During this episode (“Living Beyond What If”) with guest Dr. Shirley Davis, you’ll hear –
- Perspectives on failure.
- Views on Reinventing yourself.
- Three aspects on Diversity & Inclusion a Fortune 500 company should focus on today.
During this episode (“Living Beyond What If”) with guest Dr. Shirley Davis, you’ll hear –
Dr. Davis is the President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc. She is a seasoned HR and Diversity & Inclusion global thought leader, a senior executive, a certified leadership coach, a former Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for several major Fortune 100 companies, and the author of a few books. In this episode, Dr. Davis demystifies DEI to make it practical, understandable, and implementable and discusses how leaders at all levels can create a culture of inclusion at their workplace.
If you’d like to learn more about Dr. Davis, visit her website.
For more info about the Metro DC Chapter of ATD, visit DCATD.org.
Series Announcer: Julie Waters
Hosts: Christina Eanes, Stephanie Hubka, Laëtitia Gnago, and Halyna Hodges
This episode is all about humans! Leaders aren’t always aware of how to make everyone feel included, and that’s where Dr. Shirley Davis, our guest for today, comes in. She is an author, global workforce expert, and three-time Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, helping to make critical changes to diversity, equity, and inclusion at companies from across the globe. Dr. Shirley is also the President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises Inc.
Furthermore, Dr. Shirley serves on the national boards of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the National Speakers Association and has given over 100 speeches in more than 30 countries from 5 different continents. And let’s not forget that she is also the Toastmasters International’s 2022 Golden Gavel Award Honoree.
“If you want to attract more customers, you must relate to them and serve their unique needs.”– Dr. Shirley Davis
Dr. Shirley has a lot of fascinating insight to bring to you on how HR should work today, how cultural change can happen in a company, and much more. Most importantly, she has an interesting way of implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion into any organization. She talks about that in her new book, but you can also get some of those insights if you tune into this episode!
“HR has become a partner to the employees, not just the employer.”– Dr. Shirley Davis
In this episode, you’ll learn:
Connect with Dr. Shirley
Dr. Shirley Davis has many monikers – global workforce expert, bestselling author and successful business owner, to name a few – and can now add Golden Gavel Award recipient to the list.
During an Aug. 20 ceremony in Nashville, Toastmasters International presented the Tampa resident with its most prestigious honor. The organization awards the Golden Gavel to just one person annually, and Davis joins an illustrious group of past honorees such as Dr. Joyce Brothers, Walter Cronkite and Zig Ziglar.
Founded in 1924, Toastmasters is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs. It boasts over 300,000 members in 149 countries and has presented the Golden Gavel to distinguished communicators and trailblazers since 1959.
“It’s amazing; it’s exciting, and I’m still pinching myself,” said Davis. “But what it really means for me is that all of the work that I’ve put in over my last 35 years in corporate America has come full circle in being appreciated and recognized because it has had so much impact on so many people around the world.”
Davis is the president and CEO of Tampa-based SDS Global Enterprises, a female and minority-owned C-Corporation. According to its website, SDS provides developmental solutions that enable leaders to create high-performing and inclusive cultures. While her clients span the world, SDS Global works with several local companies, including Raymond James, Vinik Sports Group and the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.
Davis, president and CEO of Tampa-based SDS Global Enterprises, is also an acclaimed author.
Through her previous experience as a chief diversity & inclusion officer for several Fortune 100 companies, Davis has offered her insights to business leaders in over 30 countries on five continents. Published by Wiley Press in January, her latest book, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for Dummies, has reached best-seller lists.
Davis also penned Living Beyond “What If?,” published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers in August 2021. She has served as a featured expert on several nationally broadcast TV shows and has written for prominent publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. She made the cover of Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, O, earlier this year – a particularly proud moment for Davis.
While she called the recognition “wonderful” as it highlights her work’s importance, Davis relishes the increased opportunities to share her message.
“About how we have to truly change our mindsets and our attitudes and behaviors as leaders because the world around us is changing,” she said. “And I’m seeing too many companies that I’m working with that are hiring our firm, whose leaders are not as inclusive. They’re not as effective working across differences.”
While many leaders throughout the country have recently increased diversity and inclusion efforts, Davis said much work remains to create opportunities and parity. She noted that some clients are just now increasing their funding of female and minority-owned businesses, and one of the most significant challenges for those demographics is just getting noticed.
Women and minorities, said Davis, are often overlooked because people in power tend to only provide opportunities to friends and colleagues that provide a sense of familiarity.
“And if they don’t happen to know a lot of minority-owned businesses,” she added. “Then they don’t usually give us the opportunity.”
Diversity and inclusion extend far beyond race and gender, Davis stressed, and encompasses many underrepresented groups. These include seniors, non-native English speakers, people from low-income backgrounds or even someone with an introverted personality in an office full of extroverts.
“We’ve got a lot more work to do in educating everyone that this is about engaging with all talent and all workers,” she said.
As the pandemic caused a shift to remote and hybrid work, business leaders must also modify employee engagement techniques. She added that at the core of those significant changes is ensuring people not seen as much in the workplace still feel included and valued.
Workers, explained Davis, are increasingly leaving their jobs due to feeling overwhelmed and experiencing burnout. She said those participating in the “Great Resignation” typically thought they were undervalued and lacked opportunities to grow and develop.
Many companies, she added, have recently increased salaries and attempted to address those issues. However, she said owners need to not only pay their employees a fair and equitable wage that aligns with the increased cost of living, but they also need to treat them with the highest level of respect and dignity.
