Category Archives: Teams & Leaders

Developing diverse teams and leadership

Corporate Responses to Diversity Challenges – by Marc Brenman

Marc Brenman
ADR Advisor Marc Brenman

In the aftermath of tragic police violence and subsequent street protests, many US corporations and other organizations have issued ritualistic and formulaic statements declaring their support for Black Lives Matter and decrying racism. What does this mean, and what will they do to follow through? Many of these companies already have diversity programs and are already required to comply with state and federal nondiscrimination laws and regulations. A number of states, cities, and counties have broader non-discrimination prohibitions than the federal government, for example, to include LGBTQ status.

The larger companies employ Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) or someone with a different title but similar responsibilities. The vast majority of people in these positions are African-American females. Some are male, and some are Hispanic. A few are white females. Almost none of the CDOs are members of the executive teams of these companies. Diversity does not occupy a place similar to core missions, such as production, operations, marketing/sales/ advertising/branding, finance, legal, logistics, supply chain, health and safety, etc. Only a relatively small percent of companies report their diversity demographics publicly, and almost none disaggregate the figures by level of employment, pay grade, responsibility, etc.

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Mastering the Unwritten Rules of the Game: Political IQ – by Nancy Halpern

Many of us begin new jobs with hope, enthusiasm, commitment and drive. And then something happens. We come up across obstacles we struggle to navigate. Bosses we thought were champions go silent and become unavailable. Colleagues who should be supportive thought partners seem to be hoarding information and have no time for us.

It’s easy to blame ourselves, and even easier to blame someone else. But the truth is, it’s bigger than that. When people are brought together, they inevitably compete for limited resources. The problem is that resources are always limited whether it’s additional headcount, a promotion, a manager’s attention, or a runway for your new idea. And that competition is the definition of office politics.

Continue reading Mastering the Unwritten Rules of the Game: Political IQ – by Nancy Halpern

Leadership in Our Challenging Times – by Deborah Levine

I often hear that leadership is greatly needed in these challenging times. But what does leadership mean? Is it a matter of personality? Is leadership defined by mission and goals? Are leaders inspirational figures who leave the nuts and bolts to others? The more we try to define leadership, the more the concept undefinable. “There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept,” said Ralph Stogdill, a Professor of Management Science and Psychology known for his research and publications on the Personal Factors Associated with Leadership.

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How Leaders Can Reduce Anxiety and Prevent Panic – by Simma Lieberman

We are still in the midst of a disruptive crisis no matter how “positive thinking police” try to spin it. As the Covid-19 quarantine continues with people working from home, with little or no social interaction, some of your team members may start experiencing a deeper level of anxiety. No one knows when or how it will end or what the “new normal” will look like. That anxiety due to seemingly uncertain futures and not knowing how or when the crisis will end, can cause some people to panic, lose focus about their work and disengage from the team.

With the right strategies you have the power to help yourself, your family and people in your organization to not panic and instead find joy and stay engaged. The actions you take now to increase and sustain connection, community, and inclusion will make the difference between a long re-entry or the shortest one possible. If you want to know five actions you can take immediately, read on.

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From Virus-Suppression to Workplace Return – by Deborah Levine and Cathy Light

How Leaders & Employees
Go from Fear to Optimism:
          One TEAM again

The new norm of work is a challenge for businesses and the workforce. No one is exempt from the challenges we face during this period of isolation.  Even those who are used to working virtually will have new demands placed on them. Teams will be forced to communicate differently and accommodate home-based needs. Team leaders must find ways to collaborate and move forward despite unprecedented uncertainty. Business owners can find themselves in a fight for survival while not only maintaining the ability to restart operations, but implementing creative ways to make that transition. How are we going to manage all this? Continue reading From Virus-Suppression to Workplace Return – by Deborah Levine and Cathy Light

Leadership in Crisis – by Robyn Lebron

One of the hardest things you may have to do over the next few days, weeks and months  is to BE the Leader that holds the light and strength for everyone around you.

You have all learned by now that certain people have special spirits, and people are drawn to you for your leadership, your courage and your inner strength.  This will happen even more right now, when there are so many searching for answers. In order for you to do that, you need to understand that these experiences will cause you to blossom into the leaders you are meant to become!

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Diversity and Speech Part 10: Harmful Speech 2070 – by Carlos E. Cortés

This is the second of three columns in which I make fifty-year projections concerning the following question: as a nation, where will we stand in 2070 when it comes to the contested interplay of diversity and speech?  These three columns are based on a public presentation on diversity and speech that I gave at the December, 2019, Speculative Futures in Education Conference at the University of California, Riverside.

In my previous column I argued that the internet has dramatically altered the diversity-speech discussion, particularly when it comes to hate speech.  As an easily-accessible mechanism for spreading hate, including through troll storms and doxing, the internet has developed into a true weapon of terror.   

