Wednesday, November 26, 2014

12 Tips to Practice Holiday Diversity and Inclusion Leadership

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   November 24, 2014

Many managers have told me they  walk on eggshells around the holidays, worried about saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, so instead they say nothing. They  have the best intentions but are not sure how to be inclusive of others. 

It's a mistake and a lost opportunity to be inclusive if you just send out PC "Happy Holidays: greeting cards and change Christmas office parties to "Holiday parties" or pretend this time of year is like any other time.

It's about more than just changing labels and titles. No matter what holidays we celebrate of don't, this is a time of year when people get swept up into feeling good,  want to help others, reconnect with old friends and family, celebrate accomplishments of the past year and set goals for the coming year.

In this issue I provide you with 12 ways to practice diversity leadership and an inclusive holiday season this year. If you have best practices or ideas, send us an email or call.

Read on,

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110 Ways to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion
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You can also buy individual copies in E-book format below.
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"This is a simple tool filled with a variety of good ideas that when implemented will certainly help set the tone for a more inclusive and rewarding workplace. Actions do speak louder than words and this booklet gives you and anyone in your organization 110 ideas to get started on."
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Group Adviser, Diversity and Inclusion
Rio Tinto 

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12 Ways to Practice Holiday Diversity and Inclusion Leaadership

1- If you want employees to feel includedand show up, make sure your holiday party isn't a Christmas party in disguise. Decorations and food should  either be general, and non-specific to any religion or include decorations and food that represent everyone in your organization.
2- Ask employees what symbols and decorations they would like to include in the celebration. Items can be placed on display with a written description describing the tradition.
This is a way to learn about different cultures and religions, and the traditions that accompany them.
3- Consider having a New Year's Partyinstead of a Holiday party. This type of party can get everyone on board with the company's mission and vision for the New Year.
4- Remember, some people do not attend parties at all.  Jehovah's Witnesses do not participate in parties or gift-giving. No one should be pressured to attend the party.
5-Accommodate diverse palates, including dishes on the menu that can be  enjoyed by everyone, including vegetarian.  Encourage employees to share their celebrations through stories, decorations, and foods that they can bring to their workplace.
6-Display a diversity calendar to help all employees know the important cultural events for the rest of the year. Here is one that I like.
7-Post different holiday greetings on your webpage and internal communication platforms.
8- During the whole year, be respectful of special dates when planning events and meetings. Don't plan a lunch or breakfast meeting during Ramadan if you have Muslim employees. Be aware of important religious holidays where it's customary for people to take off work, like Jewish High Holy Days.
9-Learn traditional greetings and correct pronunciation for different holidays.  Employees who celebrate those holidays will appreciate your interest and time you took to learn.
10-Encourage your employees to learnabout other different holidays and the different ways people around the world and in your own country celebrate them. There are usually events all year to celebrate different holidays that are open to the public. Take the time to attend them.
 11. Share your learning with others, and use it as a chance to expand the conversation at parties and at the dinner table.
12. Let go of assumptions of what people know about your holidays. Educate people about the origins and meaning of what you celebrate.  Invite people from different traditions to your celebrations.

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 Simma@SimmaLieberman, or 510-527-0700 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

The CEO's Uber Diversity Dilemma

The CEO's Uber Diversity Dilemma

  Uber executive, Emil Michael suggested at a dinner party attended by people like Arianna Huffington and Kara Swisher that Uber would pay a million dollars to hire researchers to dig up dirt on journalists who wrote negative stories about Uber.

“They’d look into your personal lives, your families,’ and give the media a taste of its own medicine,” he said.

He was targeting Sarah Lacey; journalist from Pando Daily who wrote that she deleted the Uber app because of their sexist comments and advertising that she felt was detrimental to women drivers and passengers.

In response to the public outrage about Michaels’ comments CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick in a series of Tweets wrote “His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals.”

Really? Then why is he representing your organization? Did you not know until that moment what he thought? Or did you know, agree and assume that everyone else agreed? Or maybe, you didn’t think he’d say it in public?

Message to the myriad of CEO’s politicians, et al who have had to apologize and explain away the sexism, racism and homophobia of an employee or representative.

1-      You’re responsible for anyone who represents you.
2-      It doesn’t matter whether they’re at work, or at a party. How do you want to be seen in the world?
3-      Let every single employee know that and hold them accountable.
4-      If you say that you and your organization value respect, inclusion, diversity and talent, then you better mean it in words and deeds. If not, eventually, you’re going to be embarrassed, lose customers, or be the defendants in a big lawsuit.
5-      If you really believe the values in your mission, your website or your marketing material, then you’ll hire people who believe and live those values at work and everywhere else.
6-      You create the cultural blueprint for your organization and when you have people in senior leadership who are offensive, and, disrespectful, they are reflections of the culture you’ve created.

