Juneteenth the day commemorating the end of slavery in all of America on June 19, 1865. This year, with so much recent national protests, riots and conversation of systemic racism and equity, this has come to be celebrated more nationwide this year and many companies observing this as a day of reflection.   

As many companies this year are celebrating and honoring Juneteenth as a day of reflection, I wanted to take a moment to reflect and share my thoughts. 

I am happy to see this day celebrated and honored nationwide. Even better, when we use this day to really invoke reflections on changes to help all of us ensure that systemic racism is checked and reduced throughout the organizations. 

The changes in our bias starts with a shift in our perception.  The more culturally aware and experienced we are in our daily lives, our bias in our day to day actions and decisions becomes diminished.  

 

According to Edgar Schein, there are three levels of organization culture:

"Artifacts are the overt and obvious elements of an organization. They’re typically the things even an outsider can see, such as furniture and office layout, dress norms, inside jokes, and mantras.

Espoused values are the company’s declared set of values and norms. Values affect how members interact and represent the organization. Most often, values are reinforced in public declarations, like the aptly named list of core values, but also in the common phrases and norms individuals repeat often. 

Shared basic assumptions are the bedrock of organizational culture. They are the beliefs and behaviors so deeply embedded that they can sometimes go unnoticed. "

 

Here are some thoughts on ways to shift our assumptions and bias in our workflow and lives:

1.    Expand your own perspective and your global mindset.

  •  Visit neighborhoods that are different than yours in your city

  • Attend events hosted by diverse organizations

  • Host activities that reach out to different communities

2.    Operationalize the need for equity in the daily workflow

  • Consider how you could champion the inclusive culture in your team or organization

  • Consider if there is a group that you could mentor or train with skills in your industry…Especially ones that you don't see represented in your organization or team.

  • If you are a hiring manager, think of ways to actively recruit more minorities in your company, field or industry. 

3.    Activate the global mindset in your workflow

  • If your company has cultural affinity groups, reach out to them and find out their concerns and interest areas and ways you could help or get involved.

  • Manage your team meetings with sensitivity to different cultures and communication styles

  • For those in roles related to marketing, product development and procurement, make sure you are actively thinking of diverse preferences in the marketplace. Ensure you sure you are not on auto pilot when making decisions and limiting assumptions on demographics. Actively consider if you are serving the diverse consumer base with varied interests and preferences.  You may even come across more opportunities with this approach.

4.    Lastly and most importantly, get to know more about the cultures in your city. America has the potential to be a melting pot of the cultures of the world, but, often is more like  a stew, since we tend to stay within our comfort zones and  communities We could change this by the way we spend our leisure time, who we invite to our parties, where we meet, etc.

 

Many are already doing this and more. Please share your thoughts and ways you see the changes in our work.

For those of you with this day of reflection, I wish you a peaceful and insightful day that helps  all of us move forward in a positive way together.

 

The tag line of my company, Mango Networx, is Connect Globally and Innovate. This message is intended to inspire and highlight the processes needed to connect across cultures and teams. These efforts ultimately lead to more creativity and innovation.

 References:

How to Tell if Your Company Has a Creative Culture, Harvard Business Review, 02 December , 2014 Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2014/12/how-to-tell-if-your-company-has-a-creative-culture on June 19, 2020

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