Rise Leaders Radio
How to Talk About Race at Work

How to Talk About Race at Work

August 11, 2020

Are you having Meaningful Conversations about race?

Publishing Concepts (PCI) didn’t wait for the perfect long-term solution to address concerns about race.  Drew Clancy, President, and Lori Bishop, CPO, saw people hurting and they responded. They thoughtfully organized Meaningful Conversations as a way to talk about race.  This is their first step for improving long term trust and for healing throughout the entire workplace.

Organizations are all over the map in terms of how they’re addressing the issue of racial and social justice within their own companies. I can empathize with the feelings of uncertainty and fear of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Where do you even start?

Conversations in this domain can be delicate and deserve to be handled with care.  It takes courage, commitment, and humility to open oneself to hear the experiences of those who have been marginalized. It can be uncomfortable. 

It can also be transformational – on all levels.

Following are a few quotes and several links.  I will be following up with more podcasts and tools to help you along your journey.  Stay tuned.

I specialize in helping leaders and organizations thrive.  Reach out if there’s a way I can support you and your organization.

 

[06:28] Drew:  …what I said to them that afternoon was, I’m really just here to listen and I'm interested in your perspective. Many of these guys [African American male leaders at PCI], we’ve worked together for many years but we’d never had a conversation about race or these types of issues, and it was, I will say, for me, very eye-opening and just the level of frustration, the level of discouragement, the hopelessness in certain cases around what was going on.

Each of the men told some version of a story of growing up and a parent or maybe a grandparent saying, “When you leave this house, you need to be very careful what you say, how you act, especially around law enforcement.” After that conversation, it really struck me that the advice they were getting was you essentially have to be invisible. Again, good advice but what a message to hear.

I'm just fed up, and we've reached a moment in time when action is required here. As businesses, as a for-profit business, perhaps businesses can be on the – We can be part of the solution.

 

[10:21] Lori: I was afraid.  I have learned that I’m going to have to take off some masks... There's a level of safety and caution that I wasn't sure I can let go of and really embrace from a trust perspective. I had to tell myself, as a black person, all the things that I've heard from growing up and how my safety depended on me never trusting in white people. I had to admit that to myself before I could help Drew on this journey.

 

[19:04] Lori: … the original conversations had breakout sessions … and people are very unvarnished and open …  people are embracing it. They’re asking questions. They're doing their homework. They’re sharing stories. They’re coming into levels of self-awareness that they never thought that they would have as people, and they’re doing it at work. To be able to experience this with people has been incredibly fulfilling.

 

… and people are answering with real-life experiences. We’ve made that a rule because we don't want to start debating, as Drew says, politics and a bunch of whataboutisms and frankly just ways to stay stuck on either side of this issue. … We decided that trust was the only way to get there…

Links:

Transcript

Drew Clancy

Lori Bishop

Eric Mosley

PCI

White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo

Servant Leadership

Bob Kegan

Immunity to Change

An Everyone Culture

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Renee Moorefield, PhD is committed to all aspects of wellbeing.  In our conversation, we explore resilience, what it means to thrive and the Be Well Lead Well® assessment.

 

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