A Call for Interdependence

A Call for Interdependence

Today’s business leaders face incredible pressure to anticipate, adapt, and produce. Unfortunately, ongoing uncertainty and increasing demands cause many to fall into the trap of over-management. And it’s not uncommon: when a system crumbles and a new one is not yet fixed in place, we get a lot of chaos and confusion. Figuring out what’s next is not easy for business and organizational leaders. What are the questions they need to be asking in order to find clarity? How do they find a new vision, when there is ongoing uncertainty about any return to former norms? What leaders need is a balance of independence and interdependence. They need to focus on economics and management issues, as well as how they respond to social, technological, cultural, political, environmental, and religious issues. Childcare, education, and working remotely have a tremendous impact on how they do business. Meeting after meeting leaves workers with very little time to actually do the work and complete assignments as agreed. We need to rethink our previous assumptions about how we do business, and where we are going. What we have known about the past and assumed about the present is no longer sufficient to prepare for the future. Effective leadership requires a balance of interdependence and independence. Interdependence versus Independence Is your attitude about individualism based on your social class? According to research published in 2017 by the Harvard Business Review, yes. But, it may also be shaped by your geography. Colin Woodward, author of American Nations (Penguin Group, 2011), writes that our attitudes about interdependence and independence stem from eleven distinct regional cultures in North...
Confrontations that Create a Win-Win-Win

Confrontations that Create a Win-Win-Win

What has been your experience with confrontations? When did you last initiate one? Confronting someone for their behavior today is no easy feat, especially when emotions are easily triggered and opinions vary. When expectations are left unmet—including protocol infractions, civil disobedience, illegal behavior and everything in between—frustration, lack of accountability, and broken relationships become the norm. But those who foster positive confrontations can create win-win-win solutions. If you’re like many of the people I speak with, you likely avoid confrontations. And I don’t blame you: we don’t want to make matters worse. But, when we say nothing, we perpetuate the problem (and in some cases, become co-conspirators.) What if we could make a positive difference? Most of us are not highly skilled in win-win-win confrontation. We feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. Instead, we can learn and practice positive confrontations: address the issue in a way that supports the wellbeing of self, others, and the relationship between the two. Calculating Risks and Rewards in Confrontations Conflicts can range from disappointments (i.e. someone not meeting our expectations) to micro aggressions, to outright dangerous and/or illegal behavior. And yet, we are often hesitant to say anything. Why is that? Our willingness to speak up changes based on what’s at stake.  In general, most of our daily conflicts boil down to: Priority or value differences Behavior or communication style differences Inequality (or perceived inequality) In Crucial Accountability (McGraw-Hill Education, 2013), authors Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler share their 30+ years study on confrontations.  When they asked people why they remained (or became) silent in the...
How is Your Organization Fighting Racism?

How is Your Organization Fighting Racism?

How is your organization fighting racism? A 2017 analysis of racial discrimination revealed no improvement in hiring over time. With all the diversity training and education we have received, how can this be? To understand the collective dimensions of racism, and how different groups of colors get set-up differently, is a life-long process. Different groups have different experiences, and it’s important to learn those histories. All people who are not perceived as white continue to experience racism. They experience it in shared ways, and in ways that are unique to their group, and their position to whiteness. However, there is something profoundly anti-black in our culture. It cuts across all groups, and is a form of state sanctioned discrimination. You see, racism isn’t just about being racist. And it’s not something that just bad people do. Racism is a system of oppression—intentionally or not. And it hurts everyone. Today, most organizations offer diversity training. But we need to move beyond this. We need to learn how to listen better, learn better, and take better action to correct the systems that support racism. Ultimately, this will strengthen our businesses, those we serve, and our entire society. But most importantly, it’s the right thing to do. Black lives matter.  Key Terms for Open Discussions In her book, White Fragility, (Beacon Press, 2018), Dr. Robin DiAngelo shares her research and experiences regarding racism, and how white people often inadvertently maintain racial inequality. You see, often times, when our assumptions about race are challenged, our reactions are counterproductive. Instead, we can learn to identify these responses and engage in open discussions where we...