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, your Schmitz, and I welcome you to this episode.
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 0:26
Here is part two of our conversation.
Malini Janakiraman 0:30
How do you help people understand that they've got to stop and step back in order to make change? I'm just gonna put that out there. I'm not sure. I think we have to grapple with it. There are no easy answers. Right? And I'm curious to see what all of you think about that. That's the
May Snowden 0:49
Joerg Schmitz 0:53
But this is the challenge, right? I mean, I bet I think this is this is what Akosua was trying to say. And I'm sorry, I'm using first and last names interchangeably. And and this is the same thing that Emma and Jack were mentioning around personal mosaic. I mean, mosaic is perhaps just another way of looking at intersectionality. And in our own biography, in our own personal experience is Stephanie reminded us, and I think that's where this lives, you know, these, and we all embody these tensions, right? With a little with variation, you know, like, if I look at myself, I never had to, you know, look at the painful parts of history that, that I my existence, and my being is implicated in, right? I mean, because we can, we can, we can not take a historical view of things, absolutely. Right, we can, we can, we can, we can, we can, you know, live with the, what is called sometimes as privileged. And even though I really struggled with the this terminology, I think it's, it's not the best terminology, but it is accurate, you know, I grew up with a lot of privilege, I did not, you know, have to think much the world was built for me, you know, as a man as a, as a white man. You know, and even the label White is acquired for me, because that's not how I grew up thinking about my own identity. And when I came to the USA, I noticed that I, there were boxes for me on forms to, to identify myself as white. And that was a new concept. I mean, it's not a mystery to me that I'm rather pale, I wouldn't even call it white. But that's what was meant, right? It's, there was a cultural distinction that was made. And that's why this, this idea of traveling outside of our worldview is so important, the white black division, or, you know, categories, or Hispanic or whatever we want to add to it is just one way of looking at the world of diversity. And this is where the problem starts when we are doing diversity, especially from a global perspective that, you know, just what in other parts of the world, yes, they are also making differentiations between people there is ranking going on all the time, as Malini has just said, it's, it's that it's around different categories and different stories and histories. And, and that's requires a bit of a humility, right? So just simply saying, my worldview gives me one take on diversity, but that's not all there is and, and cultivating that mindset and consciousness is important. That's why coming back to this, the practicality of it, that's what I love about what Emma and Jack are doing around self diversity. Because it's I think that's where it starts connecting ourselves to our own experiences, building our own mosaic and understanding what that looks like in interaction. To me your point around these T groups. And understanding this is about me, this is also about others. How does this play out in interactions? And how do I raise consciousness to the meta level Malini, right? If and then even if we can do that, we're not doing the work. I believe
Malini Janakiraman 4:31
that word humility has such power. You're in a if you just stop and ask yourself, you know, why am I here? You know, what's the reason behind this that word humility, sometimes if you can just use that in the moment? It serves so much for us to learn about ourselves, right? And the notion of serving others with humility,
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 4:58
and I think that that humility process is also something that life gives you exposure to in terms of awareness of this mosaic, right? Or building the skill to seeing the world from another perspective, or from somebody else's perspective, I think that's something really slow, right? And that it's harder and harder in my mind to, to continue to build because we're all right, connected virtually in our homes or in our little spaces, right. And this skill, right? To me, it's being exposed to diversity being exposed to those harsh identity moments where you say, Oh, I came from this privileged background that I don't have anymore in this other country. I'm not an immigrant, I'm not the elite or what I used to be very proud. Not anymore, right? sensations, I think happens and what I love about what we're talking, it's a little bit of an acceleration process, right? When we talk about race or colonialism, or I don't know, segregation, spiritually, I think it also makes you reflect and connect with your own, you know, things in a more accelerated way. So, I don't know if it happened to us. Well, while listening to the spotlight sessions, or Melanie, in your case, you were the protagonist, but maybe there was some sort of acceleration process as well for you.
