Daniel Maughan, president and CEO of Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital, recently discussed unconscious bias and "business blind spots" during a guest lecture at Mount Saint Mary College on Tuesday, February 1.
Maughan, an alumnus of the Mount, spoke to a class taught by Catherine Rehfus-Wilsek, associate professor of Healthcare Management.
Unconscious (or implicit) biases are social stereotypes that might unconsciously impact a person's decision making, noted Maughan. These unconscious biases may have unintentional consequences for ourselves and others.
"As you graduate college and go into the workforce, you will absolutely encounter the fact that you have some unconscious bias," he said. "We have all been in situations...where we've made a snap judgment or a snap decision because of what we saw with our eyes first."
What can be done to manage one's own unconscious biases? Maughan had three suggestions:
- Be open: Don't let one great or one negative experience sway your opinion forever.
- Look at all evidence objectively: Play your own devil's advocate and seek out contradictory views.
- Slow down your thinking: Ask questions and bring in other perspectives to expand your point of view.
"The only way you're ever going to figure unconscious bias out is to stop in the moment and ask yourself what is driving you to make the current decision," said Maughan. "Are you making a decision based on marginalizing some population? Did you give a fair shot to the people you just made a decision about?"
Maughan's nursing and leadership career spans more than 30 years, mainly within the hospital setting as a nurse, nurse practitioner, and healthcare leader.