. I mean, it's ugly, time consuming, and costly.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:12:54
Exactly. And that's an obvious one.
Marsha Clark 1:12:56
Yeah, it is. And then the last one is homogeny. When you are making biased decisions, you can often find yourself in that echo chamber leading a group of people who often think and act alike. And what the research tells us is that not much innovation or creativity, you know, creative thinking surfaces when that's the case, when everybody is thinking, acting, has similar skills, and so on. And it's been proven many times over now that diversity and equity improve business outcomes.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:13:31
Absolutely. So, Marsha, do you have a final point you'd like to make for our listeners today as we close?
Marsha Clark 1:13:38
Yes. I have two. First, I want our listeners to know that having stereotypes and biases is being human. So, again, this has not been an accusatory, critical, blame, judging kind of episode. It's inevitable and unavoidable as a part of our personal and professional lives. And my hope is that with the information we've shared today, each of our listeners can manage and again, become aware of their stereotypes, understand those stereotypes, and then manage those stereotypes and biases accordingly. And it's once you know, you can no longer operate from a default place. It is now a decision. You move from default in the unconscious to decision point in the conscious. And so, from this point forward, you're making conscious and intentional choices. Choose wisely and in support of your values. And then the second summary point I want to make is what are the stereotypes and conscious biases that you might be modeling for others in your life? And I think this is a really important point. People are watching you. And you know, in organizational life, the higher up you go in the organization, the more eyes are on you. And the microscope gets finer. Right? You turn your head to the left and people apply meaning to it. So, what are your actions, what are your words, what are your decisions telling people about stereotypes and biases? And what it really is, you're teaching it to others. And I think about this in particular with children. We're not born with stereotype genes or bias genes. We learn them. So, what are we, what are we modeling for others?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:15:38
Such great content today, Marsha. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I mean, I know our listeners and I am walking away with a ton of homework as we all think about stereotypes and biases that we hold, and how they're affecting our attitudes and behaviors.
Marsha Clark 1:15:55
Yeah, it's work. It's hard work. And which is also part of why equity is a choice. It doesn't happen by accident.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:16:05
Marsha Clark 1:16:06
We have to work at it. And, you know, which is also true for next week's topic of inclusion. And, you know, Arthur Chan says inclusion is an action. And that's what we're going to explore next week. And so I do hope our listeners came away today with more knowledge and insights and more curiosity and questions.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:16:25
Absolutely. Well, thank you, listeners, for joining us today on this journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please continue to download, subscribe and share this podcast from wherever you like to listen and check out Marsha's website, marshaclarkandassociates.com for links and references to the tools and resources we talked about today. Subscribe to Marsha's email list if you're not on that already. And you can also find out more about the books on her site. Book number one in the Power Series is "Embracing Your Power", which is currently available and will stay available. And then book number two, "Expanding Your Power" will be available in early 2024.
Marsha Clark 1:17:09
Well, thank you for that, Wendi, and thank you, listeners, for hanging in there with us. You know, this gets a little tedious. It does.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:17:15
This was meaty. Real meaty.
Marsha Clark 1:17:16
When you start looking at equity is a choice and when you look at the reality of the statistics around whether we have equity or not, there's clearly a lot of work that needs to be done. So, whether it's these nine commonly held stereotypes, whether it's the 11 biases we shared with you today. They're important and they're important for you to gain greater self awareness as an authentic leader and being true to yourself in knowing how those stereotypes and biases align or not with your value system, and then learning how to manage those more effectively. So, thank you very much for staying with us. We are not in this alone, and we need to be there for one another to help each of us know more, do more, know better, do better. And so, as always, "Here's to women supporting women!"
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