Historically, it was taboo to discuss politics in the workplace. Instead, Americans would play it safe and discuss sports. The biggest conflict would be which team was favored over the other. It all changed this weekend when football couldn’t be discussed without talking about political positions.
On Friday, during a campaign rally for U.S. Senator Luther Strange President Trump suggested that the NFL should fire players who protest by kneeling during the national anthem.
This caused a tweet storm between players, owners and President Trump and ultimately sparked an increase of protests. The protest spread into the sports of baseball and basketball this weekend for the first time.
Trump suggests that, “this has nothing to do with race…this has to do with respect for our country.” On the other side of the conversation, the athletes feel that they are standing together in non-violent protest about social injustice. Many who knelt say they support the military, consider themselves patriots, and are exercising their right to free speech.
The lack of productive discussion around this topic is building the divide between people and reinforcing us/them thinking. As the conversation spills into our work environments, employers are struggling with how to respond. In general, we have not taught our employees how to talk about differences in a respectful and productive way. We don’t provide many opportunities to share stories and reach understanding which compounds the divide in the workplace.
Now is the time to have productive discussions around the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. It starts with genuine curiosity and suspension of your own perspective to explore someone else’s.
A few questions to start the conversation:
- What is your response to current events surrounding the athletes’ actions?
- Why do you hold that perspective?
- What experiences have you had in your life that contribute to how you think about this issue?
- How do you feel about what is being said and done by all parties?
- What information would you like to gain to understand the situation better?
Enact Leadership is proud to support the UCSF School of Medicine Differences Matter Initiative. This summer, we worked in partnership with the Dean’s Diversity Leaders to facilitate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion Training to 200 faculty and staff.
Four full-day sessions have been implemented so far, with more in-depth training planned over the coming months to educate participants on creating an equitable and inclusive learning environment. From this group, a subset of faculty will be identified to lead further training. The goal is to enhance individual and group awareness, alignment, action and accountability toward lasting change as part of Differences Matter.
Over the past few years Enact Leadership has been engaging in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consulting, training, and coaching work in a variety of organizations. These organizations span multiple industries/sectors including: healthcare, retail, financial services, consumer product goods and not-for-profits.
As we continue to develop better solutions to this organizational and societal challenge/opportunity, we would like to learn more from an even broader set of organizations.
We are inviting you to participate in a very short survey to share your thoughts and experience in this important work.
In return, we will share our results with you. We look forward to continuing to serve your efforts to create more diverse, equitable, inclusive and successful work environments.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to participate!
Enact Leadership helps organizations and their leaders build diverse, equitable and inclusive cultures. We work with organizations and individuals to move beyond awareness and drive action. Enact has created the 4A’s Model to solve the toughest organizational challenges in this domain.
Self-examination about an individual and organization’s world view. What is the individual’s personal story? How do they see the world? How did this shape their biases and impact micro-aggressive behaviors? What data has the organization gathered? What is the specific context and opportunities do they see?
In this phase, we work to align participants within their specific teams as well as to align to the organization’s larger stated goals. It is not enough to simply state the organization’s goals. Each individual needs to understand his/her role in creating an inclusive work culture.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives require conscious action through courageous conversations. Enact focuses on a variety of hands-on activities, tools and techniques to help individuals take action, engage in courageous conversations, and seek opportunities to be allies for others.
For any initiative to be successful, there must be personal accountability. Our approach teaches leaders how to hold themselves and others accountable, deliver on commitments and address the impact when those commitments aren’t met.
Enact’s 4A’s model is the foundation of our Inclusive Leadership Programs. We offer organizational solutions to meet a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion needs. Whether you want a workshop to introduce the topic of inclusion or you are looking to launch an organization-wide strategy, Enact can help.
Overview of Enact’s Best-Selling Inclusive Leadership Programs
Power of Inclusion:
One to three-day format focused on creating sustainable results on diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Our program leverages Enact’s Inclusive Leadership Assessment to improve self-awareness, organizational alignment, accountability and tangible actions for ongoing change.
One-day program focused on intercultural sensitivity and how to work across cultures. The Intercultural Development Inventory is incorporated into the program. This workshop is ideal for global teams.
Half-day or one-day workshop focused on generational differences. This program enables individuals to work side-by-side with colleagues from all generations, leveraging the differences to engage values, mindsets, skills and behaviors to ultimately drive results.
Half-day or one-day session about how to lead courageous conversations and create brave spaces in the workplace for diversity, equity, and inclusion topics
In addition to these popular programs, Enact also provides consulting services to help innovative leaders and human resource executives build a strategic roadmap to create a culture that values diversity, equity and inclusion.
Are you interested in learning more? Contact us at email@example.com.
So why are so few giving it to them?
The future is here and the world is desperate for a new kind of leadership. Companies need to be increasingly adaptive and nimble to stay relevant in today’s market. The demands of an increasingly younger workforce are requiring massive shifts in the way we think about everything in business. Leaders today can’t just focus on the ‘what’ of business and succeed with traditional strategies and business know-how of the past.
