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Why Diversity Training Doesn’t Work and How to Overcome Unconscious Bias – Prof Iris Bohnet

Iris Bohnet changed the game with her best selling book What Works. In this episode she shared practical tactics and processes that corporations and women in corporations can use.

Diversity training does not work. So what do we do to overcome unconscious biases that keep women out of leadership roles across society? We have to change everyday processes in order to circumvent bias. Simple steps – big impact.

Bosslady Iris Bohnet is Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and is the Director of the Women & Public Policy Program at Harvard University. A behavioral economist, she has literally written the book on de-biasing how we live, learn and work. What Works: Gender Equality By Design, a 2016 Financial Times Best Business Book of the Year and 800-CEO Business Book of the Year, provides decision-makers with scientific insights on how to redesign organizations, school and society.

During our conversation, Professor Bohnet deconstructed the unique challenges that women face in the corporate world and talked about process improvements that have been proven to yield positive results. She also gave tactical advice on how to communicate in a way that acknowledges and overcomes unconcious biases.

Whether you are a female employee trying to understand the world around you or a CEO serious about gender equality, this episode has some gems for you.

Read the Transcript

Note: While When Women Win is produced as an audio recording, we are delighted to produce transcripts for those who are unable to hear. Kindly note that these are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Media is encouraged to check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Rana Nawas:      Hello, welcome to the first episode of When Women Win, a podcast where I interview boss ladies from all walks of life to discover their journey, the challenges they face, and how they overcame them. We’ll also deconstruct the tools and strategies they used in a clear and simple way so that you yourself can use them to advance your career and live a happier, more successful, more fulfilled life. This episode is about improving gender equality in the workplace by using simple intelligent design tools. These are captured in a game-changing book called What Works. A book that the Financial Times ranked one of the best business books of 2016. The author of What Works is Professor Iris Bohnet at Harvard University. She’s Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and serves as the Director of the Women & Public Policy Program. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Iris. We delve into the science of gender inequality and crystallize key tools that you can apply to your organization immediately. So whether you’re a female employee, an HR Manager or a CEO, this episode has some gems for you. Okay, let’s get into it.

Rana Nawas:      I’m honored and delighted to have with me on today’s podcast, the author of the game-changing book, What Works, Professor Bohnet at Harvard University. Thank you so much for generously giving us your time today.

Iris Bohnet:        My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Rana Nawas:      So first question, because I’ve been agonizing over this all day. Is it [your name pronounced] Ee-ris or Eye-ris?

Iris Bohnet:        It’s Ee-ris.

Rana Nawas:      Perfect, okay. So Iris, how did you get started on the topic of gender equality? I mean, what sparked your passion?

Iris Bohnet:        Yeah, that’s actually a very good question. I think I’ve been a feminist in my heart for a very long time, but I first was a behavioral economist studying how people make decisions and helping people make better decisions: people, organizations, society make better decisions, and then, actually relatively late in my career, I mean 10 years, so to speak, in my academic career, it then dawned on me that I could use some of those very same insights, same tools to help us overcome unconscious bias that keeps us back from gender equality, but also more generally, from diversity and inclusion. So it really is the behavioral economics angle that lends itself, and the toolbox that I had available, that lends itself to being applied to the question of gender quality.

Rana Nawas:      Okay. Now you mentioned that you’ve been a feminist for a long time. My question is how do you continue this really important work without being perceived by academics or business people as an angry feminist?

Iris Bohnet:        Honestly, I have never encountered that. I think it really helps to be evidence-based. So I’m also a little bit of a mission here to bring rigor to bear on questions of human resource management, people management more generally, the kind of rigor that we have been applying in finance departments and even in our marketing departments where we measure everything and try to understand which product, which color, which shape that appeals to certain people. I’m arguing that we should use the same kind of scrutiny, the same kind rigor when we think about people. And normally that goes over well because I have a lot of data to support my arguments and CEO’s and leaders in government and in non-for-profits kind of listen.

