I thought I knew, I didn't until now. 1619.
Dare (to Sing) to Lead
In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.”
-Mathew Desmond, New York Times Magazine August 18, 2029 “1619”
I like to think of myself as an ally on issues of race and a generally good person. I am an activist for redefining the economics of business in such a way that profit is not our sole North Star. I am an author who writes about Bravespace workplaces in which people can show up both perfect and flawed and do great things together. I am CEO of a Certified BCorp, part of a movement repositioning business as a force for good. I am a diversity and inclusion practitioner committed to allyship.
People Are Not Machines
Picture 100 C-level managers from a Fortune 500 company sitting around 8-foot round tables in an air conditioned carpeted ballroom. 70 percent men. 30 percent international, from India, Europe, South Korea and Singapore. In your minds eye, what are they doing? writing? talking? learning? planning?...singing?!
Starting at 7am, I discretely sat along the wall of this room, my heart pounding right into my throat. I listened attentively as my colleague and mentor Moe Carrick slowly and skillfully warmed them up to the idea that courage and vulnerability are inevitably intertwined, that courage and vulnerability are learned skills not innate attributes, that we're avoiding tough conversations at work because we often lack these skills, and that our avoidance is costing us in squandered time and dissatisfied employees.
Beauty in Truth: Walking Your Talk with Values
An article in the NY Times this past weekend really caught my eye. The title referenced “Robot’s Ways of Rub Off on Humans, and writer Noam Scheiber says in the body of the piece, “This steady stripping of human judgment from work is one of the most widespread consequences of automation — not so much replacing people with robots as making them resemble robots.”
I really enjoyed the article and felt Scheiber did a great job exploring the actualities of jobs on the warehouse floor in tech giant Amazon’s warehouse, an environment replicated in large fulfillment centers across the country. Through the writer’s visit to the data center, we are invited into potent conversations about the roles of machines and automation in our work lives.
Don't Let the Perks Fool You
I always, always, always notice the way She looks. The model in the beauty product ads that I come across in magazines and on billboards. Mostly, I notice how she looks, half laying in the water in her impossible swimsuit, striding down a city street in her oh-so-chic-capris, or adding mascara to her already flawless visage, in comparison to how I feel I look, and it sucks. First I notice Her and my heart goes thump as it hits me, “wow someone who looks that good must really have it all together” and then I notice Me and the waistband of my pants which feel too tight, the lines around my eyes that would never look like that zoomed in, and the way I slouch instead of stride sometimes on the way to work. And yes, then I feel inadequate at best and self-loathing at worst.
Alexa doesn’t hear me.
Recent business headlines point to the challenges profit at any cost present. Christopher Mims wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal that “Amazon.com Inc. has a Facebook Inc.-size problem: It’s become such a gigantic, sprawling, powerful business that its inevitable missteps are beginning to erode trust in its products and services, good will in Washington, and its ability to achieve globe-spanning dominance.” Or check out the short video that The Visual xapitalist produced of the top 15 brands since 2000, featuring the rise of the mega companies Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. It is a startling time and yet the digital age means that we can see more into the inner workings of organizations than we could before, Profit cannot continue to be the singular gold standard for companies of tomorrow. And when we look inside many big companies, we feel dirty.
You're The Leader, You Go First (Authenticity for Leaders) Lesson #3
I mean, occasionally, she does respond to my voice the first time I speak, but in general, I cannot get her to hear me clearly and to respond. But to my husband and my (adult) sons, and friends occasionally over for dinner, she always responds swiftly and fairly accurately,
Tiny Kisses- Mothering and Work Goodbyes
If you are a manager of people at every level, you should know that people are watching your every move. I don’t mean that they are consciously, every second of the day, paying attention to your day-to-day habits and patterns. Rather, employees who work for you are simply tuned into what their supervisor does in a way that is both unconscious and insidious. They don’t even notice that they notice when you come to work, how you act under stress, and when your words do not match your actions. They just do.
Name the Ugly, Scary and Hard (Authenticity for Leaders) Lesson #2
It was when her lips touched the back of her baby’s neck that my heart swelled, and the tears came. The tenderness of it silently snuck in. A random moment of mothering that I am sure the mother (whom I don’t know) didn’t even really think twice about. She just was relishing, taking in the scent, the joy, the warmth of her little one in a spontaneous moment of stillness. It was pure, unconditional, centering, powerful, love.
Unpacking Being Real (Authenticity for Leaders) Lesson #1
Lesson #2 Name the Ugly, Scary, and Hard
We do not like to talk about the hard stuff. The unsavory, the complex, the things that might
hurt, sting, offend, make messy, or confuse. It makes sense. For nearly a century, management practice has
scrubbed feelings out of the workplace as if they are dirty. But Bravespace workplaces are built upon the
recognition that feelings are essential elements work that we must work through together.
What does this mean for leaders? As always, leaders have to go first. For many of you this may make your palms sweat. What? I have to talk about my feelings? But I don’t like talking about the hard stuff anymore than my employees. Well, get used to it.
Lesson #1 Walk Your Talk
In my upcoming book (Bravespace Workplace: Making Your Company Fit for Human Life; Maven House Press; May 21, 2019) I define a bravespace workplace is one in which people can show up as they are, both worthy and flawed, and do great things together. Rather than being carte blanche for people to wear their bathrobes to work and blurt out their thoughts at the expense of others, being real at work means something completely different. What being real means is unique to each one of us. We know it in our gut when someone is showing up authentically, and we can sense when someone is faking it. No amount of reading, training, or degrees can guarantee that we’ll capably be true and real with others at work. This essential trait is a tricky one for leaders to land sometimes for leaders who read the books and go to classes and may unwittingly lose their way in being themselves while also leading.
Loving Men: Rethinking Women's Role in Defining Masculinity
Okay, so, admittedly, I am not close friends with Glennon (Doyle). I do not drink tea with Brene’ (Brown). I’ve never shared a field with Abby (Wambach), walked the block with Bell (Hooks), played Pass the Pig with Oprah (Winfrey), or laughed out loud with Liz (Gilbert.) Yeah, sure I know some of them: Glennon amazingly endorsed my upcoming book—thank you @glennondoyle; I’m on Brene’s Dare to Lead™ team and after a session with her chatted about my cool boots and the work we would do together—thank you @brenebrown; Abby listened to my book read aloud by Glennon and Honey—I LOVED Wolfpack @abbywambach.) But really, I’m a superfan only—they do not know me from dust, although I sometimes fantasize that they feel me out here.
I love men. As a heterosexual, CIS gendered, white woman, it has been part of my unconscious legacy to support, befriend, marry, work with, and raise boys and men.
And it’s my love of men that makes me scared for them. I am deeply troubled about the state of men today. This matters because as most of us know, any group can only move ahead as fast as its slowest member. What is real for me is that if men as a social identity group fail to thrive, it will impact all of us. I want to talk today about my own hard learning about what gender equity means in the truest sense.