Apply Now

School for CEOs considers unconscious bias

10 February 2017

Our background, personal experiences, societal stereotypes and cultural context impact our decisions and actions. Our brains make incredibly quick judgements and assessments of people and situations without us realising. We may not even be aware of these views and opinions, or be aware of their full implications.

Research also shows that people working with Inclusive Leaders are more productive, satisfied and engaged.

Against this background School for CEOs hosted a seminar for invited guests at which the discussion was led by Hayley Barnard, co-founder of Mix Diversity Developers. She was joined on the panel by Dr Maria Angelica Perez, Global Head Diversity & Inclusion at Ericsson and Dan Forbes-Pepitone, ‎Talent & Capability Director at Skanska.

Hayley said: ‘"Progressive businesses are taking diversity and inclusion seriously as demonstrated by those present. It is the norm for unconscious bias to be within the DNA of an organisation to varying degrees, so it was important for us to explore this as a group of senior leaders. My aim was to provide insights into what can be done to reduce individual bias, how internal processes can be modified to manage bias and to promote more inclusive leadership.

Unconscious bias is something we all have so it’s imperative that leaders know how to manage their biases and develop processes to mitigate the effect of bias across their organisations, especially in recruitment and promotion.’

Dr Maria Angelica Perez added: ‘Our biases have profound influence over our decision-making. Biases unidentified and unchecked, could lead us to make decisions that lessen our ability to compete in the marketplace. It is important for both individuals and organizations to understand the phenomenon and implement strategies to minimize biases. In any strategic initiative it is always essential to have access to those at the top. I always welcome the opportunity to share information on this critical area with CEOs.’

Colin Daniel, Director of School for CEOs, said: ‘This seminar was created to help our clients expand their team’s understanding of how unconscious bias might be affecting their leadership. We were keen to start a conversation on inclusion aimed at making us think differently and want to take action.

In response to our clients’ requests School for CEOs will be holding its first all-female Runway programme in June’.

Hayley continued: ‘There’s been much talk about getting greater diversity in businesses but research shows that there is little benefit from diversity unless it is well managed. That’s why developing Inclusive Leadership skills needs to be a priority.’

For further information on Schools for CEOs or to join a programme, visit or call 0131-225 5886.

Our picture shows (from left to right):Patrick Macdonald, Founder, School for CEOs; Dr Maria Angelica Perez, Global Head Diversity & Inclusion at Ericsson; Hayley Barnard, co-founder of Mix Diversity Developers; Dan Forbes-Pepitone, ‎Talent & Capability Director at Skanska; David Sole, Founder, School for CEOs.


Further information:
Elaine Howie
0131-225 5886 or 07720 442 881

Note to Editors:
School for CEOs is an innovative concept in executive education. It was founded in 2011 by: Patrick Macdonald, Chairman of Reconomy, Chairman of Inenco Group Ltd and former Chief Executive of John Menzies plc; and David Sole OBE, business coach and former international rugby captain.

Back to News