“And the last piece of that is the company’s culture,” said Davis. “They’ve got to know what distinguishes them from other companies that their companies are leaving to go to.”
Despite her recent accomplishments – Inclusion magazine also inducted her into its Hall of Fame this year – Davis said she would continue her mission of bettering corporate environments for underrepresented populations in earnest.
She said much work remains to ensure leaders follow up their talks of increasing diversity, equity and inclusion with quantifiable results. She also plans to write another book and work on a documentary.
“I’ve got so many great opportunities, and I’m just going to ride the wave out and continue to do everything I do,” said Davis. “I’m just glad that was a natural output of the work that’s been so impactful.”
Check out Dr. Davis’ featured insights on the LittleThings
Women are stressed to the max, but there’s a good reason. Stress is a feminist issue, according to Dr. Michele Kambolis, a mind-body health specialist, registered therapist, meditation teacher, and acclaimed author and speaker who has been practicing for more than 20 years. In her new book, When Women Rise: Everyday Practices to Strengthen Your Mind, Body, and Soul, she discusses topics including how women have learned to navigate our lives in fear, postpartum depression and anxiety, gender inequality, and financial inequity and how they all tie into a women’s mental health.
We all want to set ourselves up for less stress as we navigate 2022, so LittleThings went straight to the experts for tips.
Dr. Kambolis tells LittleThings, “It’s difficult to attend to our inner world when our physical body needs attention. Imagine trying to give full presence and attention to your inner experience when your nervous system is taxed and you haven’t slept well in days, or you’re hungry because you’ve skipped your last meal, or your heart is racing from an argument you just had with your boss. If our physical and safety needs are not tended to, it’s difficult to be present enough to give our fullest attention to the work of inner knowing and self-actualization.
“Every woman’s process of discovery will be different. What you choose to integrate into your life will be unique to you. You may find yourself going through the doorways of breath work, or perhaps meditation or the alchemy of sleep will speak most intimately to you. The message I want you to know — the one I wish I had been told myself — is that anxiety is not the enemy. It is our invitation to profound and meaningful growth.”
She suggests cutting back on stimulants because they can exacerbate anxiety, doing breathing exercises first thing in the morning, offloading as much as you can and resting, limiting technology (she notes it takes your brain 20 minutes to return to a peaceful baseline after just one email), supporting your body with movement, immersing yourself in nature, and practicing mantras.
Dr. Shirley Davis, author of the book Living Beyond “What If?” Release the Limits and Realize Your Dreams, says if you want to start 2022 off with less stress, begin with learning the art and the value of saying no.
Dr. Davis tells LittleThings, “Sometimes we obligate ourselves to take on tasks that we should not be taking on in the first place. Rather than using passive-aggressive behavior, feeling frustrated, and living with regret, we can use assertive behavior by simply saying ‘no’ and staying true to our priorities and staying in our lane.”
Jennie Marie Battistin, Hollywood therapist and bestselling author, encourages her clients to adopt one mindfulness habit to help them increase balance and gratitude and enhance their ability to handle stress.
“As I make my coffee, I name three things I am grateful for at this moment,” she tells LittleThings. “This habit is like adding coins to the happiness bank, which can help offset life stress.”
Battistin warns of making resolutions, saying, “Sometimes we can create more stress by piling on the New Year’s resolution with an all-or-nothing approach. Break them down into smaller, manageable goals.”
Meg O’Neill, a life coach who offers intuitive coaching and energy healing, shares with LittleThings that you can create some kind of daily practice. “It can be very simple,” she says.
“For example, five minutes of breathing or meditation, gratitude journaling, or simply a walk in nature. Disconnect from the noise and spend some time reconnecting to your body, mind, and spirit.”
Stephanie Rosenfield, a parent and life coach who helps moms embrace their individuality and build healthy relationships with their kids and partners, notes, “What we think about increases the stress that we feel.” She tells LittleThings, “Most of us are in thought all day long. Usual go-to’s to numb out stressful feelings are binging Netflix, scrolling social media, or constant eating. These things don’t work long term.” Instead, she suggests, “Ways to get ‘above the thoughts’ and decrease the stressful feelings are to listen to music, move your body, or laugh. The goal is to get into your body and out of your thoughts.”
You can also unfollow, delete, unfriend, and block toxic and unhealthy people from your life, who can oftentimes cause stress without you even realizing it, according to Dr. Davis. “Make sure you’re only surrounded with quality, supportive, and mutually beneficial relationships,” she advises.
Kristin Micalizzi, a Reiki master teacher and coach who helps women grow and scale their business while using intuition and authenticity, shares with LittleThings, “Prioritize activities that light you up. Spend some time turning inward and getting curious about what excites you and carve out time for more of that in 2022.”
To offset financial stress, live within your means and spend less than you have coming in, according to Shari Greco Reiches, wealth manager, behavioral finance expert, and author of Maximize Your Return on Life: Invest Your Time and Money in What You Value Most.
“Do this and everything else will fall into place,” Reiches tells LittleThings. “Live beyond your means and you will face stress and anxiety. Your flexibility to make life and career decisions will be limited. Your relationships will be negatively impacted. If you find that you are living beyond your means, you have the power to change. It starts with using your core values — the priorities that you value most in your life — as a guide to budgeting and spending.”
Suzanne Sibilla, a licensed marriage and family therapist and business-life strategist with over 20-plus years of experience, recommends a “10-minute talk out.”
