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(Virtual) Education Lecture 19 May:  Unconscious Bias
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Reflection....

On his regular commute from London to his home in Milan, a Consultant observes how one's preconceived understanding of human relationships can be shattered by everyday use of modern technology.... 

Elizabeth asked me if I would consider writing a small piece for the February newsletter and in truth the biggest challenge appeared to be the fact that I could basically write on anything I wanted to and in any particular style. Of course as a management consultant I started to think - have I written something similar before?  has someone written an article that I can plagiarise?

So here I am sitting in an airport lounge considering my strategic options;  maybe even declining the task, as I could easily say I am too busy at present.  A good corporate response but easily seen through, I fear!

So I then thought about Patrick's last missive, given I was in an airport, and his analogy of being on the flight deck of the WCoMC;  but I was struggling on this, as I fear my thought of anyone on the flight deck is that they are very strategic and are happy to carry everyone with them, but not very engaging these days - with securely closed doors guarded by a pack of flight attendants - or cabin crew as they are more frequently referred to. However, knowing Patrick a little bit this is certainly not his style or his strategy, so I found my mind wandering.  Was this a good management trait or just a small factor of the ageing process… Surely not the latter.

Then my gaze happened upon a family of five.  What I presumed was a family of two adults and what appeared to be three generic offspring. The interesting thing was that they were all engaged in that worthwhile activity of playing games, texting and maybe reading their tablet - but all of course actively engaged in this technological world we have created. But there was I trying to put something down on paper;  but no it is my IPad, so do I have the right to judge?  Of course the main difference is that I am on my own, or should I say I was travelling alone. After watching them for a while I realised there was no verbal communication amongst them and very little non-verbal communication;  was this a dysfunctional family  or in fact was it a very "functional" family?  all merrily working within their own silos, not to be disturbed by those around them.

Maybe I am from a different age, where communication was a joy, plus the ability to engage with a total stranger or a close friend and set the world to rights or even disagree;  are all of these mundane activities to be lost -and if so what else will swiftly follow suit, I considered.

Then to my amazement one group got up and went off on their own way and the other remained and from my advantage spot up higher I could see them rushing for their flight.  So in fact they were two different groups;  so had I jumped to the conclusion that they were a family, or were they two separate families, or was it one family going its own separate way?  I leave it to you to imagine which of these scenarios is correct;  or as good management consultants I am sure you can come up with a myriad of possibilities.

But I will leave you with one thought that I do ponder about:  is our use of technology destroying our ability to communicate in basic terms?  If we do not interact with other people, how will we ever understand body language and the subtle messages this gives off!

Of course that is truly another discussion topic in its own right.

Ciao

Bernard

Liveryman Bernard Harvey