Joerg Schmitz 0:08
Welcome to the inclusive leader podcast. The practice of inclusive leadership enables us to tackle the complex challenges of our times. This is the space for conversations about inclusive leadership. I am your host, Joerg Schmitz, and I welcome you to this episode. Welcome to this episode of the inclusive leader podcast. It is a great pleasure of mine to introduce you to Imago welcome and Jacques Attali. Both are running the query tool and vac starts in Bremen, Germany, equal to unbox that essentially means cultural workshop. And in this workshop, they're actively engaged in applying inclusiveness principles, to stitching together the social fabric between companies and governments, communities and other organizational stakeholders. And they have been doing this at the global level, a concept that they have developed along the way is the idea of self diversity, or what they call in German, Eitan few thoughts. And this has become a real recipe to reaching cross distinctive stakeholders to create better outcomes for all. And that's ultimately the definition of inclusive leadership. So without further ado, it's a pleasure to share my conversation with them. And I am very hopeful that you will be intrigued by their approach and their learning enough, so to learn more. So here's my conversation with Emma and Jack. So I, it's really a pleasure to have both of you in this in this podcast. So I'm just curious. I mean, as I ask everybody, so what do you do?
Imme Gerke 2:01
We are government and industry advisors. And we work worldwide. That means we are sometimes we are bringing Governments together across political borders, across national borders, across continental divides, we bring companies together who have a shared business interest or who are looking for somebody, and we established the contract. And sometimes it is the company in the one country and the government in another country. Or it is no actually that is the last option. Or no in sometimes it is government and industry in the same country. And we help companies to deal with their own government. Everything that we do has something to do with food. So we are in either it's crop production, or its crop protection, meaning pesticides, or fertilizers and things like that. It's processing, it's its packaging, its shipping, it's all of it. But some are related to people eating and all the permits and authorizations and certifications and tools and everything surrounding we see ourselves not as another wheel. In the motor, we adjust the oil in the motor, that means we come in and we make the motor work more smoothly, more efficiently. We wash the sand out of the motor, because there's a lot of sense in it. And because of what we are doing there. So what allows us to do this is on one hand, we are scientists, we're both biologists, we have worked in agriculture now for about 40 years, we have been government. So we were advisors to the Canadian government, as civil servants. We are working on the international scene since 1994. That means with a NAFTA with the EU, with an OECD within the UN and so on. So we know that field. And at the end of the day, when it comes down to individual people doing or not doing something, it becomes human. And it becomes a question of self engagement of leadership. So this is what we also do and what allows us to do that is a training that we got from a Swiss government many years ago, before we were sent to Africa where we lived and worked for many years.
Joerg Schmitz 4:34
And this is why I thought this was directly related to the idea of inclusiveness in that you you have this deep experience in bridging industry and governments and different types of organizations in order to create something together or create or just just understand each other. Right and that's, that's so much part of what I understand you to focus on On the elements of how do we come together and achieve something together create a common outcome when our organizations are so different, right? And even our cultures are so different.
Imme Gerke 5:11
Absolutely. And so at the base of this, so when we come down to the individual, then it's really a question what can the individual person do. And this is where the concept of self diversity comes in. The more divided diverse we are as an individual, the more we are able to interact with others around the world. And that self diversity means you develop your own infrastructure. And that's important to not get lost in the whole complexity
Joerg Schmitz 5:42
in I'm really intrigued. And Jack, I'm curious what your what your take on this is, because, and usually I'm I'm so used to people thinking about diversity as being about others, right? I mean, maybe it's a little bit about ourselves in relation to others. But you were really one of the first people that I've heard talking about self diversity. Yeah, what does does that mean? Actually,
Jacques Drolet 6:09
yeah, I love that the concept so much that I had to think about a German word to describe it in German is not my language. But I heard so very often, people the first description of the concept was third culture, which applies not only to culture and it's clear, men, woman are two different culture profession, lawyers versus scientists, etc. And we all know that the question is, how can we create a better world with those different very sometimes value based different attributes and but what languages we all know is extremely important and in German did not react well to the word Third Culture, cross culture, surprisingly enough, is English and I would say a certain proportion react allergic ly to define a German word. So I have worked when not alone with a lot of people, which word would be in? Yeah, I can feel files came up. And then actually, I can feel filed is a better descriptor than the English cross culture, which call it people tend to different culture with Chrono Cross culture, which led us to a direct translation for an eigen field file to self diversity. And actually, that's the base. And out of that, you can move into what you call leadership, inclusion, inclusion, leadership serve. And then we extend to servant leadership, which I'm sure most people have heard of, which is probably a truer leadership, and swarm ship, which is probably my preferred, you have
Joerg Schmitz 7:48
an inter intimate connection to the word swarm ship, right.