Rana Nawas:      Thank you. So let’s get into the meat of What Works. There’s a statement you make in the middle of the book, which I found really powerful, which goes, “firms want all their employees to play their best game, but men and women do not necessarily thrive under the same conditions”. What do you mean by this? I mean, we know that corporates were built by men for men, but where does this breakdown for women in the workplace?

Iris Bohnet:        So it turns out that certain jobs, but also certain acts or behavior in our mind, are associated with men or with women. So for example, it turns out that ‘leader’, in our minds, still is associated with men, and women will have a harder time a climbing up the career ladder.

Rana Nawas:      Sorry. And that’s in the minds of men and women, right?

Iris Bohnet:        In the minds of men AND women. Yes. So in fact, seeing really is believing. So it’s a very, very good question. It’s also a bit of a myth, kind of to think that women are less biased or men are less biased against men or whatever it might be. But no, if men do not see male nurses or male kindergarten teachers, they do not naturally associate those jobs with men, and the same is true for women, and of course the reverse is also true if you do not see women as CEO’s or leaders or experts or engineers, we, and that’s men and women, do not associate those jobs with women. And that’s the kind of what women have to deal with who want to climb up the career ladder, whether it’s the private sector or the public sector because we do not naturally associate leadership, assertiveness, vision and ambition with women. And so that motivated the sentence that you just quoted from my book in that, we have to change the workplace so that the workplace becomes inclusive of everyone.

Rana Nawas:      Yes. So role models are key.

Iris Bohnet:        Role models are key. Obviously it’d be great if you had role models for everything, but I also want to let your listeners know that it doesn’t only have to be real people in the flesh so to speak, but even the portraits on our walls can make a difference because the portraits on our walls remind us of what kind of environment this is. Is it the kind of place where somebody like me could thrive?

Rana Nawas:      Well, a conversation I’ve had with family and friends often ends up with them saying, Rana you’re seeing this is in your head. There isn’t a problem here. So for example, a 30-year-male banker is convinced that women have the same promotion opportunities that he does at his global bank. A thirty five year old male lawyer is convinced that women and men are paid the same in law because he believes it’s very rigidly defined, the bands depending on qualification. And a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom I know very well, thinks I’m being a bit crazy when I say that these story books we read like Sleeping Beauty and Snow White are terrible for our children because of the limiting beliefs they place in the minds of both boys and girls about what women should be – and never mind the fact that you have men kissing sleeping women without consent. So we’ll put that aside entirely, but these people are really close to me, how do you bring them along?

Iris Bohnet:        So I normally use kind of two approaches. One is a very personal approach. So for example, we’ve also found that fathers of daughters in fact care much more about gender equality because they can see, they can experience it, that their own daughters are not given the same opportunities. So sometimes that can be an opening depending again of whether somebody has a daughter or has a sister or has a mother who might have had these experiences. So ideally you bring people along with something personal. I’m going to give you a different strategy in a moment, but that will be my first suggestion. And I often also try to broaden the topic a little bit so that everyone could imagine that they could in fact be the victim of bias because bias has in fact nothing to do with gender. It has something to do with who we see in certain types of positions, but also the kinds of behaviors that we associate with people.

Iris Bohnet:        So, you know, people, for example, prefer taller men to shorter men. So when I talked to the short men, I can tell him, look, here are implicit bias tests that show that people like you will make less money than taller people. There’s very real research on that. And then of course there’s bias against people of certain body shapes of certain religions, certain nationalities, certain cultures, certain races. So it can be very powerful if you can make it personal, but we can’t always make it personal. So therefore, let me tell you kind of the second approach when people who say that there is no gender gap and promotions and then we just have to let the data speak. And then. So actually I’ve just worked with a number of law firms because you mentioned law firms and I have not found one law firm so far where there was not a gender gap in promotion. And the interesting thing is that it often doesn’t start with the process of promotion like in year eight where you are reviewed for partnership. But it really turns out it starts at year one where the senior partners often typically white men, and now of course I’m speaking from the United States, choose first year associates to be a part of their teams. And then these white men choose people who look like them. And ideally they choose people or, you know, young men who do not only look like them, but who also went to the same law school, so we found the same pattern that, you know, somebody from Yale law school will choose somebody from Yale law school who looks exactly like him. So we call this performance ‘support bias’ that some people aren’t actually given the support to perform or to succeed in life the same way as others. So you know, data I think can be helpful, kind of just tell people, look, I wish the world was the way you describe it, but sadly enough we have enough empirical evidence and good research showing that most firms have promotion gaps and most firms have gender gaps in pay as well.

