What is the SPACE2 Model of Mindful Inclusion and what does it stand for?

Good question! The SPACE2 Model of Mindful Inclusion is a collection of strategies that ‘enable individuals to detect and override their automatic reflexes’. According to Include-Empower.com, these are:

  1. Slowing Down – taking the time to process and reflect on other people’s responses
  2. Perspective Taking – showing empathy towards other people’s identity and beliefs 
  3. Asking Yourself – challenging your own assumptions
  4. Cultural Intelligence –  becoming aware of other cultures behaviours which differ to your own 
  5. Exemplars – challenging the stereotype by interacting with other cultures 
  6. Expand – surrounding yourself with other cultures

The SPACE acronym is designed to help individuals manage their own bias and become more aware when processing new information. Research shows that we process information in two ways.

We are emotionally driven, this is often called automatic processing and where you’ll see affinity bias come into play. We are also driven by our morals which we adopt through our cultures and upbringing. This is called controlled processing and can override automatic processing. 

 “Automatic social processing can influence our immediate judgments and behaviours without us even knowing it. In social settings, stereotypes and associated prejudices and discriminatory responses occur fast and outside of conscious awareness.”

By being more aware of other cultures around you and processing behavioural traits through the lens of another culture, individuals will start to challenge their own unconscious bias and stereotyping. This is why the SPACE2 model is such an effective habit for creating lasting change!

Activities to try in your team

  • In your next team meeting or all hands. Ask folks to consider the first time they felt shame as a child. What did they do that got them in trouble? These early experiences are often our first experiences of facing our culture’s moral expectations.
  • Re-framing constructive feedback through the lens of bias. Consider when you have been on the receiving end of constructive feedback that relates to how you handled a difficult situation. It could be a conflict or a difficult conversation. How was your response judged through the lens of expected behaviours and norms? Could you have received a different response if you were in another country, or in a different company culture?
  • Think about your last 1:1. Consider how your attitude to things like family commitments, work life balances, and sharing emotions could differ to your line manager/direct reports by virtue of your lived experiences. What are things about the other person that feel like the opposite of your ideals? How much of your ideals and their ideals are driven by the lived experiences? If you shared the same lived experiences, might you also share the same ideals?

New habits to make a difference

Think about people you interact with often at home or at work who could be making snap judgements when reading the news or interacting with others. How can you create a safe space to teach them about the SPACE2 model? Perhaps the next time you catch up about what you’re reading or listening to, you can let them know you read about this in the Hustle Crew newsletter and get into the habit of bringing the acronym into conversations.

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