For the past few decades, companies have put substantial effort and major investment into creating diverse cultures. But why then do we still have so much inequality in senior leadership positions? Why do we still have slogans such as ‘me too’ or ‘black lives matter’? It should be common sense by now for everyone to support fairness, whilst respecting individual differences. The problem lies in that, whilst we believe and support equality, deep down we still hold those unconscious biases that make us stereotype people into groups. Negatively stereotyping people is not a harmless joke though, it can lead to serious consequences. In this blog, I want to address some of those negative effects caused by stereotype threat and the solutions that organisations should be working towards.
As a third of the world has gone into lock-down mode, I can’t help but wonder how our ancestors survived and bounced back from so many other pandemics, wars, famines, crises, you name it. The reality is that humans have a huge capacity for survival, which leads to revival. This applies to both individuals as well as organisations. At times of crisis, it’s not the most intelligent nor the most ambitious who survive, but the most resilient. In other words, those with the capacity to be strong under a stressful and changing environment. That’s true in a war, in the coronavirus world and in the boardroom.
Who would have expected us to be avoiding mass gatherings, restaurants, be working from home and be quarantined all together just a few months ago? Who would have guessed that financial markets would plunge so dramatically and toilet rolls would become our most precious assets? Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our lives are really turning upside down, and there’s not much that we can do about it but follow the guidelines that the authorities and experts are suggesting or, in some cases, imposing on us.
However, it’s not all bad news, it shouldn’t be. If you look at things from a more positive lens, instead of being glued to the news reading about this outbreak 24/7, there are plenty of things that you could “catch-up” with, whilst waiting for this situation to be normalised.