Making Diversity Work : 7 Steps for Defeating Bias in the Workplace
Published on August 9, 2016
published on August 9, 2016

ThePeopleAlchemist Edit: book review


The modern workplace hosts a collection of employees from different backgrounds, races, nations, religions and sexual orientations. And so for a company to function, all these people have to work together.

But, because if left uncorrected, bias can ruin an organisation, organisational leaders must minimise tensions. AND keep operations running smoothly. Sondra Thiederman has prepared a manual to recognise and correct discriminatory behaviour. She is an expert on diversity issues in the workplace. Her book contains personal examples and easy step-by-step exercises for reducing bias. The book is available on Amazon.

Making Diversity Work: Take-Aways from the book


  • People can fix a biased outlook by acting unbiased. Even insincerely.
  • People with strong ethnic identities are more open to other cultures.
  • When people see what they view differently share their interests and concerns, their intolerance fades.
  • Positive biases with overly favourable treatment can also be destructive.
  • “Gateway Events”  are workplace occurrences that provoke sensitive, discrimination-related issues.
    • They can be learning opportunities IF followed up with open discussions.
  • Fostering prejudice spreads bias.
  • Confronting prejudice reduces bias.
  • Publicly opposing bigotry can change other people’s biases.


  • Leaders generally agree that workplace diversity benefits business. But good feelings on every side are not an automatic achievement. Sometimes diversity needs organisational encouragement.
  • Bias is a rigid belief about a group of people. Positive or negative. Such prejudice is an attitude. Not a behaviour. Individuals can correct discriminatory thinking. Even a persistent one when they become aware of it. And then seek to minimise its influence on their lives.
  • Bias is a conditioned response. People can change it. Firstly by raising their awareness. Secondly, by exploring alternative ways of thinking. Finally, by practising new behaviours. The “visual renewal process” raises consciousness of biased assumptions. Which can be replaced with more rational, less emotional conclusions. This process has seven stages:
    1. Become aware of prejudices
    2. Gauge the weight of prejudices
    3. Know when biases have “secondary gains
    4. Examine biases
    5. Redefine groups
    6. Control  biases
    7. Act as if  not biased
  • Dialogue can be the best antidote to discrimination. But the key to leading a significant discussion is to set up a conversation with a stated purpose, not charged with emotion. But when setting up meetings to deal with discrimination, they must have a goal. So, first, lead all the participants to understand and agree that they face a common enemy – bias. Then, the discussion can help them control.

Making diversity work and defeating bias is not as complicated as it sounds. You need to start.


Laura Mariani

Laura Mariani

Best Selling Author, Speaker, Change & Transformation Expert


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