For companies and organizations wanting to get REAL about fighting racism, here’s a start:
- Gather the data you already have. It’s 99% likely your company has already surveyed/focus-grouped/committeed the HECK out of the topic for years; it’s time to turn that data into action
- Set goals – and make them explicit and measurable (recruitment, retention, leadership pipeline, feedback culture, procurement, partnerships, and more)
- Start measuring.
- Reward progress. And tie senior leadership’s compensation to progress against those metrics (Uber & others are doing this).
Here’s a great article: https://hbr.org/2020/06/is-your-company-actually-fighting-racism-or-just-talking-about-it?
Deep Diversity: Overcoming Us vs. Them is hands-down the most useful, accessible book I’ve read on strategies for achieving deep, enduring racial equity at the personal, organizational and community level. Shakil Choudhury writes with the friendly ease and accessibility of Malcolm Gladwell, mixing compelling stories with cutting edge research, ranging from neuroscience to political theory.
It is simply not possible to be an effective leader without not only emotional intelligence, but what Julie Diamond refers to as “Power Intelligence“. Choudhury sets out a clear map for getting there, and welcomes us all to take the journey. He sets out a four-part framework (emotions; implicit bias; tribes; and power) for understanding and overcoming the devastating effects of racism and marginalization, bolstered by abundant research and his own decades of work as an international leadership trainer, teacher and consultant.
Once we have the awareness of how both unconscious bias and racism play out within ourselves and in the world (yes, racism exists, and it is everywhere; yes, all human brains are hard-wired to both see and respond to difference in ways that are unconscious and instantaneous; and yes, our emotions – not our heads – drive our actual behavior), coupled with the intention to change, Choudhury offers a set of 7 inner skills for shifting our own habits of thinking and becoming potentially powerful change-makers:
- Self-awareness – become aware of our own blind spots, unconscious bias, emotions, body language and body signals
- Mindfulness – through practice, developing our ability to witness and interrupt unhelpful habits of thinking and replace them with new habits
- Self-regulation – develop the inner power and skillfulness to master our own emotional responses, to return from a state of being reactive and brittle (or ‘triggered’) to one of emotional resilience
- Empathy – tapping into the human power of empathy to build bridges of understanding, kindness to enlarge the ‘circle of we’
- Self-education – actively seeking out stories, data and facts directly, blasting out of well-worn assumptions or reliance on ‘conventional wisdom’ from the dominant culture
- Relationship – actively enlarging that circle, personally and professionally
- Conflict skills – developing our skills, comfort and ease with conflict – an inevitable by-product of working across difference – so that we can lean in rather than contract or withdraw
Master these skills – and be a brilliant, compassionate and effective leader in any field – a leader that can help unleash the massive collective power and wisdom of diverse teams, organizations and communities.
‘Deep Diversity” is available at most bookstores, through the publisher, or via Amazon.
The 11th Annual White Privilege conference is this week in Wisconsin April 7-10th: http://www.uccs.edu/~wpc/.
And I just came across this beautiful little article on white ally-ship, trauma and somatics (embodied, ‘whole-person’ approaches to change) from the Oakland-based Seminary of the Street: http://www.seminaryofthestreet.org/id28.html. She talks about the way racism causes trauma for each of us – people of colour and whites alike – and points to a path of integrated healing.
Met any brilliant engineers masquerading as cab drivers these days? I’ve met far too many, and that’s why I’m so excited about the 2010 Allies Learning Exchange conference in gorgeous Halifax. May 6 and 7th. I and my co-trainer Marco Campana will lead a 2 hour workshop on message development and social media for New Canadians, particularly focused on issues affecting internationally trained professionals. Allies draws hundreds of people from across Canada to learn about issues and strategies to promote the employment of skilled immigrants. If you live in BC, Canada, and want to get involved locally, contact one of my past clients, the BC-Internationally Trained Professionals Network.