These scandals are like the parent who apologizes for their kids bullying, when their kids learned that behavior from them.

I love technology and disruptive innovation. I want to see everyone benefit and be welcome to the new age (like the Imagine Dragon song.) For that to happen we need more diversity of every kind represented in these organizations. Right now it’s lacking. The people who lead and found these organizations are showing us possibilities and opening up new worlds at immeasurable speeds. They are creative, brilliant and “think out of the box.”  However, If they want to move us faster, and extend their reach and influence even more, they need to live, hire, and discover the genius in people “who are out of the box.”

Those who use their positions, organizations or political power to demean people who are different than them, and threaten the families and livelihood of people who criticize them should not continue to be rewarded, nor be excused.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Breakthrough Innovation and Diversity Leadership #6 of 10

6- Let other people share their expertise, talent and experience, even when their ideas differ from yours.  You may find their idea is better.

It's easy to talk about being open to other ideas, but it's not that easy to do it in practice.

Smart leaders know what their strengths are and they know how to find people who are smarter than them in areas where they are not.

Breakthrough innovation occurs when a good leader knows how to bring together a diverse team with different experiences, skills and ideas. Just having a diverse team isn't enough. It takes that smart leader who knows how to bring out the genius in others, and isn't afraid of that genius.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good Diversity Leadership, and Breakthrough Innovation #5 (of 10)

5-Learn and recognize the different ways in which people are intelligent and contribute to the organization. Stop being stuck in recognizing and respecting only one type of intelligence (yours.)

So often in my diversity and inclusion programs, people will make comments like,"I have no problem with people who are different. I respect everyone."

First of all, if you think that diversity and inclusion is about having no "problem," then that is the problem. People who are culturally intelligent are curious about people who are different. They want to learn about others.
When someone thinks of diversity as "having no problem," it means everything remains the same.  "We all just do our jobs. there is nothing to be gained or lost by working with a diversity of co-workers."

If you think you "respect everyone," visualize what they means to you. How do you show respect? How do you react to people who disagree with you, or people who are intelligent in a different way? It's easy to say you respect everyone when they're all like you, but be conscious of how you react when someone doesn't agree, or does something in a different way than you.

Become aware of whether or not you are a "my way is the best" type of person.

Research the different ways people are intelligent, and the different ways people learn.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fostering Breakthrough Innovation Through Diversity Leadership #4

Here is the 4th Way to Foster Breakthrough Innovation Through Diversity Leadership.

4- Be introspective and get real about your biases and assumptions. Your behavior that results from those biases and assumptions can impede participation and innovation.

Ask yourself, “Whom am I not seeing?  Do I greet all of my employees or just the ones who are like me?  Do I walk past any employees without saying hello?  Who am I not hearing from in team meetings, and whose opinions am I minimizing, due to bias about work level, function or salary?”

Your bias and assumptions about people different than you mean that you give credibility to people most like you, and minimize the contributions of others. When employees feel unacknowledged and invisible they lose their motivation, and feel alienated from the organization.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fostering Breakthrough Innovation With Good Diversity Leadership #2

2-Be informed about your employees but don’t micromanage.  Acknowledge the progress no matter how small, made by people on your team.  

 Research by Theresa M. Amabile and Steven  J. Kramer shows that employees are motivated when their managers are aware of and acknowledge even their small wins.

Be specific! Don't just say "Good job." That means nothing and is like a generic greeting card. Compliment them on what they did and the results they got. Encourage them to keep going by letting them know you have faith and trust in their abilities.

This applies to individuals and whole teams. Be aware that some people thrive on individual acknowledgement and others want the recognition to include the whole team. 

A good diversity leaders pays attention and is cognizant of these differences. Good diversity leaders know that everyone wants to feel included, and be successful, and that when that happens, they are more creative, willing to take risks, and think innovation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Ways Good Diversity Management Can Foster Innovation #1

In this business era of speed, competition and globalization, innovation rules all.  You never know where the next great product, process or profit builder will originate.

Good Diversity Management and Culturally Intelligent Leadership can make the difference between repeatedly hearing mediocre ideas from the same people, or mining the hidden genius in your organization for breakthrough ideas.

Conversely, not knowing how to access that genius or motivate employees to be creative will eventually make you and your products commodities, competing for lower prices.

I've found ten key ways good diversity management can foster innovation. Here is number 1.

1-Be conscious of the way you communicate with employees.    Ask yourself, “Are they comfortable talking to me about their work, asking questions, and giving me suggestions?” If the answer if no, you need to find out why, and if yes, then keep getting better at it.

Innovation can often come from the lower levels, but if you don’t know how to communicate with everyone, they won’t share ideas, nor will they feel invested in the organization.

Make a habit of interacting with the people on your team whom you may not know well, or with whom you are least comfortable. Identify the reasons for your discomfort, so you can move through it.