Malini Janakiraman 6:26
Yes, absolutely. You know, there was, and I liked that word, acceleration, Stephanie, because we are all moving, we have to, it's a journey, right? So you're moving towards something. And there are so many different ways in which you can move, right. And, and to stir things up a little. And people may not always buy it right away. So you got to step back and ask, How can I get them there, you know, as leaders and as as, as people as human beings? So yes, you're right. It's an acceleration process. I mean, I know that word wisdom. She, she was it, she always was apologizing for using the word wisdom, right? I have to tell you that in Sanskrit, that is a very language that is important. For me. It's a very important word. Because big neon, big neon is knowledge. That translates into wisdom. Big neon, right? So for me, that's what we're trying to do, hopefully, with these spotlight sessions is to provide the knowledge that can translate into that wisdom that people can see, to step back and say, How can I make some changes to myself first? Yeah, because it's not going to happen until you make some changes to yourself first.
Joerg Schmitz 7:53
And to me, this is actually so important to the mission of this whole thing, why we're doing this, right. I mean, to me, it's about stimulating and activating collective wisdom. To just tee off your your point Malini, and I think it's about acceleration, but it's about acceleration in a world that is simultaneously also putting its foot on the brakes. Yeah. So I think, I mean, when you when I look at the world, if we are truly across a significant crossroads, there are humongous challenges of a complexity that we need to address that we can't ignore anymore. I think we've, you know, we've we've reached a threshold level where we just can't ignore it anymore. And we have for a long time, but that means we need to galvanize the capability to organize, shoot, you know, at a level that we've never as human beings had to organize before, the most significant level we've ever come to is probably organizing in global entities, like global organizations are probably a good example of that, and maybe at the United Nations level, to some degree, but neither of those forms of organizing as ineffective and difficult as they are, is we need to add scale to this now we need to organize it even more profound levels. Right? And that's, we've never as human beings never had to organize this way. And if I sound like an anthropologist now, then that's just, you know, that.
Malini Janakiraman 9:32
And it's a Dr. Bennett said it's a constantly shifting process. We know that, yes. He talks about it's a con. So you've got to teach people how to fish because tomorrow the fish will be different. Yes, yes, exactly. So, you know, in the world of inclusiveness, it's a process that you know, today it's this tomorrow, it might be something completely different. But if you don't help people to say it's a process of understanding that can be applied anywhere, anytime. And I think we've, we've lost it right. So somehow to be able to step back and help people learn how to fish. i And that, I mean, like me said, That's the million dollar challenge. But that's what I think we're all talking about here.
May Snowden 10:21
And it's so beautiful Malini I just, you know, whenever I'm talking to folks in the talent acquisition world, you know, that they are just stumped with how to fish and you know, where to find the fish that they're looking for, because they really don't know, and they don't really understand diversity, and they don't understand diversity of thought, if at all. So even you know, it's just such a, an area that we need to go much deeper on than we have ever gotten before. And I just, I get so concerned, when people only consider diversity, just race, you know, maybe national orientation, LGBT people with disabilities, gender, I get really concerned about that. Because even when you look at one group, one ethnic group, one nationality, one race that we come up with called Race, people think differently. I have different experiences. And I don't think just like other black people, just because I'm black. So but, you know, I think that there is a perception out there that I'd I would so just just recruit any any, you know, black person, right? Well, I think that we're wanting diversity of thought. Absolutely. To amongst that group of people, diversity of thought amongst every group of people. And how to get that that message across? I don't know I have, because it doesn't seem to be penetrating. Maybe York, we can come up with something that's going to be beneficial.
Joerg Schmitz 12:23
But, you know, that's, I mean, I mean, I share your deep concern, because while it is important to understand, I mean, if going back to history, right, history is a group is a group level process, or social process or group level experience. But that doesn't mean that we all of a sudden, are all the same, right? So bringing nuanced understanding to this is is so important. And yet it is so difficult at the same time, and it's even more difficult to operationalize it in, you know, in talent systems and processes. But, but that's the challenge before us, right? I mean, and that's, that's where I think true innovation can happen and needs to happen. And I think it's possible, if we're willing to shift our consciousness a little bit and shift our understanding. And this is what excites me about bringing all these different thought leaders together and experiences together, that we can actually potentially pave the way for a different type of DNA conversation. And not only a different DNA conversation, also a different type of activation of this consciousness. And this is why I'm so excited about this idea of inclusive leadership, it's an emerging leadership idea, you know, it's not by its emerging. So there's a lot to shape and to create and to research and to understand. And I linked, I believe Malini is still deeply tied to the idea of servant leadership. But it's adding a layer of of understanding on top of servant leadership, that it hasn't been fully, you know, brought into the all the the idea of servant leadership. And it is what we need to organize at that next level that we need to organize. And we can only do that if we find the right talent and bring it together in environments that are that bring the best of all these mosaics out. I don't know how else to
Malini Janakiraman 14:27
and keep asking the tough questions. Keep asking the tough, don't settle for easy answers. Because you cannot sometimes solve all this in a couple of sessions or just one thinking one go around, but you've got to be willing to grapple with the gray, which I think is very hard for a lot of our minds which wants to put things in black and white, right, that gray, you know, I talk about double loop learning in my session, and I strongly strongly advocate that right. So single loop loop Learning is focused on learning from actions. double loop learning says focus on the assumptions you made. That's right. And I mean, it's all the sound trite, they sound simple. But in the moment, if you can just stop and ask those questions, and say, Okay, I don't have an answer right now. But I have to live with this for a while, till I get to the right answer, not just to check the box answer. Right. I think we need to keep doing more of that.