She tells LittleThings, “Find a supportive and encouraging friend to talk out your concerns and challenges. Schedule a Zoom, FaceTime, or phone call. Tell your friend that you’ll talk out your concerns for 10 minutes. Have your friend listen to you without giving advice or passing judgment, and do the same for your friend.”
Unni Turrettini — author, speaker, facilitator, and loneliness expert — advises prioritizing positive relationships and giving back. “Being able to help makes us feel seen, heard, and valued,” she tells LittleThings. “Contribution takes focus away from our problems and makes us feel like we matter.”
Spencer Snakard, professional certified coach (PCC), wants you to get honest and ask yourself what you actually get out of being stressed. “While you may be painfully aware of the costs — or punishments — of being stressed, most of us are completely unaware that we are also experiencing payoffs — or rewards — for it,” Snakard tells LittleThings. “Being honest with yourself about what you’re getting out of being stressed can give you the freedom to let it go.”
Dr. Bethany Cook, author of For What It’s Worth, says to shift your perspective. “Does the house really need to be spotless? Must you go to your in-laws every weekend per their request? Can you shift your internal voice to speak kinder to yourself when you mess up?”
Dr. Erik Korem, an expert in sleep and stress resilience, recommends treating your anxiety with exercise.
D’TaRelle F. Tullis says that when you’re in the moment, “Have a redirect phrase that gets you back on track, like, ‘I am choosing peace rather than this.’ Or you can just say the word ‘peace,’ while breathing deeply.”
James Bake, COO of BestSelf, notes, “We often worry about the next part of our lives without realizing that we are right in the middle of what we used to look forward to. It’s easy to get lost in ticking boxes and running on the goal-achieving hamster wheel, without making space to acknowledge and celebrate where we are and what we’ve accomplished. One of my favorite things to do is to write out my wins for the day. Especially on days when I’m feeling empty or frustrated. Whether they are big or small, taking that moment to be appreciative of the things that are in my life now helps me connect with the present and I don’t feel as lost worrying about the future.”
Remember, stress may be a feminist issue, but you have girl power to get through it in meaningful and healthy ways that fit your lifestyle.
By , DEC 30, 2021, Click to read the Shondaland.com article here
That work project that you’ve had an entire month to complete is due tomorrow. You planned to spend the whole day focusing on it — but Facebook is just so much more appealing today. You promised yourself you’d work out this morning but, wait, aren’t there new episodes of your favorite show out? And yeah, yeah, you’ll take the trash out … eventually.
For many of us, procrastination is a way of life. And while all of us do it, some of us partake more than others. According to Joseph Ferrari, PhD, a procrastination researcher and professor of psychology in DePaul University’s College of Science and Health, 20 percent of men and women are chronic procrastinators. But why do we keep doing this?
The first step to overcoming your procrastination is to understand the reasons why you may be doing it. And no, it’s not a time management problem — at least according to Timothy A. Pychyl, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at Carleton University and the author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle. “The reason why we procrastinate is we face a task that generates negative emotions in us, like resentment, frustration, or anxiety,” he says. “We’ve learned in life that we can get rid of those negative emotions, which we all want to do, by getting rid of the task.” In the short term, that works, Pychyl says. But long term, it fails because the task doesn’t typically go away. And then we’re working under time pressure.
So, procrastinating is what Pychyl refers to as “an emotion-focused coping response” and notes that we use avoidance to cope with negative emotions associated with the task.
Dr. Shirley Davis, the author of Living Beyond “What If?”: Release the Limits and Realize Your Dreams, shares these additional examples of why we procrastinate:
Now that you know why you do it, how can you stop? Experts have a few suggestions.
Since procrastination is rooted in emotion, the first step is to calm yourself down. Pychyl explains that when confronted with a task we are stalling on, the amygdala, the part of the brain associated with fight or flight, gets hijacked. An emotional response takes over, making us overwhelmed or frustrated or angry. “This really inhibits our whole ability to be planful and organized,” Pychyl explains. Thus, when you feel this way, he recommends stopping to take a few deep breaths. “Procrastination is an avoidance coping strategy, so if I can downregulate my emotional response, then I’m less likely to procrastinate,” he explains.
When you face a task and your whole body is screaming “run away,” Pychyl wants you to ask yourself: “What’s the next action I would take on this task if I was going to do it?” If you were putting off making a call, for instance, the first step would be to find your phone. “This is just a tiny, little action; it’s not thinking about the whole call,” says Pychyl. The idea is if you keep this action tiny, then you’ll ultimately realize, “‘Well, I can do that.’ … And that puts our focus on action and takes our focus off of our emotions,” Pychyl says. This primes the pump to get us started, and Pychyl says that, per his research, “Getting started is everything.”
So, if you walk into the kitchen and it’s a huge mess, don’t say, “I’m going to do the dishes.” That, says Pychyl, is too overwhelming. “Instead say, ‘I’m going to pick up that one plate and wash it.’” Once you get going, you’ll be more apt to continue.
Let’s say that you’re procrastinating on a report. Stop and consider the emotions you’re feeling. If you identify that you are feeling really anxious about doing this report, ask yourself, why is that? “Well, because it’s so darn important,” says Pychyl. In this situation, he says it’s important to acknowledge: “I’m having anxiety because this is really important to me.” But once you recognize that the fact that this report is really important, use it as a motivator to get started instead of looking at it as something to avoid.
