The Danish word for bias is forudindtagethed – which to me is slightly less negative than the English definition of the word:
Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.Oxford Languages
In Danish, we lean more towards the inclination than the prejudice end of the spectrum on the word bias, I’d say.
But, what does it mean?
Forud can be considered “ahead of time”, while indtagethed here is an opinion or a vantage point. So, our word is about having taken a certain position ahead of time.
Not too far from the way “bias” is understood when it comes to decision making.
And relevant, as the word itself shows us where the problem lies: we have, ahead of time, taken a given position or opinion on a given matter.
We don’t consider a situation purely on it’s own merits, we evaluate it with all the experience we have amassed on our journey through life.
Our assessment of a situation is flavoured. We understand it based on what we have seen, done, and been part of before.
That’s important. We are learning beings, so we have to carry our experience with us forward in life.
We also have to look ahead. We cannot live life through the rear-view mirror.
When we flavour our view, based on past experience, we risk missing out on important things!
As you face a change initiative in your organization, make sure to get challenged on old habits and biases. Seek assistance in opening your eyes for other views than strictly backwards or forward-looking, to ask the questions you didn’t know that you should be asking each other.
As early as possible – that’s the best time to discov-er new angles on a situation or discover your oversights. That way, you can incorporate them into the change and increase the value you create.