Habit # 3


As seen in the session, our mental representations are not the direct translation of the world around us. Our mental representations are our interpretation of reality. As soon as we see someone, we will automatically associate him/ her with a series of attributes which often do not correspond directly to the person in front of us. However, these attributes will structure our behavior and impact our choices and our decisions towards him/ her.

A technique called “Nudging” can be used to reduce biases, change perceptions and automatic behaviors, even well beyond social biases. If you would like to know more about it, 2017 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Richard Thaler, has published : “Nudge, Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness.”

As shown by scientific research, exposure to counter-stereotypical individuals can reduce unconscious biases.

Here is an example

If you tend to subconsciously associate Male = Leader and Female = Follower, being exposed to a woman who is a great leader and thinking about her before an important decision will sever the connection between Woman and Follower. Thus, you will be more objective, for example during a Talent meeting.

Additionally, keeping in mind the image of this woman can also allow you to be more inclusive in your attitudes and day-to-day interactions with the women on your teams and improve their performance. As seen in the session, we all conform to the unconscious expectations of our environment. If you tend to associate a woman with a follower, the women you work with will tend to adopt a “follower” attitude. If you can successfully change your subconscious attitude towards gender and leadership, the women who work with you will automatically improve their leadership. Over a longer period of time, they will also be more likely to opt for operational positions where leadership qualities are important.



Become aware of your biases with Neurovalue Cognitive Profiler tests

Based on the tests you have taken, identify the specific perceptions you intend to change. Are those perceptions related to gender and leadership, gender and family? Or biases related to origins? Or any other bias?

Identify a relevant counter-stereotype of the bias you intend to change

Let’s take the example of gender and leadership. Below, 3 women demonstrated excellent leadership skills. You can certainly identify others as well. In fact, thinking of a counter-stereotype will act like a pair of scissors that will “cut” the unconscious association between the person and the biased attribute.


Change your environment


For example, keep a photo of this counter-stereotype visible around you either as wallpaper on your home computer, in a photo frame, or in other easily accessible places. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to interact with counter-stereotypes such as, in this case, the female leaders around you.
Our research show that such on-going exposure can gradually change your automatic associations. More broadly, change the representations around you by making sure to put forward female “Role Models”: at each internal conference, on the company’s intranet, externally…


Here are three examples of Gender and Leadership counter-stereotypes

Christine Lagarde

Governor of the ECB

Malala Yousafzai

The youngest Nobel Laureate

Wangari Maathai

First African woman winner of the Nobel Prize

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