Working with Prejudice

The trouble with prejudice is all of us suffer from it. In this article, I'm going to tackle prejudice from just one angle and that is bias in relation to the way we perceive PERFORMANCE and PERFORMERS.


These are relevant measures in a business or industrial setting.

The first thing we have to understand, as senior leaders of a corporation, is we have biases. These are filters we all wear that colour our perception of events and objects in a world that is scientifically proven to actually be black and white.

Meaning what you see is what you get. When we add colour to a picture, we will make it harder than it needs to be to undertake and of necessary, act on.

I don't believe it is useful or even possible to change people's prejudices or biases overnight.



But what is useful and what is possible is to understand them and work around them. To do so, we need some research.

Effective research always studies attitudes because they define behaviour whether we like it or not.

Condescending attitudes cause friction - and frequently when they are addressed - the friction in a relationship is also addressed - and automatically.


But before we address biases we have to understand them. What I've found most useful in doing is running surveys based on attitudinal statements that the individual can either agree or disagree with.

The art of research is to make these statements as simple and easy to understand as possible.

The surveys that are usually written by statisticians? They confuse and irritate people. Never do them. Not only do they "not" work - they also alienate you from your prospects and your customers who are usually the people you research.

Say I want to understand what a PERFORMER looks like to for example the Head of a Department. After the warm up questions - the key question would be written in the following style:-




Statement: To me, a performer is:

Quiet Noisy Fun Outgoing Gregarious Serious

Contemplative Non contemplative A doer A thinker An actor

This will tell me what my audience thinks at which point I can set my objective as being to change their perceptions or to go with it.

Without an insight, you can't have an objective and if you don't have an objective, you don't have a strategy. And you will have nothing to evaluate your work or your success against.

There is no right or wring answer in research. The goal is to understand that it is NEVER to test you

People are angered by tests and therefore these should never enter the realm of research.

Would you like to understand your customers, your shareholders or your vendors or agencies? Then please contact us today.


We service Malaysia, Singapore and Sydney Australia. Our goal is Actionable. Our approach is SIMPLE. Our outcome IS EFFECTIVE #research



By Patrick

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