Rana Nawas:      So the thesis of the book, and please correct me if I’m wrong, is that gender bias, I mean all biases, but I’m going to hone in on specifically gender bias in the workplace, but gender bias is deeply entrenched. So social norms have been drilled into our brains for generations and these views are extremely difficult to get rid of. So you argue that instead of spending billions of dollars each year on ineffective diversity training and companies would be better off diverting some of those resources to improving process design. Where’s the low-hanging fruit in process redesign?

Iris Bohnet:        So very low-hanging fruit are in fact a job advertisements because there often, inadvertently mostly we use language that is associated more with women or more with men. So let me give you an example of a school that was trying to attract more male teachers and they sent me the job ad and the job ad had words such as supportive, warm, caring, collaborative in the job ad. And it turns out that we now have algorithms which are able to predict the likelihood that women and men will apply to job ad like that. And we can say that with words that in our minds are associated with women, we systematically decreased chances that men will apply. So what we do quite literally debias job ads. We either take out those words or we counterbalance the words with words that are associated with the opposite sex.

Iris Bohnet:        So to give you an example, we talked about leaders before and in our mind ‘leader’ is still associated with men. So we can add, for example, team leader that we’re looking for a team leader because team is associated with women, but leader is associated with men. So we now counterbalanced something that is very male in our minds. That’s super low-hanging fruit, but there’s other things we can do. Maybe let me go to the other spectrum of the career path and talk about performance appraisals where we have found something quite surprising, in fact, in that many companies and also governments ask their employees to self-evaluate themselves before their managers evaluate them and not only do employees self-evaluate themselves, but they also are asked to share their self-evaluations with their managers. And if those self-evaluations, for example, include a numerical ranking. Let’s say I have to evaluate you from 1 to 10 and I’m going to give you, let’s say an 8 out of 10, but you give yourself a 5.

Iris Bohnet:        Then I’m very tempted to downgrade my ranking of you, but you know, your male colleague might have given himself a 9 or a 10 and I would also have given him an 8. And now I’m tempted to go with his evaluation because often I have a curve to fit, maybe you have an aide, an average that I have to fit, but I’m influenced by how you rated yourself. We call this the anchoring bias where quite literally you throw an anchor at me and that anchors my thinking. So that’s also actually very low-hanging fruit where companies should just discontinue sharing self-evaluations because it perpetuates this vicious circle, where people who are less self-confident and also by the way people from different parts of the world. We found huge cross-cultural differences because in some regions of the world particularly in Asia for example, it is not acceptable to boast, speak very highly of yourself, in contrast to much of the Western world in particular the United States where, you know my kids already learned in first grade to shine the light on themselves. So we found it both cross-cultural but as also gender differences.

Rana Nawas:      And is it a fact that men tend to overrate themselves and women tend to underrate them?

Iris Bohnet:        Yes, absolutely. Because, more generally, we find that men tend to be what we call overconfident. So more confident than what, for example, their poor performance would suggest. And women tend to be under-confident, so they are more skeptical than what their objective performance actually would suggest.

Rana Nawas:      Thank you. Another point I found fascinating in the book is that diversity including gender diversity pays, but only if teams are diverse enough. So could you please speak to this critical mass effect?