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 15:33
Yeah. And I think in that exercise of activating our consciousness, it's also about what we don't know, and what are the questions that are unresolved? Right? May you mentioned right on that point that you would like to understand better? And I think that was also a consequence of the experience of listening through the sessions, where I said, Oh, this is something we haven't yet explored, were behind. It's a world out there that we would need to investigate more, do some research. So this question that I have for you is also about what we don't know, if you have a little bit more to share on the questions that triggered for you this spotlight sessions, that would be great to hear as well. Okay,
Malini Janakiraman 16:18
so I'm not sure if this directly answers your question. But this is something that I think probably does. So when we talk about groups of people, and where we put them in the rankings, etc, indigenous people don't show up very often on the radar at all. So what I don't know, is enough about their histories, their, you know, what did we do as human beings to create this, this notion of othering that has throughout the world, created problems for them? So I guess maybe, you know, that's a maybe it's more a tactical thing. Stephanie, the other than a more, you know, bringing to my consciousness, other things that are out there that I don't know. But one of the tactical things that is on my radar to learn more about and to find out is why? Well, maybe I know why. But the process by which these human beings have been hurt throughout the world, and why we're not doing enough to even raise that consciousness to the world. Some of it's happening, but I don't think we're doing enough. So that's keeps coming back to me as I listened to the speakers, right? Because I taught we each of us talked about our own experiences of feeling like we don't belong. But what about the indigenous population? It just happened? Like you're if you look at every continent, it's been a pattern. You know, and for those of you who don't know, it's happens in India in a big way. And social social equity programs are trying to address that. But it isn't very obvious. It's not talked about, it's not in the open.
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 18:15
Thanks, Melanie, for sharing that. May York. What what's on your
May Snowden 18:21
one of the things that is so difficult for me, to help people with is addressing their fears? And what would it take for them to have the courage that it would take for them to start practicing a different habit? Because they're used to their habits, they're comfortable with their habits? They, you know, they're not really sure what will happen if they change their, their habits, you know, Will they still be received by their group of people around them? Or will they be rejected? I, there's so many things that I think people are concerned about. But that is something that really does concern me is how do I, how do I help people? Number one, identify what their fear is, what's causing their fear. And I think that this has to really start early in life and in our, you know, at a young age, you know, seems like the kindergartens aren't afraid of anything. They just are out there playing with everybody they love, you know, they want to play and it's just fun. And I just love the little kids because they're not looking at trying to do identity or anything. So they have a goal, their vision, you know, that's play. But with adults, it's quite different. Stephanie, and I don't know if we really understand what that is what that little thing is. Now Malini has addressed it a little Based on what she has spoken about and what her experience has been, however, I'm still somewhat very, very concerned, because people are afraid. And I think it's giving up power. That's something I want to understand this power dynamic, a little bit more. But this fear thing, can we do delve into? What is fear? I don't know, we don't teach neuro diversity in schools. So kids don't really understand how how, how we're wired, and what we can do to unwire some things. So I think it starts way back in the school system.
