Oftentimes individuals tend to forget that we all have bias and that our biases show up every day in common and familiar circumstances or scenarios, because most of the decisions we make from day-to-day are routine and unconscious. We frequently hear the term, “we ‘all’ have biases,” but exactly what is an unconscious or implicit bias? For this first article, I would like to begin with uncon- scious bias. My goal in this series of articles is to share with you some of those best practices, terms and tips. The University of California San Francisco describes it as the following: unconscious biases are social stereo- types about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing. Vanderbilt University goes on further to explain an unconscious bias (or implicit bias) is often defined as prejudice or unsupported judgments in favor of or against one thing, person or group as compared to an- other, in a way that is usually considered unfair. Many scientists and researchers suggest that unconscious bias occurs automatically as the brain makes quick assessments and judgments based on past experienc- es and background. As a result of unconscious biases, certain people benefit and other people are penalized. In contrast, deliberate prejudices are defined as conscious bias (or explicit bias). Although we all have biases, many biases tend to be exhibited toward mi- nority groups based on factors such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, age, able-bodiedness and other such traits. TYPES OF UNCONSCIOUS BIAS As mentioned earlier, unconscious biases influence our decision making every day and can often lead to outcomes that aren’t always fair or equitable. There are several types of unconscious bias, below is just one example: CONFIRMATION AND COGNITIVE BIAS Confirmation bias is the tendency to process informa- tion by looking for, or interpreting, information that is consistent with one’s own beliefs, because “we all” like to be right. This biased tactic to decision making is fundamentally unintentional and regularly results in ignoring inconsistent information. Individuals are more likely to process information to support their own beliefs when the issue is extremely important or self-relevant. Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and a routine error of inductive reasoning or thinking that is coherent and logical. In the following video you will see more details about confirmation bias and how we need to challenge our own beliefs and facts: https://youtu.be/6xMaR8au-YU Confirmation and cognitive bias in healthcare can often lead to harmful outcomes of misdiagnoses and potentially incorrect treatment approaches for others. According to the Joint Commission, Division of Health Care Improvement, although inconsistently reported and therefore challenging to qualify, cognitive biases are increasingly recognized as contributors to patient safety events. Cognitive biases are flaws or distortions in judgement and decision making. Within events reported to the Joint Commission, cognitive biases have been identified contributors to a number of sentinel events, such as unintended retention of foreign objects, wrong side surgeries and patient falls. [Season] [Year]  |  45 Read more here: https://www.jointcommission.org/ assets/1/23/Quick_Safety_Issue_28_Oct_2016.pdf The white paper goes on to advise some safety actions to consider: • Enhance knowledge and awareness of cognitive biases • Enhance professional reasoning, critical thinking and decision making skills • Enhance work systems conditions, workflow design that affects cognition BEST PRACTICE FOR REDUCING BIAS Below you will find one of my best practices for reducing unconscious or implicit bias. SELF-AWARENESS Becoming aware of our own thinking patterns, behav- iors and actions is key to reducing our unconscious or implicit bias tendencies. We can immediately start to reduce our known ability to stereotype or make gen- eralizations, just by being cognizant and recognizing ways that we can change our own underlying miscon- ceptions. The more aware we become of ourselves and the impact or influence we have upon others, as well as how much we are influenced, the more we are able to shift our behavior and challenge our own bias. Look for ways to challenge what you ‘think you see and hear’, make fewer assumptions and ask yourself, “Is this based upon my assumption or is this factual?” The more you are able to test and challenge your own assumptions with data, fact-finding or even alternative explanations, the more you will see just how bias can influence your decision making. We are all faced with tons of data and information everyday which can often be overwhelming and can cause us to make fast, in-the-moment decisions, rather than rationally thinking through each scenario. In which case, I often suggest having several indi- viduals you can bounce ideas off of and get different perspectives. Winter 2018  |  45 RADICAL HOSPITALITY | PROFESSIONAL ENRICHMENT | BUSINESS GROWTH | INCLUSION Try to seek out information from others and allow for multiple opinions because this in itself will provide a foundation for a litmus test—where litmus test is defined as something (such as an opinion about a political, civic or moral issue) that is used to make a judgment about whether someone or something is acceptable. Having individuals in your circle that challenge your perspectives and beliefs is a great way to hold your feet to the fire and reduce tendencies to fall short on this area. Around the country, I facilitate workshops and seminars on inclusion, particularly those on inclusive leadership, where I discuss the behaviors and traits of inclusive leaders with the overarching theme of that “we all are leaders” and that we can become more inclusive ‘regardless’ of our position. The trait of self-awareness is the key foundation for inclusion, because quite honestly I believe that we cannot begin to influence change in our structures or organizations until we begin to closely examine our own infrastructure. We won’t ever be able to influence or lead others until we are able to successfully lead or influence ourselves. I also believe that ultimately when all is said and done, the only person we can truly change or reform, is our own self. This best practice of self-awareness is one of the key methods for shifting the narrative for reducing bias, but self-awareness alone, unfortunately is not enough. It takes a comprehensive understanding and strategy that we will explore in future articles. diversity MiShon Landry serves as a supplier diversity consultant/ contractor for Alcon, a division of Novartis. Novartis International AG, a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies by both market capitalization and sales. Alcon is a Swiss global medical company specializing in eye care products with U.S. headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. Mishon also facilitates the Cultural Competency portion of the DiversityFIRST Certification for the National Diversity Council, and is the CEO/founder of Culture Consultants. Culture Consultants is a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Leadership Firm focused on leading change in today’s organizational culture, our goal is to bridge the gap between inclusion and leadership. 44  | HBAdvantage By MiShon Landry