A New Way to Think About Unconscious Bias

The Two Gear Method

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. The concept is unconscious bias. It’s rooted in social science and there’s a mountain of evidence that validates it. Even so, many people can’t accept the idea that they process information in a way that is unfair to some underrepresented people and they reject the concept of unconscious bias. Which makes it difficult for HR and Diversity leaders who are trying to create equity in all employment decisions and inclusion between employees. 

Many years ago, the concept of sexual harassment provoked similar negative reactions; no one wanted to be labeled a “harasser” so there was a collective rejection of the concept of harassment. As a result, it took society a while until people started focusing on the behaviors that create a respectful workplace. At Emtrain, we solved the harassment stigma by creating the  Workplace Color Spectrum® – a shared language to color code actions, not people.

Unconscious Bias Workshop Management

Now we’re providing a new phrase to avoid the stigma of people being labeled as biased. The Two Gear Method refers to our thinking style. Most of the time, we use our fast-moving little gear to make many decisions very quickly. When we use this gear, we’re triaging information very quickly and making intuitive decisions without a lot of analysis. On the flip side, when we use our big gear, we’re gathering information and evaluating a situation very carefully and critically. Using our big gear takes a whole lot more work and takes a lot more time to make a decision. In our fast-paced world, it’s much more convenient for most people to rely on their little gear to process information and make decisions. It’s just easier and quicker. It takes being deliberate and intentional to slow down and use a big gear for evaluating a situation and making a decision.

Using your big gear is the strategy for managing unconscious bias. It’s the opposite of fast thinking, “shoot from the hip” decision making. Using your big gear means you’re making a decision based on objective facts and careful analysis. And telling someone to use their big gear for making people decisions is a whole lot easier than telling someone they have unconscious bias.

Use our Unconscious Bias Workshop to help improve your workplace culture and get a free demo of our Unconscious Bias training course!

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


unconscious biasWorkplace Culture
Janine Yancey
Business Compliance & Workplace Culture Expert
View bio

Stay up to date with our blog posts!