Jacques Drolet 7:53
Yeah. So yeah, that's that's the only take and just to basically emit covered it all. That's why remain exceptionally silent. I would simply add to the government and industry growers are in our field, key partners, tea groups, because so far, you know, when you think about sustainable agriculture, most of the time is the company deciding what it makes sustainability. And we know by experience in Canada, and in the developing world, and in the US, and Europe, this is not how it works. That is not where sustainability is system, driven by the users by the girl works with a certain influence from the consumers, but they don't understand as much as the growth, but from that, to achieve that, to bring those people together, so they don't kill each other, or, you know, even animosity is not a good ingredient, you got to bring in allow people to develop the abilities to deal with a diversity. And that is when you develop yourself the ability to own and enjoy and thrive with your own merits.
Joerg Schmitz 9:02
So I'm now imagining this, you know, this environment where people represent different different organizations, different institutions, some for profit, some governmental growers, as you said, and this with a sense of animosity, and so forth. And and you're coming in with the idea of self diversity as a solution. I'm just imagining what that feels like. Because it, it must get awfully contentious or difficult when when you're in that type of an environment. It
Imme Gerke 9:36
is. And typically when we walk in, we are the only ones with self diversity. At least we are the only ones who are aware of it and to constantly work on it. So in self diversity, you build yourself like a mosaic. And to build a mosaic you need different pieces. And the question is where do those pieces come from? I can take these pieces from other cultures, I can take it from other fields of work. So if I'm a farmer, and I learn something about the work of a regulator, or the processor, or the trader, or the regulator learn something about the farmer, they integrate these pieces in themselves. So this is what they need, they need each other, to develop self diversity. It has to come from somewhere, it doesn't grow in us, we have to collect it. And so you really, for building yourself, you collect in the knowledge of the other. So it's not anymore, I am right, and you are wrong, or here is me, and let's forget about you. But it is okay, I need what you think. And I need what you know, to be able to design myself,
Jacques Drolet 10:54
or in a particular situation, if you're very precise, subject at hand, then it's not me that say A, it's not you B, it's not a compromise in between that is the old thinking school, it is C that we built both, and where we both get 100% of our
Joerg Schmitz 11:19
Imme Gerke 11:20
Now you're missing the image of the triangle, right? ABC being a triangle. That's what
Jacques Drolet 11:25
I meant. And to go back to our original question, the worst the tensions at the beginning, the biggest dissatisfaction and the end,
Joerg Schmitz 11:34
the biggest satisfaction at the end, but the satisfaction at the end, because people can look back and see where where they come from, essentially. I mean, it's really, I imagine this developmental journey that people that transforms people.
Imme Gerke 11:49
Yes, absolutely. But it's not only by looking back, and seeing how far they came, it is also to see, wow, I got way more than I thought I wanted when I came here. So both are all three or four sides, leave the room, not in a compromise where everybody sees what they have lost. But everybody leaves with a feeling my I gained this and this and this and this, and I didn't even know that was an option. So this is where the deep satisfaction comes from.
Joerg Schmitz 12:21
And how powerful I mean, I'm just thinking about this. I mean, obviously, you're doing this in a sector, that's incredibly important. And it's becoming I mean, in the world we are experiencing right now is becoming even more important, right? I mean, when you think about food, and everything related to food. But I can see so many applications for this, because we're stepping literally, I mean, we've probably all experienced this after the COVID experience that public private partnerships will become so much more important to tackle the big and smaller challenges that we all face, from climate change to peace, to trade, to development to health, the security, just managing the tremendous social pressures that many societies are under.