Instead of saying, “I’m going to exercise this morning,” Pychyl says to tie it into a specific task. So try: “When I finish my coffee, I’m going to go for a walk.” “The when/then statement is very powerful because we’re creatures of habit,” he explains. “And if we can put the cue for action in the environment, then we just don’t rely internally on our habits anymore.” Pychyl, for instance, learned to floss his teeth by using the following implementation intention: “I told myself, ‘When I pick up my toothbrush, then I will put the floss on the counter.’ So, that when/then statement puts the cue for the action into the environment,” he explains. “Whenever he puts his toothbrush down, he picks up the floss.”
Davis says to enlist a few trusted friends and tell them your goal, task, or dream –– and when you plan to accomplish it. “Allow them to check in on your progress and celebrate your milestones along the way,” she says. When you feel the tendency to procrastinate, she suggests calling one of these accountability partners and talking about it. This has certainly worked for Zachary Hoffman, who runs Digital PR. “Each morning, my accountability partner and I check in and tell each other what we’ll be working on that day and what our goals are,” he explains. “We check in twice during the day and again at the end of the day.”
This is a technique that shopping professional Daniel Adams implements. “Instead of easing into the day with smaller tasks, I find that if I complete a big task at the start, I feel motivated to do a great day’s work,” he says. He finds that if he starts with smaller tasks, on the other hand, he usually ends up putting off the big, important tasks until there’s not enough time in the day to even start them.
Meg Cooper, a wedding photographer in San Francisco, has been struggling with procrastination for years but recently saw a therapist who helped her create a system for getting things done. So far, it’s worked better than anything else she’s tried thus far: “I created a point system to map out what earns me points and also a number of free or low-cost rewards that I categorized into different tiers (each worth a different amount of points). Every day, I tick off the number of points I earn as I work, and at the end of the day, tally them up. Eventually, when I have enough to redeem something, I choose an activity and add that to my available rewards list — for redemption whenever I want,” she explains.
Instead of a daily to-do list, which she never gets through, online marketing expert Maria Juvakka creates a monthly to-do list. “Most people make daily and weekly to-do lists, which keeps everything on a microscale,” she shares. “When you have the macro in front of you, such as writing two blog posts per month and uploading four YouTube videos, you’re less likely to procrastinate on the regular.” Having her long-term goals laid out, she’s found, helps her stay focused since she’s clearer on her “why.”
Pychyl says research shows that people who self-forgive after procrastinating actually procrastinate less. “If you’re taking on these new strategies because you’d like to procrastinate less, it’s not always going to go really well,” he explains. “But if you don’t practice some self-compassion and some self-forgiveness, you’re just setting yourself up for future failure.” And know that it may take time to get these skills to work for you. Pychyl says if you ask him if he procrastinates, he’ll say no. “But it’s not because I magically developed any special virtues. It’s just that I use these skills compulsively,” he proclaims.
Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, AARP, Woman’s Day, Parade, Men’s Journal, Wired, Emmy Magazine, and others. Keep up with her adventures on Twitter at @nicolepajer.
GoBankingRates’ Article entitled
“How Workers Should Prepare for the Job Market in 2022,” featuring expert insight by Dr. Shirley Davis
One of the most dramatic storylines to come out of 2021 was the unprecedented state of the labor market. America learned terms like “the Great Resignation” and “the Big Quit.” Businesses that were eager to reopen after pandemic shutdowns couldn’t hire enough staff to meet the demand, no matter how much they offered to pay. Corporations across the country doled out big signing bonuses and imaginative benefits to average applicants.
Will 2022 remain an applicant’s market? What new trends will emerge — and what should today’s job hunters do to prepare for tomorrow?
GOBankingRates asked the experts.
Nikki Attkisson, CEO of the Powdersville Post, the flagship publication of the South Carolina Media Group, believes “it will still be a job-seeker’s market in 2022.”
There’s plenty of data to back up that assertion. Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business recently predicted that labor shortages will continue to be a running theme throughout the new year.
“That means more opportunities for first-time job seekers to land decent positions if they play their cards right,” Attkisson said.
The labor shortages that defined 2021 have been forcing salaries up in higher-paying fields all year long. In 2022, that trend will likely filter down the food chain.
“Job seekers can expect higher salary offers in many industries, not just in tech, science, or medicine,” said Paul French, founder and managing director of executive e-commerce recruiting site Intrinsic Search. “Labor shortages resulting from an amalgamation of factors such as retiring workers, an aging workforce, and limits on immigration will continue to push employers to raise salaries to attract top talent. It is important to know your worth to leverage this prediction.”
Higher salaries are only part of the response to the economy-wide labor shortage that appears poised to continue into 2022. Another big part will be a focus on employee experience.
“Companies are now making it a priority to ensure that their employees are happy, they have a sense of belonging, they feel a sense of fulfillment, and that they have the resources, tools, and the support that they need,” said Dr. Shirley Davis, president and CEO of HR strategy firm SDS Global Enterprises. “Diversity, equity, and inclusion is going to continue to be a primary focus in 2022 for job seekers. 80% of workers have also said that they want to work for a company that is diverse and that values equity and inclusion. Companies will need to make sure DE&I is embedded in everything that they do, including their values, policies, practices, performance expectations, leadership development, and cultural competence.”
The high rate of turnover caused by the Great Resignation is forcing many companies either to pay a premium for more experienced employees or to hire cheaper newbies and train them on the job.
“I expect many of them will opt for the second option,” Attkisson said. “Alternatively, they might increase their reliance on freelancers to offset some of the workload. Both first-time job-seekers and freelancers share a common advantage over more experienced full-timers. If they could just keep their compensation expectations marginally lower than those of full-timers, they will easily have the edge in the market.”
It’s very likely that 2022 will see an expedited hiring process as employers move faster to secure talent in a tight labor market.
