1. I don’t want to be called a racist and I don’t want to call anyone a racist.

Being labeled as a racist is an impossible burden in 2019 and professional recovery is nearly impossible. Add to this that to address the issues of bias you have to discuss, reveal and expose some of the most sensitive issues our companies, teams, and leaders have ever had to deal with.  And to heighten the anxiety, this means I have to reveal and expose myself too.  Bringing bias to the light is the right thing to do but how does this happen without embarrassing and labeling, myself, or good people who want to do the right thing?

  1. I wasn’t trained for this.

Becoming an expert at talking about issues of Gender, Race, Sexuality, Politics or any of the other aspects of cognitive diversity was not on the check of list to be a CEO.  There are a myriad of challenges facing C-Suite leaders and Bias is not on the list of areas where I have strong expertise. Yet today I am leading an organization where issues related to bias run rampant; from Race to Gender to Generational.  Yes, I am aware of the need for assessment, in depth training and coaching as a ‘right now’ priority.   And while challenge is clear the necessary experience and skills to drive change are not deep and broad within my organization and until they are, I’m just waiting for the next shoe to drop.

  1. The fee for a mistake is so high.

The decisions of any employee – regardless of level – can cost an organization an extraordinary amount of cash, brand value and talent. And yes, it could cost me too.  There are few ‘mistakes’ in an organization where the fee is so exceptionally high. And to add insult to injury it can follow the organization for years and years to come.

Bias related decision-making is at the top of the list of challenges which need to be addressed across many organizations.  They are also at the top of the list of strategic initiatives being talked about.  It is the challenge of today’s CEO to align their thinking and beliefs around Bias with both assessment and action. It is not an easy road, particularly if the organization is young in its ‘Bias Journey’ but the challenge must be met, and it is the role of the CEO to meet it head on.

While neither I nor anyone else can promise how soon change will come to your organization, I can tell you that taking on the work of Bias in your organization will move you one step closer to sleeping better at night.