“The danger of stereotypes is not that they may be true but rather that they’re always incomplete. They make one story the only story.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Close your eyes. Picture an African-American woman. What are the first associations that you make? What do you assume about her? Now, picture a white woman. Next, a black man. A gay man. A Mexican immigrant. A progressive. A conservative. What you associate with these thoughts is intimately tied to your own experiences and your own identity. What we assume about others is born from our conscious and unconscious biases. Our brains…


I’ve been thinking about pronouns lately. I must say, I’ve spent most of my life not thinking that much about pronouns. One of the more contentious conversations I’ve had with both coaching and consulting clients has been around the use of pronouns, or rather with the practice and sharing and asking what people’s pronouns are.

Let me back up. I am a white, middle-aged, cisgender man happily living in a mixed-race family where questions come up all the time that make me check the norms I was raised in. Including the norms of two genders and his/her pronouns.

When this…


6 Key Lessons to Help Us Emerge Stronger in the Workplace & Beyond

While there are wildly diverse perceptions of truth, it seems that life, as we once knew it, is forever changed. Humans are collectively living through a global pandemic, living history and trying to make sense of it in real-time: Its impact on our personal lives. Our social lives. Our institutions. The Coronavirus is affecting everyone. Even those that want to turn a blind eye or deny its existence are not immune to its impact. There is no returning to “business as usual.” As we enter this brave new world, we must remember that the viral war can only be won…


You’re here because you are interested in bias and how it impacts your organization, how it is showing up in interactions, policies and decision-making, and how it is blocking innovation and growth. Leading that conversation yourself might feel overwhelming, maybe even contentious. It might get uncomfortable to talk about bias. Some may get defensive. Your mind may begin to seek justifications for avoidance. Our brains are very good at serving up reasons to postpone or punt tough conversations allowing us to remain complicit in silence.

But taking an in-depth look at bias has tremendous upside. Doing this work holds the…


The Year Without a Santa Claus, an animated short from 1974 (currently available online), has truly weathered the test of time. The title alone is a nearly perfect capstone for 2020.

As I watched it with my 11-year old daughter, my curiosity was sparked when she said couldn’t stop seeing Snow Miser as Joe Biden and Heat Miser as Donald Trump. (At this point feel free to take a moment to click on the Snow Miser and/or Heat Miser song either for context or, if you are a child of the 70’s/80’s, for nostalgia.) …


In our current state of unpredictability and precarious risk, we can state for certain that there is still a human need to connect. This is driving people to explore new and innovative ways to meet with each other online. While new products, technologies, and tools continue to evolve, so are the meeting protocols and new norms. Every virtual meeting is an opportunity to connect. Emotionally. Intellectually. Interpersonally.

You’ve learned through our Definitive Guide to Hosting Kickass Virtual Meetings, how to host your best virtual meeting. But what about when you need something more, like team building activities or icebreakers for…


One of my family’s favorite pre-COVID Saturday morning rituals was to go to the Bernal Heights Farmers Market in San Francisco, CA. I can still see my wife picking up vegetables, teaching our son and daughter how to choose the best ones. We sampled fresh fruits & veggies. It was crowded but vibrant with a joyous community full of laughter. More than half a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, I miss this and other collective, community gatherings and experiences. Both love and nostalgia are central to understanding proximity bias in a pandemic.

Think for a moment how proximity impacts who…


I am a white, heterosexual, cisgender, middle-aged man born in the United States. I want you to know how I identify and the perspective I’m coming from because context matters and these dimensions of diversity are sometimes taken for granted. I remember bristling when first acknowledging my whiteness. I remember not understanding what cisgender means and then thinking “why are people stating the obvious?” I include reflections such as these in this article and refer to them as “White Insights.”


Bias & virus and Zoom…oh my! Bias & virus and Zoom…oh my! In some ways, this pandemic experience feels like a replay of the Wizard of Oz. There are many parallels between a tornado whisking Dorothy away to a strange land called Oz and the current world we find ourselves in. While a yellow-brick road may not be readily accessible, we can start to perceive a path unfolding in front of us. Unfortunately, it’s riddled with cognitive biases that aren’t serving us well.

As reported in Deloitte’s 2016 article on the topic, bias in all its forms — cognitive, social…


Eight seconds — that’s the attention span of an average person, according to some experts. What do we do with those 8 seconds? What “grabs” our attention and ultimately shapes our day-to-day decisions?

Coronavirus.

For the past few months, and especially in the past two weeks, our collective attention has been consumed by the coronavirus, aka COVID-19.

Hysteria — drinking Corona beer can give you coronavirus, for example — is spreading faster than the virus itself. I appreciate the shift in many headlines and media stories that refer to it as “COVID-19” as this appears to strike the right balance…

Matthew J Cahill

Disrupting biases that impact company performance. Public Speaking | Workshops | Consulting | Coaching

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