Iris Bohnet:        Yes, absolutely. So a very big question, of course for governments and companies is this question of the business case, right? Is there a business case in having more diversity in your organization? And there are basically two answers to that question. The first one is just adding one or two who are different is not going to do the trick because typically in particular, if you’re the only one you are taken for a token. And what we expect from tokens is that they represent the group that they belong to. So, you know, talking to you, I might not take you for your expertise as a journalist or an economist or an engineer or whatever you might be, but I might ask you about, so how do women in Dubai feel about this or in the Emirates or you know, in the Gulf region? And so I diminish you basically to one of your characteristics, but then there are many of course that, that you have and you might want to be in the room for your expertise and not for your demographic characteristics.

Iris Bohnet:        So that’s Tokenism. So one woman or one man or you know, one Swiss in a group of all Americans, is not really going to make a difference. Critical mass means that we have to have roughly a third of a group shared characteristics. And so you know, roughly 30 percent, 33 percent women for example, in the boardroom, let’s say that is mostly composed of men, but the numbers are really important. No question. But in addition to numbers, I think it’s important that your listeners know that we also have to change behaviors. So it’s also how we conduct our meetings, how we organize our teams, whether we allow for sexist language, or racist language to be used. Whether we interrupt each other, whether we do not give credit to people’s comments, but only to the person who is highest up in hierarchy, or to men for example, so it’s about, it’s numbers but it’s also our conduct.

Rana Nawas:      And something that a lot of women I know struggle with is this competence versus likeability choice. And you mentioned this in your book and you also mentioned that it was tackled in Lean In and others. How do we deal with this on a daily basis? Because if this is a fact, it’s very disturbing. It implies that we all have to make this choice.

Iris Bohnet:        It is very disturbing. So maybe let me first give an example of how this can play out. So in the book I talk about Heidi Roizen, who is a real person, a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, and there is a case study about her. So many of your listeners will probably have gone to a graduate school at sometime and have been confronted with these cases where we describe how somebody, for example, ran a business or built enterprises, invested, etc. And that’s exactly the case for Heidi as well. So she’s a venture capitalist, very successful, has built her enterprises and their networks etc. So then a few years after this case was written, some colleagues of ours replaced Heidi’s name with Howard and what we now do is we give half of our students, for example, to Harvard Business School, 400 kids get the case with the protagonist being called Heidi and 400 of the students get the same case with protagonist being called Howard. They prepare for class, but they also fill out a survey at the end which asks them to evaluate how well Heidi and Howard did, both in terms of performance, but also in terms of likeability. So the questions are, for example, would you hire Heidi or Howard? Would you work with them, etc. And sadly, what we find time and again is that male and female students agree that both Heidi and Howard did a great job. So their performance is great, but we do not like Heidi. That’s the competence / likeability dilemma where we stumble upon the fact that Heidi neither conforms to our stereotypes of what a typical venture capitalist looks like, nor to our stereotypes of what a good woman does and that’s why women experienced sometimes what we also called warmth versus competence where being competent and successful kind of undermines my perceptions of your work. So just to describe the phenomenon, it is indeed a really difficult one to overcome so I can’t say I have an easy solution out. You mentioned Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In and there definitely is research by my colleague Hannah Riley Bowles here at Harvard who does show that women kind of have to be both, and that’s hard, kind of have to be competent but also be likeable hence to get the job. And, when I you’re I’m in a teach negotiations for example that will always make me very uncomfortable because I obviously have to tell my students truth and have to let evidence speak but I basically have to tell my female students that they have to kind of, you know, as they are trying to negotiate for a higher salary, they have to keep that in mind and they have to use more inclusive language.

Iris Bohnet:        So Sheryl talks about the ‘We’ language, where this is not about me, this is not perceived as being very egoistic, it is not perceived as being very assertive, but where I might say no, we as a company could really benefit from people who are also strong negotiators and therefore, I’m actually using some of those tools right now and I’m sure you can understand that I am because I honestly believe they’re good for our company and I think I am, and there’s actually a skill that I have and I’d like to use it now to argue that I should be paid on par, you know with my male colleagues for example, this was just me kind of, you know, describing to our listeners what such a negotiation might look like, and also should add that when I got my first job at Harvard as an assistant professor, I did not negotiate at all. I accepted the offer as it was.