“Speed of hire is now a competitive edge,” said Lisa Hennessey, chief people officer for Happy Money. “For job seekers, this will mean that you may have multiple companies running you through their recruiting process quickly to beat the competition to offer.”
Hennessey suggests that you manage the expectations of hiring teams and be transparent with your timeline.
“If you receive multiple job offers, it’s okay to let the companies know that you have other offers to consider and will need time to evaluate which opportunity is best for you,” she said. “Be careful not to take too much time as it could be considered a lack of interest in the company or role or the perception that you may be pitting offers against each other. Companies want to know they are engaging with someone who is honest and transparent, just as much as you want that from them.”
It’s no secret that the pandemic changed the way America went to work. In 2022, many changes that were supposed to be temporary fixes will start to become permanent.
“With the emergence of the Omicron strain and following travel bans, it seems like the coronavirus and the isolated world as we know it today is here to stay,” said David Farkas, founder and CEO of The Upper Ranks.
“While many companies initially planned to be back in the office this fall, we’re seeing an increasing number of employers announce that their return to the office is postponed indefinitely — largely in light of the COVID variants. I anticipate this trend toward remote, hybrid, and fully distributed work will only continue to climb in 2022.”
The workers who have the skills needed to implement those transitions will be in high demand.
“So, the applicant’s proximity to the company location is no longer relevant, but their skills are of utmost importance,” Farkas said.
Because of the shift to remote work, e-commerce and online marketing, Farkas believes the following skills will be among the most highly sought after in 2022:
Brian Snedvig, CEO and founder of resume and cover letter service provider Jofibo, provides the following tips:
Avishai Weiss, career and recruiting expert at PeopleSmart, offers this:
It’s being called the Great Resignation. This year alone, Americans have been leaving their current workplace by the millions. There are many theories as to what’s driving workers away but no doubt a toxic workplace won’t help but how can you deal with toxicity on the job if you don’t want to quit. Doctor Shirley Davis joins WREG Memphis, News Channel 8 with some pointers.
Implicit bias training has seen a significant uptick in the past year following the national and international calls for greater justice, equity, and inclusion. I know this firsthand because my firm has been flooded with hundreds of requests from clients wanting their entire leadership teams and general staff to go through it. The core message of implicit bias training is that all humans have it as a built-in safety and survival mechanism. Our brains are hardwired to be biased but when left unchecked, it can have a negative impact on everyday interactions and decisions, especially in the workplace.
But simply being aware that we all have biases does not let us off the hook. That matters more than ever because the workforce and the marketplace have become more global, multicultural, multigenerational, and hyper-connected. On top of that, they all bring differing needs, expectations, and ways of thinking, working, and doing business. The ability to lead more effectively across differences is a key lever for attracting, engaging, and retaining top talent, driving innovation and creativity, as well as expanding into new markets, and serving new customers and clients.
In addition to implicit bias training, in the last 18 months alone, my consulting firm has conducted nearly 100 listening sessions, and more than 50 inclusion and employee engagement surveys and focus groups, and the results have been consistent across industries, sectors, and company sizes.
Workers expect their employers to:
And they report that if they don’t get it, they are willing to walk away.
Today that threat has become real. The U.S. job market is slowly recovering by adding thousands of new jobs, while at the same experiencing the Great Resignation, where workers are quitting their jobs in record numbers. In June alone, 3.9 million people said “I quit” which was slightly down from the nearly 4 million who quit in April. In a recent Monster.com survey, 95% of 650 U.S. workers said they were thinking of quitting their jobs. The main reasons for quitting are very aligned with what our firm heard from workers in listening sessions and focus groups—they are experiencing increased burnout, work-related stress, a lack of development and growth opportunities, low wages and poor benefits, lack of flexible work, and toxic workplace cultures.
Wait, there’s more. The 2021 Work Trend Index report conducted by Microsoft a few months ago studied more than 30,000 people in 31 countries. It revealed some startling findings that should be a warning to all leaders. Five that stood out to me because of the consulting work we’re doing with clients around the world include:
Wow, talk about having some work to do to re-engage, re-energize, and retain existing talent. This is a clear and compelling business case and a loud cry for more inclusive leadership.
Successful organizations recognize that in order to attract top talent, increase employee engagement and job satisfaction, drive innovation and creativity, and enhance the customer service experience, they must cultivate an inclusive workplace culture. And that begins and ends with inclusive leadership. It cannot be a nice to do, it must be intentional and a continuous development process.
While culture is everyone’s responsibility, leaders set the tone. I call them “thermostats” in the company because they set the temperature and create the atmosphere that workers experience. In my 30 years in human resources, I’ve seen more often that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad leaders and toxic workplaces. Many of the reasons listed above of why workers quit or plan to can be avoided/recovered by having inclusive leaders.
I get it. Being an inclusive leader is not as easy as it sounds. Inclusive leadership is much more than having a title, giving a hug, and being nice. It requires a paradigm shift, an openness to different ways of doing things, leaning into some discomfort, and demonstrating the courage to embrace the unfamiliar. Many leaders have neither the basic foundational knowledge about inclusive leadership nor an idea of what workers expect in their leaders today (they are out of touch, as the Microsoft study revealed).
Employees are demanding, at the very least, that our workplaces be more inclusive, welcoming, and respectful, that they create a sense of belonging, and are free from harassment. For some companies with legacy cultures and others that have existed for more than a century, this is an extremely hard change management process. But it’s necessary.
