Managing Unconscious Bias: The Two Gear Method

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Unconscious bias is a concept deeply rooted in social science, validated by a mountain of evidence. It’s a concept that has started culture wars, has made many people feel blamed and castigated and even prompted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to enact the Anti-Woke law to change the nature of the conversation. Despite this, many people struggle to accept that their information processing can be unfair to underrepresented groups. This resistance complicates efforts by HR and Diversity leaders to ensure equity and inclusion in the workplace. Managing unconscious bias is an important part of fostering a healthy workplace culture.

Years ago, the concept of sexual harassment faced similar resistance. No one wanted to be labeled a “harasser,” leading to widespread rejection of the concept. Over time, the focus shifted to behaviors that foster a respectful workplace. At Emtrain, we addressed this by creating the Workplace Color Spectrum® – a shared language to color-code actions, not people.

managing unconscious bias

The Two Gear Method

Now, we introduce a new phrase to help avoid the stigma of being labeled as biased: The Two Gear Method. This method refers to our thinking styles. Most of the time, we use our fast-moving little gear to make many decisions quickly. This gear enables rapid information processing and intuitive decision-making without much analysis.

Conversely, when we use our big gear, we gather information and evaluate situations carefully and critically. This process requires more effort and time. In our fast-paced world, it’s more convenient to rely on the little gear. However, being deliberate and intentional about using the big gear is crucial for making objective, fact-based decisions.

Using your big gear is the key strategy for managing unconscious bias. It’s the opposite of quick, intuitive decision-making. Instead, it involves making decisions based on objective facts and careful analysis. Encouraging someone to use their big gear for decisions is much easier than addressing unconscious bias directly.

Recently, the topic of unconscious bias gained national attention when a major tech company faced backlash over its lack of diversity in leadership positions. This controversy led to a public commitment from the company to implement comprehensive unconscious bias training for all employees. The company’s CEO highlighted the importance of using deliberate and critical thinking—akin to our big gear method—to ensure fair and inclusive decision-making processes. Many similar events have occurred.

Improve Your Workplace Culture

Use our Unconscious Bias Workshop to enhance your workplace culture. Get a free demo of our Unconscious Bias training course today!

Learn how Emtrain can help you combat bias and create an inclusive, healthy workplace culture. Contact us today!

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Janine Yancey

Janine Yancey

Emtrain Founder & CEO Employment Law ExpertLong before #MeToo, Emtrain’s Founder and CEO Janine Yancey conducted live training to educate employees and build their skills on respect, empathy and making good decisions to proactively prevent workplace...Read full bio

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