Opening minds to diversity

We’re continuing our long term behavioural change programme “Open Mind”. This focuses on tackling the unconscious bias that limits our ability to build an inclusive workplace; providing a reminder of the business case for diversity and supports our business leaders in setting local metrics to measure the impact of the actions we take.


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We fade up on an open-plan office interior. It’s the start of the day – some people arriving, others settling in - lots of movement overall.

The camera tracks along to find Claire, early-30s, getting some things together - papers, a laptop etc - at her desk with a nervous, high energy. Today she’s conducting her first one to one and it’s causing some stress for her.

In her rush, she drops something.

She turns and walks down the corridor as we follow. Someone passing sees her.

We hear Claire’s inner voice.

Claire's inner voice, nervous: My first one to one. I’d better not mess it up.

A passing colleague to Claire Hey – hope it goes well.

Claire: Thanks.

She’s still rushing along, stressed. Suddenly, the action transitions in an instant to super slow-motion, where we ‘stop time’. The sounds of the office environment become a little other-worldly – bits of conversation, a clock ticking, a photocopier, etc. Over this, we hear our light, conversationally pitched voiceover.

Claire's inner voice: I should make him realise I know what I’m talking about.

Voice over:What if you could slow things down for a moment? Take time to rethink your approach. You could be more curious, and focus on getting to know him better. Back in real time, Claire continues down the corridor, and spots Tony, an older man, having a laugh with a guy in his 20s, just outside a meeting room. Claire extends her hand confidently to the younger one.

Claire: Hi Tony – I’m Claire. Ready for your one to one? The younger colleague doesn’t shake her hand.

Younger colleague, indicating Tony: Sorry, this is Tony.

Tony and Claire both stop in surprise and stare at each other.

TIME ‘STOPS’. We are still on Claire and Tony as we hear their voices.

Claire's inner voice: Well, that was embarrassing – but he is older than I was expecting.

Tony's inner voice: Great. I’m in the hands of a novice

Voice over Isn’t it better if you don’t make assumptions about the other person?

Tony's inner voice Well … I guess that doesn’t mean she won’t be good at this.

Back in REAL TIME, Tony and Claire smile, having accepted each other a little more.

Claire, inviting him into the meeting room Okay - shall we get started?

Claire lets Tony enter first, then quickly follows. In her nervousness, she starts up before either of them has sat down.

Claire So, Tony, before I joined, you’d set some objectives

Tony is unsettled by this hard start and stops halfway to sitting down

Tony Yes?

TIME ‘STOPS’ as we see Claire.

Voice over: You want to have an productive conversation. So how can you create the right environment for that?

Claire's inner voice Right, Claire – don’t rush this.

Back in REAL TIME.

Claire Sorry, I’ve not even given you a chance to sit down.

Tony sits in his chair but winces in pain as he does.

Claire Are you alright?

Tony My first freefall skydive at the weekend. Bit of a heavy landing.


Claire's inner voice: Jumping out of a plane for fun? Why would anyone want to do that?

Voice over: Why would you expect him to like the same things that you do? Try being more open minded – you might learn something.

Back in REAL TIME.

Claire: Skydiving? That’s interesting. What’s that like?

Tony Do you know what? I really love it.

A dip to black takes us to later in the meeting.

Claire: So looking ahead, what do you think you need to do to address your development needs?

Tony looks worried.

TIME ‘STOPS’ as Tony thinks.

Tony's inner voice: I hate these questions. I don’t know - what are my development needs? What does she want me to say?

Voice over: Take a moment: how can you be yourself and say what you really feel?

Back in REAL TIME.

Tony: If I’m honest, I’m not sure how to answer that. I might need to talk that one through a bit.

Claire: Of course, you’re right, let’s just talk it through - we’ve got the time. What if we turn it around: how do you think you’ve been playing to your strengths?

She sits back comfortably, ready for a relaxed, longer chat.

He looks visibly more relaxed as well, perhaps a slight smile as he starts to open up.

Tony: Alright, well ….

The image goes out of focus - action continues with Tony and Claire happily talking.

Voice over: We can’t really control time, but we can take a moment to be curious, check our assumptions and value difference. Whatever the relationship or conversation, challenge yourself. How open minded are you?

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Sarah Churchman

Sarah Churchman

OBE, Chief Inclusion, Community & Wellbeing Officer

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