Category Archives: Teams & Leaders

Developing diverse teams and leadership

Effect Change in One Brief Conversation – by Keith Weedman

Unexpected Introduction

When I provided an introductory session for highly skilled Toastmaster Ant Blair, my goal was to earn the privilege of providing him a program that blends training on how to effect change in one, brief conversation with coaching. Ant was quite engaged during his training. I was feeling optimistic about the outcome. Then at the end of his session, something totally unexpected happened. Ant was the one to effect change in one, brief conversation.

In addition to being a highly skilled Toastmaster, Ant is the CEO of Welcome Corporation, a diversity and inclusion training and consulting company. Through Welcome, he helps the craft beer industry attract and retain a diverse community of drinkers of small independent craft beer. Ant also hosts a YouTube channel and podcast, #MoHeadYall, where he utilizes his expertise as a Cicerone certified master of beer styles and service to benefit all who enjoy craft beer. According to Ant, beer head brings out the flavor of a craft beer.

Learning & Leading

In this article, I will show you how to effect change in one, brief conversation. I will share the conclusion of this relevant story to illustrate how Ant effected change in me.

When leaders think of their role in effecting change, they do not typically envision themselves as capable of effecting change in one, brief conversation. What comes to leaders’ minds instead: “Change is hard.” “People do not like to change.” “People resist change.” Every leader knows people who have failed many times effecting change, starting a new habit such as an exercise program or a diet or stopping a bad habit such as smoking cigarettes or swearing. Most leaders know people who no longer even make New Year’s resolutions because they “know” they would fail. Few leaders know how to effect change in one, brief conversation.

I help leaders learn to examine change from 3 different levels. Level 1 change is behavioral change, developing a new habit or stopping an old habit. Leaders have significant experience attempting to effect behavioral change. They have experienced failures and challenges associated with effecting behavioral change.

Level 2 change involves changing the way someone perceives a person, situation, or repetitive pattern. When someone perceives differently, they change their behavior accordingly. For example, at the age of 68, my father changed the way he perceived his retirement years. Then he got a psychology board game out of the attic that he invented in his 20s. He transformed that game into a program that utilized open ended questions, trained facilitators, and positive peer influence to help juvenile offenders and adult offenders learn to think, reason, and solve problems without violence. Between the ages of 70 and 80, my father with my mother by his side, traveled around the United States training facilitators. He touched thousands of peoples’ lives because he perceived his retirement included the opportunity to pursue his passion and purpose. My parents blended passion and purpose with traditional activities retired people love to do.

Level 3 change is owning perceiving as a creative act. When you own perceiving as a creative act, you can perceive any person, situation, or repetitive pattern at any moment in more than one way that fits reality, including an empowering way. When you own perceiving as a creative act, it is easy to help someone around you perceive differently and in an empowering way.

Now for the rest of my story. When Ant’s introductory session ended, he asked permission to give me constructive feedback. I agreed. He asked me if I knew I used the filler word “so” many times during my training. I had no idea I used that filler word even once. Then I listened to one of my LinkedIn videos. I was shocked to discover I used the same filler word six times in a two-minute video. Ant’s constructive feedback helped me perceive how becoming a Toastmaster would be beneficial to me and those whom I serve. He stimulated my thinking about what else I might learn in Toastmasters. I proceeded to join Ant’s Toastmasters club #2481. On June 24, 2019, I became Vice President of Publicity for my club. This article is my first one that incorporates my new role with my work helping leaders elevate their skill to effect change in one, brief conversation. To quote Paul Harvey, “And now you know the rest of the story”.

If you are a skilled Toastmaster like Ant Blair, you can provide people around you with the additional benefits that result from your elevated public speaking and leadership skills. I am thankful to have Ant Blair as my friend and one of many Toastmaster mentors. If you are a leader or aspiring to become one, then I invite you to visit a Toastmasters club in your community to learn more about Toastmasters.

Conclusion: the Creative Act

In conclusion, you, like me, can own perceiving as a creative act. You can perceive any person or situation in more than one way that fits reality. You can select a way that opens new possibilities for the future. You can then help someone around you change the way they perceive themselves or their situation. Through helping someone perceive differently, you can effect change in one, brief conversation. Ant helped me perceive differently and in a way that enabled me to see Toastmasters could open new possibilities for me and those whom I serve.

Nurturing and Humility in Leadership – by Deborah Levine

I have been puzzled by colleagues congratulating me on my humility. What are these folks talking about? People who knew me years ago would definitely be amused by that. At best, I was described as “Sweet but Stern.” At my boldest, I was told that I could terrorize entire cities. Community leaders had a white-knuckled grasp on their chairs when I tersely announce my intention to speak off-the-record. Not even a voice from the back of the room calling out, “Oh ho, this should be good!” slowed me down.