Iris Bohnet:        And you know, later I learned that that was not a very smart strategy. But I also fell into this trap of fearing that if I negotiate it, they wouldn’t like me. I corrected that and that’s why I have to mention it. I corrected that when I was promoted to tenure as a full professorship and I used a different strategy and I have no research to support that this is generalizable. But I’m happy to share what I did. I talked about the research. I basically negotiated with the Dean and said: “look, you probably are aware of all the evidence that says that it’s hard for women to negotiate and that if they do, they will experience backlash and you might not like me if I ask for higher salary, but I know you’re not the kind of person who would do that. So I just want to let you know. So therefore I would like to have a discussion the way you would have that discussion with the men. Because clearly neither you nor I want to be biased.” And I can tell you that in my case it worked because later I became the Academic Dean. So I was in that role and you know, knew all of the salaries. So it worked fine for me. So depending on who you’re negotiating with, you might actually be very transparent about dilemma.

Rana Nawas:      Okay. So it’s not okay maybe to say “I’m okay with not being liked” – that might bite you, because that was, if I had to make a choice between competence and likeability, I would go with competence. But I hear you, right, there might be repercussions down the road. I was going to ask you about this backlash against women for negotiating. So I found it astonishing that women’s instinct to not negotiate is a fair one because by defying the social norms, they actually get penalized for negotiating, whereas men get rewarded. And so what you’re talking about is a strategy to take away that stigma, isn’t it? It’s prefacing. And I think Sheryl Sandberg did this too. She said: look, I want to tell you – the research says that women are consistently underpaid. So let’s talk about it and maybe preface the discussion. Is that one way?

Iris Bohnet:        I think. I think that’s right. Um, uh, you know, the way I described it as well, kind of putting the research out there is one way, I mean, by the way, you said before, if you have to choose, you know, I would obviously choose competence as well. And I am not suggesting that everyone has to be liked, in that, you know, we women might also have to learn that respect might be more important than likeability. That’s an interesting research area as well for people kind of to understand why is likeability, why does it appear to be more important to women than to men and is there a place for women to grow out of this as well. So I do think that’s something for us to absolutely consider but I mean as you know my work focuses more on redesigning the workplace so that women could be whatever and whoever they are.

Iris Bohnet:        So in that negotiation realm, it is tough, you know, the research is quite strong and quite discouraging that women do experience that kind of backlash. I do think there’s something that women and men as well can do for each other. So there’s not every negotiation you have to do on your own. So there’s also research showing that when women negotiate on behalf of somebody else, backlash goes away. Why? Because as an attorney representing my client, I can be a lioness in the courtroom, right. And still be liked, because now I have actually two roles to play. I am the caring representative of another person, who cares for another person, so that conforms with our stereotypes of a woman. But on behalf of that other person, I can go into the fight and negotiate as tough as I possibly can. So that’s another strategy for women to a. For themselves, to remind themselves why they ask for this.

Iris Bohnet:        It often is not just for themselves, for their families, for the parents, for you know, for bigger causes. And that can give women also a boost and that’s also strategy they can use in the negotiation talk and kind of explain why they’re asking. But we can do some of the asking for each other. For example, in meetings, I sometimes call this a micro-sponsorship, we can start being sponsors for each other. And even though, you might not be able to ask for yourself, I can. So I can, or you can ask for me or I can build on what you just said and I can say, you know, as Rana just said a really interesting point and I think we should really pursue this further, etc. So I think we also, knowing some of this research and some of the backlash that women experience when they are assertive, can help each other .

