Stacey A. Gordon is a rockstar when it comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She’s spent the last decade teaching companies to ‘Rework Work’, improving workplace cultures, dismantling hiring bias, and guiding candidates to their perfect role. Her teaching is so sought after that she has one the most watched LinkedIn Learning courses ever with over half a million views! She’s making her expertise more accessible through her new book, UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias at Work, (which I’m already claiming to be a New York Times Best Seller!)
In our conversation Stacey shares the difference between bias and discrimination, her ‘Action Manual’ for unbiased living, and how you can start making an impact today!
Stacey offers not one, not two, not even three, but four courses on LinkedIn Learning. Her courses cover diversity, inclusion, and career, have been viewed over 1 million times, and give nuggets of wisdom everyday people can use, not just those leading Fortune 500 companies.
Check them out here:
Unconscious Bias *(One of LinkedIn Learning’s most popular courses ever with over half a million views. Has been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Mandarin and is FREE for the month of March!)
Stacey shares great advice for those going through a professional shift in her course, Making a Career Change, but one thing that stuck out in our conversation is how to be sure a company is a good fit for you. She says you first have to know what you really want to do. “Get clear on what you’re trying to accomplish in life, then you’ll be able to choose a company that will help you accomplish those goals. Otherwise you’ll keep falling from place to place and accept a job just because you need the money.”
Note from Stacey: Being able to pay your bills is important so by all means work where you can to take care of yourself. After you’ve found financial stability, you can be picky about where to work vs settling for what you can get.
Since we had the expert in the room, I asked her to explain the difference between bias and discrimination. Stacey gave a real life example that helped expose her own unconscious bias. “I was once at a client’s office waiting for help from IT. When the IT person came, I was surprised to see that it was a woman. Later on I discussed my surprise with my colleague who revealed she felt the same way. Our unconscious bias was expecting an IT guy. That made us aware. If we refused the woman’s help, that would have been discrimination. That’s the difference, discrimination is in the act.”
Stacey says we interrupt bias through awareness and interrupt discrimination through action.
I was curious to know if there are any resources online to help gauge our awareness and correct our actions. Stacey suggested the Harvard Implicit Association Test and her quiz the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Workplace Assessment.
I liken Stacey’s work to that of a personal trainer, it pushes you beyond your comfort zone. I asked her how she approaches those who are afraid of being uncomfortable around the topic. “Get over it.”, she says. “People are afraid of having DE&I conversations because they want to be politically correct. We get around that need or desire [to be PC] by building relationships.”
Ever been offended during an interaction and left wishing you said a quick comeback to ‘put that person in their place’? Days later you finally think of the perfect response but you don’t want to be “that person” so you never address the offense.
Contrary to popular opinion, Stacey says you can come back to that conversation days later. Not reacting in the moment gives you a chance to calm down. When you’re ready to bring it up you can share how you took their comment and simply ask the person to clarify what they meant. Whether they meant to offend you or not you’ll have a better understanding and “closure”.
I love that Stacey calls her new book an “action manual”. UNBIAS: Addressing Unconscious Bias at Work is meant to educate those who may have good intentions but poor strategy.
She uses her “Unbias Blueprint” – Awareness, Alignment, Action, and Advocacy – to create proper standards that demonstrate what diversity is. Stacey says when we all live by the same standards, we’ll have progress.
Stacey wants to be sure you never feel like there’s nothing you can do to make an impact. She suggests these changes you can make today:
Treat your coworkers better
Learn who your coworkers are
Get to know your coworkers
Include more people on the team when delegating tasks and giving opportunities
What have you started using lately that you love? Monday.com
What is the best gift you’ve given yourself in the last year? I’ve given up the idea that I have to be a good homemaker to be a good mom.
What’s something you’re excited to learn in 2021? Learning about the human brain and the science behind DE&I.
What is one thing you would change about every company if you could? Every company would have on the job training and proper onboarding.
Homework: Pre-Order my book and get to know somebody on your team that you don’t normally talk to.
Mark Metry calls himself an “introvert coach” and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe the work he does. He’s the author of Screw Being Shy and a keynote speaker who’s learned how to overcome social anxiety and shine in front of crowds, on social media and with whomever he meets (he’s met some pretty cool people). Join us as we pick Mark’s brilliant brain for insights!