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The Challenge of Unconscious Bias – by Deborah Levine

Unconscious bias training is an admirable project but may often be ineffective. The fuzzy, vague term of unconscious bias is often applied indiscriminately, but unconscious bias isn’t a one-size-fits-all term amenable to a one afternoon of training. Yes, it can refer to the incident where the police were called to arrest two African-Americans waiting for a meeting at Starbucks. But it can also mean only smiling at customers that look like you, rejecting resumes from diverse applicants, and promoting the employees who resemble the current leadership team. If we want to address unconscious bias effectively, we need to first be aware of how the senses, emotions, and brain interact to create unconscious bias. Second, we must go beyond awareness of our biases to sensitivity to their impact. Lastly, we need to develop a system that internalizes wise decision making with ongoing reinforcement of that competence.

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Culture Shock in Generation Y – by A. K. Ward-Bartlett

CULTURE ABROAD

Five days ago, I was on the other side of the globe. Exhausted from twelve weeks of attempting to keep up with this fast-paced Mecca of the international business world, I was still not ready to extract myself from the extrovert’s haven that is Shanghai. This is the land of business cards and alcohol, where the networking maniacs of the West flock to jump into the Eastern financial “boom”, assuming that the “bust” is nowhere in sight. For one brief summer, I was a part of this cultural mish-mash, ecstatic to surround myself with the expats, entrepreneurs, and “students of life” that are so enthusiastic to be exposed to the challenges of living in such a foreign, yet increasingly Westernized, environment. Being a student of psychology, the best way for me to summarize my experience in China is to describe the mental processes I used to adapt. Looking back on my little adventure, I can easily identify the points at which I hit the various stages of Culture Shock, and it is through this cycle that I feel others can catch a better glimpse of my path of growth.

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Getting to the Point: Character-Driven Success — By Dr. J. Phillip London

If there was one thing that you could point to for all of your success and accomplishments, what would it be? Likewise, where would you point the finger for all of your mistakes and failures? Right now there should be two fingers pointing at you. Why? Because who you are and what you become is completely up to you.

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Global Leadership: Five Steps to Calibrating your Cultural Compass — by Dr. Richard Griffith

Global Leadership today: The modern workplace brims with activity as people dart from meeting to meeting. Sometimes our communication is too brief. At times our messages are not well thought out. Even when the communication is crystal clear, the message can get lost in a wave of workload. But because our organizations tend to rely on best practices, people have a common frame-of-reference when there are misunderstandings. Best practices are a common denominator that allow us to understand and predict behavior, and serve as “true north” as we navigate the complexity of modern organizational life.
As organizations expand internationally and multi-cultural communications between employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers become more frequent, we are finding that the common denominator of best practices begins to unravel. And once we can no longer fall back on best practices, our inner compass can go haywire.

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When Bias Comes Knocking – by Terry Howard

During my highly visible role as diversity and inclusion director at two Fortune 500 companies, I wrote internal articles, often when bias was a factor, read by people across the globe. I also had to make difficult decisions, sometimes with potentially significant financial consequences, for the organization. Following is a major decision I made and the national fallout in one company. That’s followed by a few responses I received in response to internal articles I wrote. Note that topics of sexual orientation or Islam/Muslims seemed to generate these messages to me:

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Find your “where”: where they care about diversity – by Rose Opengart

Chart your own professional future. Because where you work can make all the difference in the world in your job satisfaction. Why not? Now is the right time. Unemployment is low and there is a labor shortage, so you have choices in jobs!

This means that you should act with purpose in choosing where you work. Figure out what is important to you and then, while interviewing, ask questions that help you learn about the company and if it is a place where your needs and values will be met. If diversity is a critical value for you, it should be as well for the organization at which you work. How can you determine how important diversity is to an organization just from an interview? You will want a sense of this before deciding whether or not to accept an offer of employment. You can acquire this information during an interview by asking questions like the following, observing, and listening.

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What Should an Aspiring Global Leader Know? — by Deborah Levine

Here’s what teenage global leaders-in-training had to say when asked what a young global leader should know. The words of wisdom come from high school and middle school students participating in the American Diversity Report Youth Global Leadership Class. Enjoy their  timeless advice and then read what leadership experts said about preparing the upcoming generation of leaders.

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Recognizing Workplace Harassment Beyond #MeToo – by David Grinberg

When most people hear about workplace harassment it’s likely to be sexual harassment, especially in today’s #MeToo era. But sexual harassment is just one of multiple unlawful bases of harassment in the employment context.

More than just sexual harassment…

Other forms of job harassment usually don’t get the same amount of national media attention, unless the case is particularly egregious — such as racial harassment involving a hangman’s noose, KKK graffiti or the N-word.

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