Therefore, every leader should upskill and develop new competencies that will do those three things: re-engage, re-energize, and retain their workers. They must be intentional about valuing diversity and inclusion. Intentionality can include listening attentively to understand others’ perspectives and points of view and creating safe and brave spaces for staff to feel comfortable sharing their ideas without fear of retaliation. Instead of using the same person(s) to carry out tasks and special projects, they need to intentionally spread opportunities around. And it means not only inviting more diversity to the table but soliciting diverse perspectives and ideas. When they observe or hear something that is inappropriate, insensitive, or insulting, they speak up and call it out. These daily acts of intentionality can go a long way to foster trust and belonging.
Additionally, leaders must increase their level of cultural competence, which can begin with a self-assessment and a clear understanding of their own culture. They can also interact with people who are different from themselves (could be on a project, securing a mentor, joining diverse networks, etc.), and they can attend events and training programs that expose them to a variety of cultural learning experiences.
Just as important is that employers must hold their leaders accountable for being more inclusive. They can do so by embedding inclusive leadership behaviors into their company values and performance goals, by frequently asking staff about how they are experiencing the culture through their leaders, and by tracking employee complaints, turnover, and levels of engagement and productivity.
My hope this that every leader will heed the warnings of these current and impending demographic shifts and worker trends. That they will become more adept and intentional about developing and demonstrating the competencies and traits that workers need and expect in the workplace.
When they do, they will realize the benefits that follow: workplace cultures that are considered “employers of choice” by top talent, that are high-performing, innovative, and bring out the best in their workers. That contributes to business success and long-term sustainability.
Shirley Davis, PhD, is president of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc., a strategic development solutions firm that helps organizations transform their cultures, empower their workers, and increase their productivity. She is also the author of Living Beyond What If? Release the Limits and Realize Your Dreams.
Watch “Handling Back-to-Work Stress as an Employer”
The workforce and the marketplace continue to experience dramatic demographic shifts that include more women, BIPOCs, and younger workers (e.g., Millennials and Gen Z) to name a few. According to the U.S. Census Bureau 78% of sales people are white. Women make up 50% of the U. S. workforce but only 39% of the sales workforce, and only 19% of leadership positions in sales. This lack of representation across gender, race, ethnicity, and other demographics can send a strong message that certain people are not welcomed in the sales profession.
As President of SDS Global Enterprises, a global workforce and culture transformation consulting firm, we’re experiencing a significant increase in outreach from companies needing help in attracting more diverse talent and building a more inclusive, equitable, and welcoming workplace culture where ALL talent can thrive. Many of them are in Sales and Marketing (especially in pharmaceutical, financial services, sports, real estate, and technology) and they admit that they have a “diversity problem” [or lack of diversity]. Their sales forces are dominated by white men, and they know that they are not reflective of the changing demographics, their customers, or the communities in which they do business.
The question you may be asking is “why is this important to them now?”
I asked the same question because it’s always been an important business issue. I’ve been in the Human Resources and DEI field for over 20 years and as a Chief D & I Officer I’ve been pushing the business benefits of DEI in every company I worked. However, it was not always met with support, or the belief that DEI has an impact on the bottom line. But today, it couldn’t be more be a more clear and compelling case. Sure, the international protests and calls for greater equity, inclusion and justice following the murder of George Floyd increased the focus on DEI. So did the significant disparities and/or lack of access to health care, education, socio-economic and job opportunities that were revealed during the global pandemic equally contribute to the recognition that we have a DEI problem. But before these incidences, the business case was still compelling.
Just look at the buying power of people of color and millennials, which is well over $4 trillion annually. According to Catalyst, a global consulting firm for women in the workplace, women controlled an estimated $31.8 trillion (USD) in consumer spending in 2019. For sales and marketing firms to overlook this reality would be a “going out of business strategy.” If this isn’t compelling enough look at the studies that reveal the impact of DEI.
Studies from the Harvard Business Review, Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey and Company show diversity has a strong correlation with organizational performance.
McKinsey’s most recent report, “Diversity Wins: How inclusion matters,” revealed that organizations with diversity of gender are 25% more likely to be more profitable than their peers. It also shows that organizations with diversity of ethnicity are 36% more likely to be more profitable than their peers. The World Economic Forum’s report “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 4.0” suggests that companies with diverse employees have “up to 20% higher rate of innovation and 19% higher innovation revenues.”
Similarly, the Boston Consulting Group revealed in its 2018 study on How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation that increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance. In both developing and developed economies, companies with above-average diversity on their leadership teams report a greater payoff from innovation and higher EBIT margins.
Moreover, sales and marketing organizations want to attract top talent; they want to innovate and solve complex problems; they want to increase market share through a positive customer experience; and they want to drive sustainable performance. These are compelling enough reasons to embrace DEI as a business strategy, so no more asking “Why is it important?” or “What’s the business case?”
The real questions now are “What can we do about it?” “How can we realize the value of DEI in our sales and marketing teams?”
Here are a few tips and strategies you can implement:
It’s clear that sales and marketing organizations can no longer ignore the fact that the demographic shifts will continue to disrupt the workplace, the work, and the workers. They must commit to DEI as a business strategy that will enable them to drive client and customer satisfaction, increase product and service innovation, solve complex problems, and create the kind of workplace culture that attracts, engages, and retains top sales professionals.