Malini Janakiraman 20:45
Well said, Man, I think that's, that's, that's very crucial. Like what you said,
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 20:50
your What about you? What are you thinking,
Joerg Schmitz 20:53
oh, there's so many, many things that I'm thinking about, and that I hope we can we can develop further. I mean, some we have already mentioned, like, like language and, and the language, cultural connection, English, non native native, you know, there are a lot less a lot more to do. Also, I think we need to, you know, dig deeper into religion, and religious diversity. It's one of those things that are so essential to our, and this is ultimately where I would like to go really an exploring of identity. I mean, personally, I think that's has a lot to do with a fear reaction you talked about me, and, and identity is one of those things that is difficult. And it's also infinitely expandable. You know, I mean, that's the good news. You know, we think it's a limited resource, but it's actually extremely expandable. And, and I think that's focusing on identity is a little little is important. And then one thing, because this is a dimension of identity, obviously, we know that sexuality is but I think, and yeah, I mean, there's quite sincerely in all of the discussions around sexuality and gender, men are still kind of off the hook. You know, I mean, men are not in the habit of talking about what it's like to be a man in the world, what it's like to be a man at work. Right. And it's a very simple thing. I don't mean, this is not about you know, you know, it's some kind of critical, you know, and a challenging notion, but when we say we now, we men are not used to talking about what it's like, to the male experience, for all the things we know about privilege, and so forth. Right. And, and I would love to make some inroads there, and normalizing just how women have to think about what it's like to be a woman, or a minority, in the workplace or in in the culture, that's, that's you wake up with that realization. You know, men don't hit a hole, and it's a choice. And I would like to somehow, you know, make it safe to make that choice. You know, somehow. Yeah, and ultimately, to me, it's all connects to, again, I'm bringing up Laura Liswood. Now around this, this elephant and the mouse dynamic she describes, to me, it's all anchored in inside or outside of dynamics. This may seem like a very abstract idea. And it can be, and it is an abstract idea, but we need to personalize that idea. That leads us to the mosaic, and to us being reflections of history. And so to me, that's the gateway into a change in consciousness.
Malini Janakiraman 23:48
Just going back to your male comments, getting to know maybe 80% of the suicides in the United States are men. Yeah. So I think it's critical to start exploring this. And I found it, I think, is based on what you're just saying about it being unexplored.
Joerg Schmitz 24:09
And that's why I think it's so dangerous to us to carelessly use this idea of privilege. Because, I mean, it reminds me, Stephanie, since you asked us about a personal personal example, I was just sitting literally at a restaurant and I overheard a conversation in the in on the next table. And it was a man, I mean, you know, talking to to just rule and they must have just gone through some sort of a diversity training or whatnot. But he was extremely livid because of this word, you know, privilege, you know, which and then he said, You know, I've never had privilege. I grew up in a poor family and, and, and, you know, I worked very hard for what I have and I struggled and who are these people who are now telling me I live some sort of a privileged life. And of course, I mean, I know academically and whatnot, that's a totally misunderstanding of the idea of privilege, right? I mean, that in an accurate and this is another problem that I have sometimes is that we, we take concepts from that are academically sound and an academic environment where the words make perfect sense. And they're well documented and researched and whatnot. And they come from from a from an academic discourse, and we take them into the corporate environment, or the organization where we just use those words, and then they don't resonate, or they, they get created backlash. And that doesn't mean the idea isn't sound, but the way we deliver it is terrible. Yes, I guess I and this is not a non inclusive, we're already setting up a clash, and a terribly non inclusive way of of talking about a really important thing. And why would we do that. And then it becomes our goal for people to understand their privilege, when in fact, we losing sight that the real goal is social transformation. It's not for us to understand somebody that somebody else gets the idea of privilege, it's, it's about that, can we actually bring about social transformation. And so I'm just saying that because I think there is a lot, a lot of work that needs to be done in that space.
May Snowden 26:31
I definitely agree with with that, this whole area of privilege, which is just everybody has the advantages in some place. And it just does not go off very well with white males, because they, when we talk about it, we aren't we're almost like pointing a finger. But if we stop pointing fingers, and if we stop coming in with a judgmental attitude, and talk about, I have some privileges I have I have two master's degrees that give me privilege. You know, my income gives me privilege. The area that I live in, gives me some privilege. Everything gives me privilege, everything you know, so privilege and advantages is not a bad word. It's kind of like the belonging word. It's not a bad word. It's just our experience with it, and how how, you know, what it means to us based on our history. So if we could spend more time giving examples of it, you know, as your speakers did, in almost all of the all of the conversations, we heard a little bit about people that's, you know, where you have some advantages and how to use your advantage. So you have an abandoned for a reason. Yes. Got to turn it into some behavior. Inclusive behaviors.