Rana Nawas:      In meetings where women support each other’s view or amplify it. Right? That’s a strategy that I think they came up with in the White House, which seems to work really, really well. How practical is it in a workplace? So if I’m negotiating my salary with a multinational, have you seen it where I can turn to the HR Director and say, actually, I’m going to get someone else to negotiate on my behalf. Does that really happen?

Iris Bohnet:        I don’t think that happens the way you just described it, but what does happen is that you might talk to your supervisor and kind of say, you know, I’m ready for a move and you know here’s what I think about an alternative, whether that’s promotion or a leadership development program or salary raise, and she or he then can take this to the boss and negotiate on your behalf. So it doesn’t happen in the moment, so it doesn’t happen, you know, that you are reviewed as a candidate applying for a job, that’s not when it happens. But internally, it can very much happen – it happens all the time that people negotiate on behalf of somebody else.

Rana Nawas:      A great way to leverage your sponsor.

Iris Bohnet:        Yes, exactly. No, that’s right.

Rana Nawas:      If we talk about the pay gap that we mentioned earlier, this is very near and dear to my heart, the gender pay gap. So I’ve had this conversation with HR where I said I have reliable information that I’m underpaid relative to my male colleagues doing the exact same job and HR’s response is, well, I can’t discuss other people’s salary and in our contracts, a lot of our contracts, we’re not allowed to discuss our salary with our colleagues. So you get shut right down. I mean, what’s the way forward here?

Iris Bohnet:        So certainly legislation can help. So Massachusetts in fact has just adopted interesting legislation to combat some of the issues that you’ve just talked about. So first of all, it’s no longer illegal for employees to talk to each other to disclose their salary and I agree with you, that will make a big difference, but it’s also happening, in fact you know, even before Massachusetts introduced this law, the internet companies such as Glassdoor and others provide a lot of these information so people can disclose their salary and say, you know, I’ve just been hired by Harvard as a professor of economics and here’s, you know, I’ve had eight years of work experience, etc. So I could do that. I could post my information on that webpage. And it is, there’s lots and lots of salary information, for example, on the webpage of Glassdoor.

Iris Bohnet:        And there are a number of other places which collect that kind of information. So I think it’s happening even before the law was introduced, but the law certainly helped. But the law has two more interesting features in Massachusetts. One is that now, starting next year, employers will no longer be allowed to ask you for how much you made in your previous job. And that’s super helpful. And that’s actually quite quick, quite directly related to our work. So we played a bit of a role in designing that law because we found that of course in the first job you’re set up by being paid yet, let’s say a thousand dollars less than your male colleagues, that accumulates over time to a lot of money in every job you know, you’ll be paid. The next one, you will be paid $5,000 less and the next one, $10,000 eventually it is going to be $100,000. So not having to disclose that is one way to break this vicious circle where bias just accumulates over time. That’s the second part of the law that I’m excited about. The third one is requiring companies to do gender audits and eventually you know, that’s really the place to go, that companies will have to disclose whether they have any gender gaps in pay.

Rana Nawas:      Yeah. It’s happening now, isn’t it with Google?

Iris Bohnet:        It is happening now. Yes, it’s happening now in both Google, in Silicon Valley, but you know honestly, in many different companies and companies often are surprised what they find when they dig a little deeper. So one research study that I talk about in the book, I think ww home for me where two brokerage houses, two very big financial and brokerage houses in the United States had to fight discrimination lawsuit and therefore an academic, not myself, was brought in to look at the data and she found in fact that these brokers, male and female brokers were, paid differently, but the women were actually performing less well. So initially it felt like, okay, that’s just pay for performance. So if women perform less, they get less. But then she dug deeper and she found that women were given worse performing accounts to start with, so they never even had an opportunity to perform as well as their male colleagues. So yes, we have to dig deep to understand is the pay/pick in equity and if so where does it come from?

Rana Nawas:      Okay. Right Iris, I’m not going to take up too much more of your time. Just two more questions if I could. Most influential book and why?