Dr. Davis’s newest article on SalesTech Star: https://salestechstar.com/guest-authors/want-better-sales-performance-increase-dei-commitment/
August 27, 2021
Check out Dr. Davis’s recent discussion on “Living Beyond Your What Ifs and Post-COVID Mass Resignations” on the See It to Be It Podcast with Melinda Garvey
Click here to watch Dr. Davis’s Interview on “Living Beyond ‘What If?” on ABC 25 Local Lifestyles
Dr. Shirley Davis, author of “Living Beyond “What If?” and President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises share tips on how to plan your employment exit strategy. Interview on WUSA9
The nature of leadership is changing as cultural and demographic forces transform the workplace. To maximize the potential of their teams, leaders must create more inclusive environments that encourage the expression of different cultures, contexts, and perspectives.
In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, global workforce expert Dr. Shirley Davis explores how leaders can foster inclusive work environments and create productive and rewarding team dynamics that reward top performers.
It’s an honor to be published in the Tampa Bay Business Journal Jan. 15, 2021. Check out the article here:
Companies that promised to review policies in 2020 in the wake of social unrest now face showing results in 2021.
If 2020 will be remembered for anything other than the coronavirus, it will be for protests that spread to cities and towns across the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Months of marches were held in both Tampa and St. Petersburg. While the initial purpose of these marches was to spur government reform regarding policing, calls for equality and racial justice soon spilled over into other facets of life, including entertainment, education and business.
Businesses ranging from the largest public companies in Tampa Bay to mom-and-pop stores put out messages of support and pledged to do better. Seven months after the protests began in late May, the organized marches have mostly died down. Progress has been made in some areas, but both sides — advisers and the companies themselves — know there is still plenty of work to be done in 2021 and the months ahead.
“There are companies that are forward-thinking companies, and some companies … [that] are doing better but recognize they have a long way to go,” said Shirley Davis of SDS Global Enterprises, a Tampa Bay-based corporation that works with businesses to create more inclusive cultures. “There is still work to be done.”
The momentum of the summer is waning a bit, said Cal Jackson, the director of Diversity and Inclusion global programs for Tech Data Corp.
“There are still groups that are underrepresented in our organizations and what I feared is starting to happen: It can’t be a news cycle and there are unfortunately, police events that bring things back into the radar.”
The slow march of progress
Even before 2020, businesses were looking to diversify their ranks — both in leadership and among the workforce — and Tampa Bay was no exception. This has especially been the case when it comes to gender diversity. As of January 2021, 19 of the region’s 20 largest public companies had at least one woman on their board of directors, according to data provided by the companies to the Tampa Bay Business Journal. A majority of the 20 largest public companies had at least one ethnic minority on its board of directors, a group that primarily was comprised of Asian-Americans and African-Americans. But the majority of board members in Tampa Bay are white men, as is most of the leadership at those companies.
That might be one possible explanation as to why many Tampa Bay companies tiptoed around this summer’s events and the issues they raised. Only three of the region’s largest public companies — Raymond James, Bloomin’ Brands and Welbilt — released statements concerning the racial unrest over the summer. Only nine of the companies have a diversity policy on their websites. And only a handful of companies have announced actual action taken to improve diversity within their company, such as creating a pledge to the Black community or hiring an executive to oversee diversity and inclusion.
“We did an internal promotion… and created a new position: VP of diversity and inclusion, in order to formalize that process,” said Joanne Freiberger of Masonite International, adding that Carlini Rivers took over the position in November. Rivers had been with Masonite since 2016.
But most companies have shied away from such actions, and most frustrating to SDS’ Davis are executives who are still unwilling to acknowledge that there are racial issues within the business world, let alone address them.
“What’s disappointing is we have too many leaders … who turn this work into a political statement. ‘If we say Black lives matter, then we’re saying all lives don’t matter,’” she said. “We still have people who are resistant to it, who resist it in a way that sabotages and derails the spirit behind it. And regardless of the political, inclusion is a good business strategy.”
But perhaps that paints a bleaker picture than reality. Talking honestly about race can be a prickly issue that many companies would prefer not to discuss publicly. But Davis said interest in her company’s services has been robust.
“I’ve been in this work for 20-something years, I worked in HR for Fortune 500 companies, and in that time frame I have not had that much demand and as many requests as we did in June and July,” she said. “It was amazing and at the same time, it was well overdue.”
She said it started with helping companies craft statements during the summer protests, but continued on to holding listening sessions. Davis said she was impressed by the number of organizations that really did want to change how they operated, by conducting diversity audits and committing to making long-term changes.
It starts at the top, Jackson said, quoting a story Tech Data CEO Rich Hume told him.
“He said, ‘I saw just how our board of directors changed in regard to its dynamics and how they were innovative and their discussions as we put more women and more diversity on the board.’”
It is important for companies bringing in formalized D&I practitioners and programs to continue progress in 2021, but the work isn’t just about racial equity, he said. It’s also about building environments of inclusion because that can boost the bottom line, not just promote good corporate citizenry.
And, in a strange way, the pandemic has helped to achieve those goals, he continued.
“It has pushed us to the realization that we can work and telework and we can have roles everywhere, and that gives us a humongous net that we can throw out now for phenomenal talent and not just based upon the location of where we need people,” he said. “We can throw it out in so many different places and that increases the diversity of the slate of candidates.”
On a recent Price of Business show, Host Kevin Price visited with author Shirley Davis on the state of Affirmative Action today and what businesses need to do to make such policies part of a growth strategy.
It’s an honor to be published in IPMA-HR’s November 2020 HR News Publication! Check out the article here:
The workforce has become more global, diverse, multicultural, multigenerational, virtual and hyperconnected. As a result, work gets done differently. Also, there is no question that numerous demographic shifts that have occurred over the past decade have disrupted many of our long-standing human resources policies and strategies.