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 28:10
I think it's a very hard self awareness process to be smithy fi meritocracy as well, right? Like, I think about myself, as I earn this master degree I earn, you know, my job, I earned this promotion. But it's, I think, act of humility, also to say, there was so much given to me that I didn't do anything, right. So I think that's a slow process and a very hard won by to, like, see your sense of self in the mirror in a more honest way? Yeah. And so like, maybe a diversity training, like a half day session will not get it get you. It's a really no process. And I love the sessions, because maybe they're long, maybe they're repetitive, maybe they, you know, they inter interlock, like the content, right? Maybe they're not so different, one another, right. But the fact of going again, through again, this difficult process that inevitably we think about ourselves, while we're listening to the experts, right, I think it's the way to go if we want to move forward. So I think we're at the top of the hour of this conversation, and I would like to thank you, right and ask you if there's any final thoughts, something that you would like to share to this group, and then we'll close the session.
May Snowden 29:35
One of the things I did want to kind of finalize was, what I got from Samuel, Mark Samuel and Milton Bennett. Was that if this is going to also be a business strategy, if culture is the organization, if culture is the organization, then this topic is going to really After change, RSR C suite, people don't understand the magnitude of this whole work, they just don't understand that, if they did, they wouldn't put CDOs in positions that are managers that are 10 levels below the CEO, you could have no impact, no budget, no nose, no support, that wouldn't be happening, but that is happening. So consequently, people really still don't understand that this the the magnitude, the business, connection to diversity, inclusion and equity. And if we could do some of those things that Mark Samuel and Milton Benton are talking about, so we can build that framework to get a strategy that is going to be sustainable, then we're going to be off and running. But until that happens, we will just still be pattering around not going anywhere, but But working hard.
Joerg Schmitz 31:05
Yeah. Not leveraging the transformational opportunities we have true. And I think, you know, and just reflecting on this, and, you know, first of all, I thank you for, for, for what you said about this effort. But for me, your reflections also helped me shape what's next in the institute, you know, and that's, that's equally important, you know, so I'm sitting here and, you know, I really want this to become a space where we can take all those challenging thoughts, the unbaked thoughts, the doubts, the tensions, the contradictions, that are riddling this work, and explore it together into in a safe context, where we don't make the assumptions of some moral superiority or whatnot, where we are inferiority, not just superiority, but where we can explore the loose ends, you know, and don't default to simplistic answers, or celebrating or whatnot, when, but where we actually think that inclusive leadership is a key to sustainable DNI efforts. And also the DNI efforts that need to expand significantly beyond the scope and the framing that they have, have had so far, you know, differences are, and diversity is a challenge in the world, you know, at any level, you know, even thinking about social systems, economic systems, leadership philosophies, let's say, or just organizing as a team in a global organization, relating effectively to others, you know, in on its own small and in large ways. It's a phenomenal challenge, and we don't quite have figured it out yet. Otherwise, we wouldn't be, you know, recreating and looking at the same challenges. So I'm, I'm taking this everything that you've said, really, as a, and I've taken some good notes here, I hope to frame out what what we need to tackle what we need, where we need to develop resources, where we need to do a little bit of, of learning and development together, you know, what experts to invite, and that may come from very different fields, actually, that can inform this, right? It's not just that we need to always just listen to DNI practitioners again, that, you know, but we actually need to broaden and build an interdisciplinary kind of mindset throughout this. But I mean, I can't thank you enough for resonating for for resonating with this, and then actually building the agenda. You know, and and because it's emerging, that's, you know, for me, at least, it's a very emerging field of exploration, and we need a container that enables that exploration.
Malini Janakiraman 34:05
Thank you, Your, Stephanie, for bringing us together and for moderating for us. Thank you. Yes,
Stephanie Froimovich-Hes 34:12
thank you for the three of you for, you know, having the safe space and sharing our doubts, not just what we know. But what we don't know that I believe it's equally important. So thank you for so much, and we'll talk again soon.
Malini Janakiraman 34:28
Thank you, everyone. Bye,
May Snowden 34:30
Joerg Schmitz 34:38
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