Imme Gerke 13:13
Yeah, and I actually think all societies are under, the question is, how are we dealing with it? And then we're having those who say, Okay, Let's cooperate, right, we are sharing this planet, as the kids say, there is no planet B. And I would agree with that. So and the planet is round, so we can't avoid each other. So the approach is cooperative. In my mind, that's the only sustainable approach. And then there's the other approach, which we currently see happening in Ukraine, which is the old approach, where I just walk into somebody else's country, and I just, I find that I do war and whatever. There's nothing of cooperation. And I think this is why it becomes so personal nowadays. Everybody follows every minute of what's happening in Ukraine. And we know it could be different. And we know it should be different. And we know where it should result. We see how the fight in Ukraine affects the hunger in Africa. It's, I mean, anybody who hasn't got the point yet is I don't know, lost somewhere, I guess. Well, then the question is, as a person, where do I find my place in that in that complexity, and I think that only works through self diversity. It doesn't tell you what to do. But it gives you options to design yourself and your role in the overall system.
Joerg Schmitz 14:39
It's really powerful. And but it's also daunting, I assume, right? So I'm just wondering, I mean, because I asked everybody, why do you do this? Why is that your focus? And I mean, I can almost sense the answer a little bit because you already talked about creating a better world and so forth. But you know, for You personally, what, why are you doing this work?
Imme Gerke 15:02
I think I mean, we're two people probably with two different motivations. The good thing is they are compatible. I got involved in this because I didn't as a child, I didn't like Germany, I really didn't. Germany wasn't good to me. I didn't like it. And then I was lucky enough to meet somebody who told me you know, what, out there in the world, you know, they go, Look, there's a lot of good stuff, just go. And so that's when I left. And I found a lot of good stuff. I really, really did. And on this path, I also found a lot of bad stuff, seeing children in Africa dying of hunger, and you can save them changes you. So there is no way of saying, okay, you know what, now I retire, I don't care anymore. Yeah, I do care. And I will never stop caring. And now I'm back in Germany, because everything that I have learned, I want to bring here because Germany isn't up to speed on these things. So this is why we do what we do. But our focus is not on Germany, our focus is on people around the world to develop self diversity and practice it. It's funny,
Joerg Schmitz 16:08
I just had had this image of the hero's journey in my head, you know, because the hero in after, after leaving always comes back. Right and is transformed.
Imme Gerke 16:18
It's so true. Okay, I should look up some books and about heroes. See where they are?
Joerg Schmitz 16:27
Well, Joseph Campbell, highly recommended. Jack, what what's your motivation? I mean, in this because even said, you know, there are two motivations here.
Jacques Drolet 16:37
Yeah. Yes. And, you know, they, as Emma said, they complement each other, but in a way a little bit different. For me, I see that the European project has to succeed if we want to make it as a species. So shortly put in a nutshell, it doesn't come by itself. In a good example of the war. I wouldn't focus. I mean, of course, it's elements all over the place. But you have those tensions, those populistic tension, there was impatience, there was frustration. Everywhere. Let's think about the Republican in the US. And what's happening now, let's think about the ifd in Germany and, and the LePen in France. And I can go on and on and on. And they they're all they are popular, and Erdogan is popular. In Hungary, II was re elected with a majority. How do we explain that, and how to change that, for example, I explained this easy, people are frustrated, I just said it and the reasons for that. And then I'm back to what I started with. I don't think it's if we don't have the abilities to deal with diversity, and I mean, diversity, in general, professional gender, cultures, language, religion, you name it, if we don't have the abilities to thrive, with those differences with a variability and being able to do it on a time scale. So time has changed, namely, changes, it's not going to go well, where and we won't even have the energy to deal with the most important aspect, which is level one. So we need now and that is my hope. We need that training. Like we need math and history courses training. And in the primary school in the secondary school. We need it all over the place. So that takes over populism in Yes, we have to deal with the adults of now because they are now in charge. But we have to plan on a long term strategy the same way as we had it would be if you want the new philosophy, mandatory courses that were taken away of all schools in the world, because it was too empowering, applied, I can feel father training, self diversity training so that people can thrive with the way the world is we say Up Global. It's cool. Globalization, fantastic. Yes, only if we can deal with it. And not through violence. As soon as your violent your solution includes violence, think again, and practice your identity fast.