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Future Digital Workplace and Job Skills – by Frank Feather

Technological revolutions always transform the workplace, especially the job skills and talents required to perform.

By 2025, about 40% of today’s skills will at least change, if not be made obsolete and replaced by new skills. On average, in some 60% of jobs, at least a 30% of their activities can be automated.

Hence, most jobs will change or be replaced, and more people will need to work alongside technology. Digital technology also changes how and where work takes place.

Digital Workplace Revolution

In the broadest sense, we are moving from a centralized to a decentralized workplace system.

  1. Old Centralized Workplace:
  • The Industrial Revolution moved work from the farm into centralized factories of mass production, starting with textiles and then spreading to other products.
  • The Services Revolution, based on computers and information processing, simply copied the centralization model and moved work into what I call “paper-shuffling factories in the sky.”
  • The Digital Revolution changes all of that again. Things get digitized and decentralized.
  1. New Decentralized Workplace:

In the digital era, most things, if not everything, get reversed. You don’t need to “go” places:

  • You do not need to go to the library; search engines bring the information to you.
  • You do not need to go to shops; online shopping networks place the products on your screen and bring them to your doorstep.
  • So it is with work. The vast majority of office workers (I would say 80% at least) do not need to go to office towers to do their work. Work comes to them.

The digital revolution brings the work to their laptop or other device, anyplace, anytime. So much of today’s service sector work will become decentralized to telecommuting remote workers. This is a slow process that has been ongoing for some time, because traditional managers don’t know how to manage remote workers. But it is expanding rapidly in developed economies.

Digital Skills Revolution

These workplace changes require new skills. The 3 main talents needed are as follows:

  1. “High-Tech” Intelligence

This refers to the ability to transform data into business and customer value. It requires the ability to evaluate information credibility and how it should be used.

Digital technology will be commonplace in every workplace, from farm to factory to the service sector: retail, education, healthcare, travel, entertainment, and professional services.

Employees need skills to work with advanced tech, from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Robots of every kind. They need to become tech-savvy about AI and how Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) will help them to be much more productive on their jobs and to deliver superior value to customers.

2. “High-Touch” Intelligence

The more the world becomes high-tech, the more it needs to be high-touch, or human. Employees need to know their own emotions and those of others, to foster a team-based, human workplace culture.

The world also is increasingly a “global village,” and organizations are increasingly diverse. As part of high-touch or emotional intelligence (EQ in addition to IQ), employees need to respect and embrace diversity and work together to eliminate every form of discrimination: ethnicity, gender, age, language, religious and political beliefs.

Customers also comprise the global village and they increasingly expect all of this to be reflected in organizations.

3. Self-Management Skill

Collaborative teamwork and interpersonal skills are essential to help organizations achieve their goals and boost customer satisfaction. Due to fast-evolving tech changes, people must commit to adapt to change and to learn necessary new or updated skills as an ongoing process.

Management skills of various kinds will be increasingly important for all employees, not just senior executives. People need good time management skills, self-motivation, continuous re-skilling, sustained creativity and innovation, team project skills, and discretionary decision-making abilities.

As well of course, self-management is very important for any kind of remote work.

Conclusion

The above trends will continue to evolve through the 2020 decade and beyond. And technology will impact every job in every profession, not just those covered here in general terms.

The key is to anticipate and prepare for change, and re-skill or up-skill yourself so that you are not caught out by it.

Remember, the future belongs to those who get there first!

Diversity and Speech Part 8: Managing Diversity – by Carlos E. Cortés

Carlos Cortez
Carlos Cortez

This is the eighth in a series of columns based on my research as a former fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement.   In these columns I have discussed what I call the diversity movement — the composite of individual, group, and organizational efforts to reduce societal inequities that penalize people because of their actual or perceived membership in certain social groups.   In particular I have focused on the intersection of diversity and speech. 

After analyzing the past half century of the diversity movement, I concluded that the movement actually consists of four separate but intersecting diversity strands: intercultural; equity and inclusion; critical theory; and managing diversity.  My past columns have sketched the parameters of the first three strands.  In this column I will focus on the fourth strand, managing diversity.

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Why Inspirational Leaders Follow A Path Of Gratitude – by Andrew Scharf

When innovative thinking is at the helm, you can be sure that at its core is inspirational leaders. Real leaders have our back, and stand up for doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. At a time when we are surrounded by the forces of darkness and authoritarian strong men, we owe to ourselves, our communities, our countries and the world to stand shoulder to shoulder in the fight to preserve the freedoms many of us have come to take for granted. Make your voices heard. Democracy dies in silence.

Innovative leaders shape positive behavior, communitarianism as well as business practices. Under this form of stewardship, optimism and gratitude prevail.

Continue reading Why Inspirational Leaders Follow A Path Of Gratitude – by Andrew Scharf