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Newsletter Week 33

September 25, 2019

Ditching your performance reviews can actually increase bias. Use these tips to make your reviews better instead. Also, can asking for advice rather than feedback make executives more receptive to D&I conversations? A tool for explaining and exploring gender identity. Finally, allyship, in the words of six international executives from Netflix

This Week in D&I In Practice

Let’s Ditch Ditching Performance Reviews (D&I Original)

Isn’t performance review week your favorite week of the year? Yeah, me neither. Turns out no one likes performance reviews very much, which is why many companies have been moving to continuous feedback or other systems.

But getting rid of your performance reviews might actually make it harder to identify bias and make fair people decisions, according to Alison Wynn of the VMware Women’s Leadership Innovation Lab at Stanford. She offers tips for crafting performance reviews that actually counteract bias and lead to more equitable decisions.

This Week in News and Research

1. Why Asking for Advice is More Effective Than Asking for Feedback (Harvard Business Review)

When I read this article, a lightbulb went off in my head. Making a mistake around a diversity and inclusion issue is professionals in the field, we counsel people to get comfortable making mistakes. But fear continues to hold people, especially senior leaders, back from learning.

Asking for advice is a great way to reframe what could be a scary experience into a positive one. There are many forums where leaders could seek advice: reverse mentoring relationships, employee resource groups, one-on-one meetings, etc. 

There are obvious risks to this strategy--mistaking one person’s perspective for that of an entire group, for example. But, handled with care, formalizing ways to seek advice could be a productive strategy for engaging leaders in D&I conversations in a deeper, more authentic way.

2.  What is Gender? A Tool to Understand Gender Identity (Catalyst)

This worksheet provides a short, research-based overview of the concept of gender, how gender is different from sex, and some of the cultural influences on gender expression. It then walks you through a series of questions designed to explore your own relationship to gender, and ends with tools for creating a gender-inclusive workplace.

The research is readable but not dumbed-down, and the self-reflection exercises help make it personal.

3. What Allyship Means to Netflix Executives (LinkedIn)
I normally don’t point to articles focusing on one company. But this interview with leaders from around the globe at Netflix is a fascinating glimpse into how allyship plays out across countries and cultures. The stories about dealing with bias from external partners highlight the particular problems that can come up in a multinational business that must operate in local conditions while staying true to its own D&I values.

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