We are in the middle of a global pandemic and racial injustice movement.
The tragic murder of George Floyd has set off a chain of activism across the globe. It is igniting a critical conversation around systemic racism and injustice and continues to bring to light the inequality so many Black men, women and children face daily.
Amid the social media posts and images of protests across our screens, so many people have struggled with what to say to their friends and family and how to voice their support to the black community and Black Lives Matter movement.
I’d be remiss to say I didn’t struggle as well – about knowing where to start and how best to take action; however, I am committed to listening, to learning and to acting. Silence or opting out of these conversations is not an option for me.
There are a number of resources written by Black voices available that are helping build my knowledge base, deepen my understanding and – most importantly – inform my actions. White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo; How to be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi; and Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saaf have been my go-to resources. My actions are also informed by public academic Rachel Cargle, who has a number of resources available. And it won’t stop with reading. The resources all point to actions that can be taken, and ways of thinking that need to be called out and challenged.
Activism and change require funding, so I’m committed to putting money behind my words: Black Lives Matter, The Bail Project, Change.org as well as the Loveland Foundation. I’ll continue to assess where money is needed most and continue to fund the groups and people doing the work to move the action forward.
On the work front, I’m hearing my clients talk about their responsibility and the work they need to do: to continue or start the process of looking at their practices, policies, and ways of working through this lens. To unpack, confront and dismantle systemic racism.
Psychological safety is about creating the conditions where every employee can bring their whole self to work, be heard, contribute, and thrive. I implore organizations to examine their practices through an anti-racist lens, identify where there is work to be done, and put a tangible plan together to drive action. All change required won’t happen overnight, but taking the first steps to put a plan in place can.
Equipping your leadership and management teams to have these conversations is critical right now to help them lead and navigate through sensitive and vulnerable conversations, uncertainty and ambiguity. They need to be ready to listen, to remain open when faced with honest, candid feedback, and to put actionable plans together. If it feels uncomfortable, it’s because it is. And yet, it is our work right now to move through this discomfort and have the conversations, take action, and embed systemic change. As always, reach out if you’d like to discuss ways of equipping and supporting your leadership and management teams with the skills they need.
2020 will go down as one of the most volatile years. Our values and our character come into question at times like these. When you look back on this time, what do you want to be able to say about yourself, your team, your organization, in how you showed up during this historical moment?