Joerg Schmitz 19:25
It's great, because, you know, I think in in this right now, and you gave so many examples that the opposite of inclusive leadership is divisive leader. Right, and polarizing leadership. And, and certainly we see a resurgence of that. Partially because it's easier, right? You know, and, and so I really like your emphasis on it requires training. It requires practice, to put something a force against the elements of divisive or polarizing leadership.
Jacques Drolet 19:59
Yeah, Just a little comment before Bucha what you said it takes sorry, it takes energy, the natural tendency is maybe at the beginning easier, but then you realize, oh, then what the Diuron, right? And then then it's really tough. So prefer to spend my energy originally, and then enjoy this life,
Imme Gerke 20:20
I would just like to say one more thing about leadership, yuck, because you just brought up leadership, again, I think for leadership, you know, to for leaders, to develop self diversity is so important for us to implement any change, because nobody of us starts life as a leader, we grow into the role. So the younger generation that is now coming up, and might actually be more diverse, might actually have more self diversity, by nature, because of the effects of globalization. When they meet leaders that do not have their own self diversity, then the leaders feel insecure in dealing with the people they are supposed to manage. But they have skills that they the leaders have not. So we have to make sure the leaders are fit to lead those who are just coming. This for me is why the reason is so strong to deal with the leaders to help them develop self diversity.
Joerg Schmitz 21:26
And that's why I am so excited to have you're part of this institute, actually, because there is a lot I mean, precisely because of what you just said, there is a lot of learning that needs to happen and openness to integrating that into the way we lead. And that leaders understand the dynamics with the people with their followers, in a certain sense, although that's not enough, not a comfortable word for me, at least. So as we are, we're bringing at least this conversation to a close, I'm wondering whether each of you have like one really practical sense of advice or skill you would like to leave people with today, at least, I know they'll they'll have opportunities to engage with you much more. But just wondering if there's one thing that people could actually do, maybe something that helps them build their eigen field vote.
Imme Gerke 22:21
I mean, obviously, there are many, but I think the one where it really starts is to stop, just to stop yourself on the track you're on and wait for what is coming from the other, let it come to you. Don't try to control it, let it come, take it in, don't make a wall. And trust that you yourself can do something with it. So you know, trust that you can deal with whatever is coming your way from the other one. And then you can start building, but you first have to allow it instead of suppressing it. That takes courage and lots of training,
Jacques Drolet 23:05
well, then I will hook on to your train. And I will say once you have achieved that you have stopped and something comes to you every day, if not many times today, then the more difficult it is the more fantastic and fantastical portunity lives. And I'll just give an example. That just comes to mind. Last Saturday, as we were supporting a local activity, there was a traditional for family or for generation dentist that was beside us. And just then comes a an afro German attacking him or fundamentally and his understanding. So this was, you know, a wonderful, somebody could have said, Oh my God, they are going to fight the dentist was 70 years old and the young African was 35. And the muscle mass was a bit. And I saw around me, everybody beside one person and me went went away. When you have such a tension situation. Of course, that's that's not the traditional context in a business meeting. But it's just an example, the highest detention, the more beautiful, the opportunity to Yeah, to make a change in the aggression or misunderstanding or coming up at eye level, understanding the other and then taking it from there. So that was the hook. Once it comes to you. Whatever comes it's a wonderful opportunity. So in other words, also not being afraid of that conflict or that tension that that emerges, right? That was it. You'll have that because it's like math. To resist
Imme Gerke 24:52
the urge to connect to one side. Just don't be there for both
Joerg Schmitz 25:00
That's hard to do. But powerful for sure.
Imme Gerke 25:06
Absolutely, and self diversity grows by doing it.
Joerg Schmitz 25:09
So thank you for this conversation. And I'm really excited to, to bring you into this what we're building here and you'll find, I think a great audience for what you do and also some reinforcers as well. So, so thank you for for sharing this with me and us today and more to come.
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