Cleveland Clinic Unconscious Bias


Cleveland Clinic is a physician led organization of more than 51,000 caregivers. While we are committed to ensuring our leadership is representative of our patients and caregivers — who come from all over the world — physician leaders themselves were not asked or guided to intentionally identify high potential talent and successors. These talent decisions were made without following a clearly delineated process.


In 2017, we began providing physician leaders with education to:

  1. increase awareness of unconscious biases specific to talent identification and talent; and
  2. establish a process, driven by tools, to discover and develop talent in the organization.

This training aligns with Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, further operationalizing it into the organization.   

Cook Ross conducted the initial education for 200 key leaders and led a “train-the-trainer” process for our learning team to educate all other leaders.


After the initial unconscious bias training, our top leaders demonstrated an increase in knowledge of this concept. We then began to track demographics and gender during talent reviews to offer feedback to leaders at the time of their decisions.

We are supporting continued behavior change in the organization by providing trained facilitators to observe or facilitate talent review meetings. These facilitators emphasize best practices learned by unconscious bias training participants to ensure transfer of knowledge. We also establish whether or not leaders identify “hidden talent” or make surprising decisions relative to succession planning and high potential talent identification.


Le Joyce Naylor

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