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"We urgently need aligned and coherent strategies that create belonging and promote bridging." - john a. powell, Haas Institute UC Berkeley
inviteCHANGE CEO, Director of Training, and Best Selling Author, Janet M. Harvey, reflects on her experiences at the midpoint of the year and considers the choices that produced those experiences.
We urgently need aligned and coherent strategies that create belonging and promote bridging. - john a. powell, Haas Institute UC Berkeley
We are approaching the midpoint in the calendar year. That’s always a good time to pause, reflect on our experiences, and consider the choices that produced those experiences. I find myself pausing longer and reflecting more deeply this year. The continued pandemic challenge and the ripple effects of it are rewiring my worldview. I am inspired to be more patient, kinder, more available to perceive what is inequitable that I had a part in creating, regardless of intent. While all of us share a common social fabric – the human society in 2021 – we have incredibly different experiences as we live within that society. Professionals who work in human development and leadership have a structural privilege to influence how leaders exercise personal power and influence. That also means our work influences how leaders produce access to opportunity on behalf of their teams and organizations. In the name of progress, we evoke awareness and facilitate growth so good things can happen. Humm. How do we define good things?
Think briefly about how you define progress in your daily experience within the community and geography you live in and touch each day digitally. To what degree do your choices consider the impact on the greater whole of society? What bridges do you deliberately build between your actions and the ripple effect of those actions on others, including those you do not know personally? That question invites you to consider embodying a social mindset that considers choices and actions more holistically. For me, this does not mean one size fits all. It does mean considering our universal values and thoughtfully considering the different circumstances that must be respected and incorporated into my decisions to be equitable, meaning to treat each person fairly.
As we mark the passage of one year since the death of George Floyd in America, I am fiercely present to the circumstance that we cannot un-see and un-hear the injustice in our society. The question then is what choices we choose to pursue and how we produce the bravery, mindset, and skills to move toward a shared vision for equity. Equity 2.0 is a fresh vision emerging from academia and beginning to take root in cities across the US. Focusing on difference and closing gaps in our daily life is a false premise. At a minimum, it assumes that the dominant population (in any cultural context) is satisfied with their situation. Further, it assumes that non-dominant groups will find the condition of the dominant group satisfying. Neither assumption considers the invisible structural elements that produce inequity in the first place, e.g., restroom facilities at the ballpark that favors men versus women which we know by the length of the lines we endure.
As john a. powell shared in a recent podcast, the binary debate about the merits of a universal or a targeted approach to solutions for social progress is falsely based on the principle of equality. Creating equality does not produce fairness. Each person and people in any segment of the population described are situated differently. Circumstances matter a lot when considering what is fair for access to opportunity of any kind, e.g., education, living wage employment, housing, food security, and healthcare. To discover, pursue and implement equitable solutions in society, we must see, listen, think and converse holistically. Now, that’s a goal worthy of our attention as leaders and coaches! I hear the words echoing in my ears from Sir John Whitmore about the economic crises of 2008-2012. Let’s not be asking, “where were the coaches when all of this was happening?” as we think about and make choices to intervene in the decisions, options, and actions that our clients declare.
Many of you participated in our inviteCHANGE International Coaching Week learning sessions – 42 webinars over six days, reaching 14 countries in multiple languages. Our theme, “Where are you inviting change in 2021?” inspired the presenters to challenge our worldviews, reflect more deeply, acquire new perspectives and skills and redouble our contribution to societal awareness of what could be new paths toward greater inclusion and equity. My words of gratitude do not begin to express my respect and love for everyone’s contribution, participation, and passion for coaching and how that modality, in all its forms, opens doorways to living through bravery and the decency we want in our world today. Thank you!
One of the key ideas that continue to reverberate for me came from Dr. Laurence Hillman’s session about Archetypes. Do you speak archetype? You will want to learn how! One of the tweetable phrases I heard from Laurence was, “every typology is othering.” Pause read that again. We fully see what is actually happening beyond our bias, assumptions, preferences, and habits through archetypal eyes and ears. As we wind our way toward the following season, take a moment on the date of the solstice to embrace all of who you are and dream into who you want to become, to live through your fully potent self. That’s what results when you invite change.
Tune into this June 4 event to learn more about Equity 2.0: Targeted Universalism: Practice and Policy to Advance Equitable Systems Change
Experienced with individuals at the Board of Directors, “C” Chair, Executive and Senior Management levels, Janet assists executives in adopting effective habits of perception and behavior to lead and accelerate corporate strategies. Typical engagements address executive development in the following areas: articulate and inspire through clarity of vision, enable respectful challenge, debate and catalyze synergy for strategic business choices, risk/reward critical thinking about investments and shareholder value, plan leader succession and architect sustainable cultural/strategic change.
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