Traditional hierarchical organizational structures have been replaced with matrix-like structures. This requires leaders to be skilled at communicating and adept at influencing others who may not directly report to them. Leaders are confronted with the necessity of building a collaborative, diverse work culture that empowers and engages employees. Their prior leadership approach of directing and telling doesn’t work well in this new environment. The workplace reality becomes ever more emergent, ever less static. And the leaders that are increasingly taking the helm – Millennials – simply aren’t getting the development that they want – and need.
The leadership gap and shortage crisis is real. Several studies have found that crucial leadership skills in organizations are insufficient for meeting current and future needs. Fortunately, millennial leaders are hungry for the learning and development opportunities that will prepare them to lead tomorrow’s businesses. Gallup has reported that Millennials value development more than other generations do, and Bersin by Deloitte found that Millennials rate L&D as the #1 job benefit, more important than healthcare, cash bonuses and even flexible working hours!
Unfortunately, supply is not meeting demand. Seventy percent (70%) of millennials report that they are receiving no leadership development whatsoever. None. A study conducted by Brandon Hall Group in 2015 found that only 20% of organizations identified the Millennial leader group as critical for development over the next 24 months. This has created a significant leadership gap.
Most companies simply aren’t prioritizing the leadership development of Millennials. They are the leaders who will make or break not only the future of individual companies that they lead, but also our collective future. It seems to me like they are worth investing in.
Enact offers a variety of programs focused on developing Next Generation Leaders. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Corporate culture is one of the top talent challenges facing business leaders. Some organizations in an effort to create an ideal corporate culture, experience unintended consequences caused by hiring a homogenous group of employees.
For example, Brian Scudamore, CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, fired his entire organization in 1994 because he didn’t feel that he had the right people on board. He then implemented a “Beer and Barbeque Test” to hire new employees. He invited candidates to a barbeque so that he could talk casually with them over a beer. His intention was to find ambitious and driven individuals who mirrored his values.
The challenge is that this approach to recruitment creates a ‘similar-to-me’ hiring bias. Did he invite individuals who were completely different than him? Did he spend time working to understand the viewpoints of the candidates who challenged his ideas and thinking? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I do know that it concerns me that other organizations will see this approach as a great recruitment model. This approach can lead to a corporate culture where everyone gets along but there is limited innovation and creativity. Diversity and inclusion efforts within organizations must be intentional or they will be impacted by unconscious biases.
Is your leadership development strategy keeping up with current organizational challenges or do you find that you’re stuck on a perpetual treadmill of reactivity? Business is moving faster than ever and the strategies used to attract, develop and retain leaders that can deliver results must be as adaptable as the leaders they are meant to serve.
Many companies are completely restructuring their leadership development strategies to become more current. In Deloitte’s most recent Human Capital Trends Survey, 61% of companies surveyed reported that they have updated their leadership strategy in the last year or are currently doing so.
How do you determine if your leadership development strategy needs an overhaul? How do you ensure that it is delivering the impact, creating the pipeline and cultivating the leaders your business needs to thrive in the future? The answer is first to determine whether your current strategy is reactive or proactive.
Reactive: designed to identify and address problems
Proactive: designed to identify and propel opportunities
The immobilizing cycle of reactivity:
If you currently have a reactive leadership development cycle, here’s what it might look like:
- Identify organizational pains are tied back to leadership incompetency
- Identify leadership ‘problems’ and the leaders that have them
- Brainstorm ‘solution’ to problem and implement it
- Hope that somehow everything improves, while waiting for something else to break
- Experience organizational pain tied back to leadership incompetency
- Repeat until the system is beyond repair
The ‘problem’ with this cycle is in the word ‘problem’ itself. If your leadership development strategy is designed to simply identify and fix problems, then you’ll be stuck repairing problems forever. Your dreams of one day having something that ultimately is ‘better’ will never be realized, because you can’t improve something that you’re fixing. You can only get it working as well as it was designed to in the first place.
Consider now a proactive leadership development strategy. Here’s what it might look like to have a
Mobilizing Cycle of Proactivity:
- Identify leadership trends, necessary leadership capacities and promising leaders
- Identify leadership ‘opportunities’ and build off of their existing strengths
- Dream, create and implement innovative strategies
- Collect consistent feedback data and measure impact
- Tweak the new operating system as needed with small updates that keep it current
- Repeat as you watch your company soar above the competition
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we scrap our problem fixing mentality all-together. But what’s becoming clear is that in the increasingly fast and complex reality, the problem fixing mentality isn’t going to help us create the systems and strategies needed to develop the leaders needed to navigate the emergent future.
Quite simply, the strategies we develop are designed to answer the questions that we ask them to address. So which of these questions is at the root of your leadership development strategy?
“What are the problems we need to fix?”
– or –
“What are we going to create together?”
Ultimately, we get what we ask for. The answers to these two questions are undoubtedly different, and lead to two very different destinations.
