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Going Beyond Blog of Learning Opportunities

This blog is a place to share the learning opportunities through Going Beyond, our Communities of Practice education programme.  You can request to join a Community of Practice here:

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  • Unconscious Bias - Let's stop and think

    Author: Laurence HarveyPosted: 02 June 2020

    Laurence Harvey pic‘How could they do that’? Have you ever said this to yourself? The question is, could anyone be saying this about you? Have you ever been driving (or being driven) and suddenly the driver ‘loses it’? Has it been you that has ever lost it? It could be little things. The driver in front on the roundabout suddenly veers off to the right in front of you. The thing is, if you think about it, you knew something was going to happen. You had a ‘gut feeling’ something wasn’t right with the car in front. Your ‘intuition’ was telling you to be aware of what might happen. Did you listen to your gut, your intuition? Or did you carry on and then lose it? Suddenly your behaviour changes. Shouting, screaming, swearing at the vehicle in front. Pointing, gesturing, banging and bashing your hooter! Keep reading to see how our momentary distress can affect our judgement and what that might mean in the workplace...

    You would never do what they did, would you? It was someone else’s fault, wasn’t it?

    It’s never us, it’s always someone else.

    Have you ever been lost on unfamiliar territory? Have you ever had to veer to the right at the last minute? Have you?

    Do you think they meant to upset you? Or did you allow the situation to upset you. The emotions kicked in and it affected your behaviour, in a split second. You were momentarily out of control. Not conscious of what you were saying or doing. It happens. Or, the question is, do you allow it to happen?

    Let’s stop and think. Let’s be honest with ourselves. What might you be doing, that you actually don’t mean to do? If you are not aware of what you are thinking, you may not always be aware of what you are saying or doing.

    At work do we have a ‘gut feeling’ that something isn’t right for someone. Is our intuition telling us that something is awry for them? Can we stop and think and be conscious of the fact that it might be what you are doing that is affecting them?

    Has the conversation and comments at work ever veered of into the world of ‘banter’. Is it then that you (and others) get the feeling ‘I know where this is going?’ Where do you go?

    Then there are certain jokes that only happen at certain times, when certain people are, or are not around. Do you laugh and join in to ‘fit in’? Or do you consciously decide to stay quiet and not laugh at something you really do not find funny?

    Human beings tend to be good at judging others behaviours and reacting to them. But how good are we at being conscious of how what we are doing may be perceived by others as bullying and/or harassment. Do you mean anyone to feel that way?

    Next time you get the feeling that something isn’t right, stop and think and be sure that it is not you that is the cause of it. Don’t let it be your fault.

    Let’s manage our emotional reactions and be more tolerant of others.

    Let’s consciously manage the little things that happen to us. Let’s not blame anyone. Let’s use our ‘common sense’.

    Let’s make the way that we behave be the right way. ‘Behaviour breeds behaviour’. If we could all behave more patiently with everybody all of the time how much better may we all feel?

    Laurence Harvey was Guest Expert for our Exploring Unconscious Bias event held on 19th May 2020. To explore unconscious bias some more and discuss the event, request to join our Community of Practive Discussion on 1100-1230 10th June.

    Find out more about it here: 


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  • Unconscious Bias - some thoughts

    Author: Laurence HarveyPosted: 27 May 2020

     ‘I can’t wait for things to get back to normal’

    How many times have your heard this said in the last few weeks? How many times have you said it? What is ‘normal’ anyway? Normal ‘the usual, typical, or expected state or condition’. Who’s ‘normal’ are we talking about? Lately things have definitely not been ‘normal’. Our routines have changed, influenced by Government guidelines on how to stay safe and stop the spread of the threat of Coronavirus. Things seem and feel bizarre, strange and abnormal. Human beings are creatures of habit, routine and like things to be familiar. Anything that is unfamiliar can be unnerving and perceived as a potential threat. These emotions trigger our unconscious assumptions that affect the way we perceive others. Our assumptions affect our attitudes which in turn affect how we behave. This can all happen unconsciously. Keep reading and I will explain further...

    Ask yourself and be honest! 6 weeks ago, what were you thinking of people that wore face masks in public?

    Now ask yourself and (again) be honest. What do you now think of people that do not wear face masks in public?

    We have, all of us, over the last few weeks experienced a change in our habits. We now have new routines. They are changing to adapt to the situation enforced upon us by the Coronavirus. We are potentially, more conscious of what we are thinking and doing, than we ever have been before.

    So, what now as we start to go back to work? How were people being treated at work 6 weeks ago? Is there a Bully at work, or are we allowing someone to be a Bully at work? Are we allowing some to misuse power to undermine humiliate and injure others? Are we allowing offensive, intimidating, malicious and insulting behaviours? What can we all do to treat people more fairly at work from now on?

    Can we recognise that we all have a different normal? Can we then begin to accept that we are all different? Can we be more tolerant of each other and our differences? Let’s make these emotional times make work more inclusive and friendly. Let’s be more tolerant of people that we perceive as different to our ‘normal’.

    Let’s make sure that we do not (even unconsciously) treat people unfairly. Let us not tolerate bullying and harassment. Let’s make sure that we do not ‘go along with’ things that we actually, don’t want to ‘go along with’. Subtle changes in our behaviour can make a huge difference to workplace cultures and environments. Just being patient with everybody all of the time can make a difference. You might never change what you think but you can change what you say or do.

    Behaviour breeds behaviour. If we change how we behave others will often naturally follow.

    Let’s make fairness and equality for all, ‘usual’.


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