Iris Bohnet:        I mean, let me stay with this theme of our conversation. And there are many influential books in my life, but Daniel Kahneman, who is one of the founders of the field of behavioral science that I’m part of, has written a book that is called “Thinking Fast and Slow” and it really is an amazing overview of the whole field of the heuristics and biases, why people aren’t as rational as economists, for example, used to think. Why we make those mistakes. It’s just an amazing book that summarizes my whole kind of academic background in a way. So that’s why it is a very strong book. I’m going to add though a second one because the first one might be a bit heavy for many of your listeners, but there’s another book that I really like, which is called “Nudge” by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler, which is more applied, which talks about how these insights can be used as part of anyone’s toolbox to promote behavior change, whether this is about healthcare or education, financial decision-making, lots of different applications so that is the book I would very highly recommend, called Nudge.

Rana Nawas:      Thank you. Well, I would very highly recommend and I’m going to buy your book and give that to every HR Director I’ve ever met. That’s my most influential book. Finally, what do people never ask you that you wish they would?

Iris Bohnet:        You ask me really difficult questions. I do think that before my book was out, What Works: Gender Equality by Design was out, most people asked me questions about what women can do and asked me, so how can we negotiate more, whether and how can we lead more effectively and how should I dress and how should I do this and that. And these are important questions. I completely understand, but people did not ask me enough about what organizations can do and I do think that’s just such an important message that people understand we cannot put this on the shoulders of traditionally excluded groups, that’s not just women, you know, might also be people of color, people of certain countries, so people have certain social economic backgrounds, we cannot just ask them or just fix them and then there’ll be fit for the world. The world is not fit for them and I wish that many more people would ask me questions about how to fix the world and not how to fix the people.

Rana Nawas:      Right, because you have to fix the system from the inside.

Iris Bohnet:        That’s right.

Rana Nawas:      The people excluded from the system can’t fix it.

Iris Bohnet:        That’s exactly right.

Rana Nawas:      It’s very logical when you think about it, but yeah, I hear you. Well, thank you so much. I mean I, on the subject of performance reviews, I don’t know if it’s because I did the negotiations course with Max Bazerman.

Iris Bohnet:        Ah, good for you.

Rana Nawas:      Yeah. I really enjoyed it. And you referred to him a lot In the book and it was very funny for me because it changed my life. Really, that course was very powerful. So ever since then I rate myself as exceptional on every category in our self-appraisals. And it works. It really works. And talk about What Works, self-promotion works.

Iris Bohnet:        You might actually be exceptional, you know, it also helps them if you actually walk the talk. But yes. And I think that’s a great strategy and I will tell Max that you’re still using his insights. That’s wonderful.

Rana Nawas:      Please do. Please do. And how Iris, if people want to reach you, how best can they do that?

Iris Bohnet:        By email would be best. And that’s

Rana Nawas:      Thank you. And are you on social media at all?

Iris Bohnet:        I’m not a very heavy on social media, but my research center, the center that I direct is on social media and that’s WAPPP that’s the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School. But if people will go, you know What Works right now, What Works is also on social media, so the book is on social media, but if people just google What Works, they’ll find me.

Rana Nawas:      Yeah. Well I did. So that’s great. It works. It all works Iris, everything around you works.

Iris Bohnet:        Well, You’re too kind, but thank you very much. This was a pleasure talking to you and I’m delighted that you’re taking this on and moving the field in the Emirates and more generally in the Region.

Rana Nawas:      Thank you so much. Really. Thank you for being so generous with your time and hopefully I’ll get to repay the favor when you’re in Dubai in November.

Iris Bohnet:        Fantastic. Nice talking to you, Rana. Bye Bye.

Rana Nawas:      And you. Thank you. Bye. Bye.

Rana Nawas:      I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. You can check out show notes and more episodes at or search: When Women Win on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. I’d also love to hear your feedback and ideas for who I should bring on the show. You can find me on instagram @RanaNawas. Thanks and have a great day!



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