Creating an effective leadership development strategy requires time and attention.
The first step is to address these 5 key focus areas.
- Purpose: This is the most important component to define but it is often overlooked. Can you articulate what you are expecting to achieve with your leadership development efforts? Is your goal to retain existing talent, improve your internal leadership pipeline or attract new talent? Are you looking to energize your employees with the knowledge that you care about them and are thoughtfully investing in their development? Once you identify your purpose, how will you measure success? Remember that people pay attention to what is measured and you are more likely to have a successful outcome.
- Audience: The most effective leadership development strategies are wide reaching and inclusive. Leadership development should not be restricted to the leaders at the top but also the development of rising talent, new managers or new hires that are years away from a traditional leadership position. It may mean providing targeted and intentional development opportunities for minority or underrepresented groups as well as intentionally creating opportunities for leaders and teams from across the company to come together to learn, network and build relationships.
- Objectives: This is where most traditional leadership development strategies start and end. This is the nuts and bolts – the answer to the question, “what do we want people to walk away with?” Too often the creation of these objectives come solely from what the company needs it’s leaders to know, rather than starting with a thoughtful evaluation of the purpose and intended audience of the programs, and thinking about their needs and how to serve them. The difference is objectives that are generic ‘one size fits all’ offerings and objectives that are customized and relevant for both the organization and the individuals they are meant for.
- Content: Once you’ve finalized your objectives, ensure that you are utilizing content that is recent, relevant and specific to your particular organization and the market that you are working within. Our world of work is constantly changing and evolving which means that our content must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of employees. Make sure you’re providing your customers with the latest and best information available.
- Method: Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report found that most CEO’s say that L&D is “wildly out of sync” with how people learn. Classroom style training where participants are berated with loads of content and little practice opportunity just don’t work. The most effective methods will include a thoughtful and intentional mix of content and participatory exercise, employing many different channels of learning to reach all types of learning styles. Think about the duration of the offerings (some companies employ a week-long immersive academy experience, while others opt for ½ day offerings or shorter). Make sure that the content that you want to cover and the skills that you want to improve, realistically align with the time that you have available. It is critical that participants have adequate time to practice new skills and that there is reinforcement after the program. Learning is a process and not a one-time event.
Thoughtful, deliberate attention to these 5 key areas will ensure that you create a leadership development strategy that not only immediately bolsters your employee experience but, develops your people much more effectively.
It is a revolution that is moving the HR/employee relationship from transactional and reactive to interactional and proactive. It is driven by companies and leaders who view their employees as their most important customer and are investing in redesigning the ‘employee experience’ at every level; crafting an experience for employees that is engaging, empowering, valuable and customized for them.
There are many factors impacting this revolution:
- Productivity Concerns – Employee productivity rates remain relatively flat despite the focused efforts to drive employee engagement and culture over the past decade.
- Low Unemployment Rates – Retaining employees is easier when there are not many job openings in the market. Due to the fact that Baby Boomers are leaving the workforce at 1 every 4 seconds, there are many job opportunities for skilled employees.
- Retention – Today’s average worker stays at each job for 4.4 years. Employees who are frustrated with the career track opportunities at their current employer often seek new roles as an opportunity to accelerate career growth.
The employee experience is the new competitive edge in today’s modern workforce – it is what will attract new talent and encourage them to stay.
The decision to begin intentionally creating an employee experience within a company is one that will requires sweeping change in just about every area of HR: recruitment, performance management, leadership development, benefits, compensation and people analytics to name just a few. These changes represent a major overhaul on how things have been. They will require time and persistence, and it won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, the one area of focus that can immediately improve the employee experience is leadership development.
The commitment to develop a truly customized and relevant leadership development strategy is a divergence from how leadership development has primarily been conducted in the past. In many cases, leadership development consists simply of a ‘check the box’ training that offers a selected few a generic training experience, often with little to no follow up or support. Participants feel only the immediate fulfillment of engaging in such an activity, but that fulfillment soon wears off and new skills are often lost within a year. And that little bit of benefit was only for the few who were lucky enough to attend the once-a-year-check-the-box training.
Current research around current L&D doesn’t paint a pretty picture. Employees rate L&D with only a 15% net promoter score, meaning only 15% of employees would recommend L&D services to their peers.
That’s a lot of room for improvement. A recent study found that of employees that receive training, 62% say it’s only somewhat relevant or not applicable their job at all.
Generic, typical classroom style trainings that aren’t relevant may actually hurt more than help.
Leadership development strategy is the mechanism by which a thoughtful, relevant and dynamic employee experience is designed. Effective development efforts are focused, intentional, customized and specific for the customers – the leaders which they attempt to reach. Just like your external customers, your internal customers can tell if you’ve just thrown something together in an effort to use the available budget and be able to say, ‘well, at least we did something’.
This is a driving force behind Enact’s leadership solutions. We believe that it is imperative that your development aligns with your business needs. The participant experience must be relevant, practical, engaging and specific to the needs of your employees. Contact us for more information at email@example.com.