Unbiased to all but Excellence - Part 1

If you have been following my blog, you know I have been developing a series of posts on the 10 Crucial Survival Skills for the 21st Century CIO.  Today I'm taking a break from the series to muse.

Bias, one of the seven sages of Greece
Clipart: Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse

"Unbiased to all but excellence and achieving my goals".

I read a lot.  And when I say a 'lot', I mean a 'LOT'. So I likely read this quote somewhere.

If you are the originator of this phrase... thank you.... and curse you.

It's been haunting me.

Maybe it came from Aristotle who said "We are what we repeatedly do; Excellence then is not an act, but a habit."

But then perhaps it's been a series of recent experiences and news items where personal biases overshadowed and derailed some very worthwhile initiatives because they didn't line up with someone's personal dogma, belief system or personal comfort.  (Note: I'm not talking about religious/faith based observances or critical life situations... I'm talking about hubris, selfishness, and fear.)

You see this in the work environment all the time. Great ideas are quashed because of the"That's not the way we do things around here" syndrome.

Leadership is not open to "different".

They are biased.

It limits them.  And their team.  And their organization.

Here's the part that impacts me.

I'm a leader.

Am I scared to think different? act different? be different?

Are my personal biases holding me back?

Am I limiting the potential of my team and my organization because of my fears, my personal comfort, or my pride?

Only you know the answer to these questions.

But biases can be good... if you are biased toward the right things... like excellence.  But I don't think I can unpack the second part of this phrase (excellence) until I work through the answers to the questions above.

Do you have any examples in your organization where biases interfered with excellence? (You may change the names to protect the innocence (or your job)). (And yes for all you English majors out there, I just used embed parentheses... in a former life I programmed in LISP).

Stay tuned for part 2.

(Read more posts from Turning Technology Invisible)


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