In the volatile, uncertain, constantly changing and ambiguous world that most federal employees labor in, agility is an invaluable skill to have. The ability to dance, move and weave within a federal landscape that is shifting under our feet as we speak is the compass we need to navigate a white water world.
Since our experiences are mostly based on learned behavior, embracing change requires the confrontation of unconscious bias with those impressionable experiences so we can relearn new information that helps us make adjustments to our new surroundings.
The Tracom Group, a social intelligence company has looked at the many biases we all carry around in our back pockets and narrowed down three of the most important predispositions we need to get a handle on if we intend to “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee” in the seismic workplaces we call the federal government.
Tunnel Vision Bias
You probably see this bias at least once a week since it is the fiber that holds our bureaucratic fortresses together. In some circles this is called confirmation, similarity or in-group bias.
Tunnel vision bias occurs when we get so narrowly focused on something, we ignore creative, different and innovative information outside our experiences that help us achieve that something. We will ignore real time data because we are so set on a pre-determined outcome as our gut or previous histories dominate our decision making.
Sometime called anchoring bias, this is our tendency to interpret the world from our past experiences that have been embedded in the blueprint of how we view other things and people who are different from us. This phenomenon keeps us from seeing the world accurately and causes us to miss opportunities to see our surroundings in an uncommon light.
This kind of bias flows through the blood stream of our educational systems around gender identity development. Girls are praised for being quiet and calm while boys are praised for speaking their minds. Boys are often teased with statements like “throws like a girl.”
Status Quo Bias
This bias reflects our preference for familiarity and continuity. It has a more powerful effect on us when we are bombarded with multiple options.
It is a new game in the federal sector. It is no longer the survival of the fittest but the survival of the most agile and most resilient. Today’s federal sector needs more work horses than show horses, more doers than talkers, more grinders and less lookers and more scrappers and fewer silver spooners.
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