The ability of HR leaders to lead their organizations amid these disruptive forces and across differences while fostering more inclusive and innovative work environments in a wide variety of contexts, cultures and complexities will be a key lever for attracting, engaging and retaining top talent.
Census data and global workforce studies continue to affirm the following realities:
Of course, there are many other considerations, such as how to be more accommodating and appealing to the LGBTQ+ community, people with various religious beliefs and faiths, our veterans and active duty workers, and many more.
We have to consider the diverse needs, expectations, thinking styles, work preferences, communication styles and development needs of a new generation of talent. That includes making changes such as revamping our policies to allow for greater flexibility in work arrangements; upgrading our benefit programs from offering only traditional 401(k) and retirement plans to instituting additional perks such as unlimited vacation time, paying off student loans, offering public transportation passes, gamification, health and wellness programs, onsite daycare, dependent care and long-term care benefits; and much more. It also means expanding our recruiting and selection processes to ensure less-biased decisions are made and our nets are cast wider to attract a more diverse slate of candidates. Additionally, it means offering individual career ladders and unique development opportunities.
As HR leaders, we need to know how to navigate this complex and rapidly changing landscape. That means having the right skills and competencies to build more equitable, inclusive and high-performing workplace cultures.
Why is this important? Because these kinds of work environments produce higher performance, increase employee engagement, fuel innovation and creativity, increase retention and positively impact the customer service experience. Ultimately, they positively contribute to an organization’s bottom line and result in sustained success. In fact, research cited by Bain & Company revealed that companies that create a winning culture are 3.7 times more likely to be top performers.
I’ve had the opportunity to speak to more than 5,000 HR professionals and business leaders around the world over the past year, and these are the kinds of issues that are keeping them up at night. I am often asked, “What is HR’s role in fostering more inclusive and innovative cultures? And what strategies can we implement?”
Here are the top 10 tips that I’ve implemented as a former chief diversity officer and HR executive, as well as what I’ve seen bring sustained success in fostering inclusive and innovative workplace cultures.
Inclusive cultures afford all talent the opportunity to obtain a seat at the table and to feel a sense of connection and belonging. Make sure that your overperformers are not undervalued—or they will leave. Find the “hidden figures” in your organization who aren’t always the most visible or vocal but who are adding value.
Embed diversity and inclusion into your company’s strategic and operating plans, not just the HR strategy. D&I should not be a stand-alone effort or done in a vacuum. Rather, it should be integrated into your organizational DNA.
HR must upgrade and digitize. If not, HR will lose the ability to compete and add value because, according to Cisco Systems, nearly 37 billion things are connected right now. Digital transformation—cloud-based HRIS, recruitment solutions, internal communication platforms, workforce engagement—is key for HR’s transformation.
Without inclusion, you will not attract top talent. Physical and psychological safety issues will arise, and mental, emotional and physical wellness will suffer, which will lead to complaints, lawsuits, low engagement, high turnover and absenteeism. All of these result in $7 trillion in lost productivity every year, according to Gallup.
Think of diversity like an iceberg. Most often, we make 90 percent of our decisions based on the 10 percent of an issue we see. Look at the iceberg accompanying this article. And, yes, we all act according to our biases and make snap decisions within the first 5 seconds. There is so much that makes people unique and diverse that we miss out on because of our blind spots.
Learn to take greater risks and get out of your comfort zone. Being risk-averse, rigid and complacent are antithetical to innovating.
It’s HR’s strategic role and responsibility to build bench strength and leadership capability inside the organization. HR must also ensure that leaders develop the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that will be needed in the future. This can be done via workforce planning, succession planning and generating predictive analytics.
Stop using stock photos to show visible diversity in your company. Do not try to represent something you are not. People will see right through you. If your company lacks diversity, go get it. You can find top talent by casting your net wider than your usual sourcing channels.
If we are doing our jobs effectively, we don’t hire disengaged employees. Poor culture or bad leaders make employees disengaged. Stop selling candidates on experiences, perks and benefits that do not actually exist. Otherwise, employees suffer from buyer’s remorse and become disengaged, disenfranchised and disconnected.
Recruit for traits that can’t be trained. These include honesty, integrity, passion, trust, motivation and attitude. You can train for skills, but not for heart and soul.
If HR professionals are serious about fostering cultures of inclusion and belonging, it really comes down to three focus areas: great leadership, top talent and inclusive and innovative policies.
Read what workforce management consultants Sharon Steed, Lily Zheng, and Shirley Davis advise as initial steps for firms striving to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
Sharon Steed, founder, Communilogue, Pittsburgh
The issues we are facing, however, don’t have to be intimidating nonstarters: They are opportunities to foster connection and drive inclusion, and architects are exceptionally equipped to tackle this challenging time in our history within the ranks of their firms. Architects not only understand their clients’ physical needs and wants, but also what is possible for a site, and what needs to happen in order to get it there.
Use this same approach to create an inclusive and equitable culture at your firm. The first step is learning through listening: Leaders need to initiate one-on-one conversations with employees about their experiences in their firm. Make sure each individual understands that their opinions matter and will in no way affect their employment. Ask them: Do they feel included? Heard? Like they belong? Listen to their stories without judgment, and try to internalize their struggle.
Make the most of what you learn by implementing changes to your hiring processes to increase diversity; using inclusive language to ensure everyone in the office can join every conversation; and elevating existing voices in your ranks who may feel like they have, or have actually, been silenced.
These conversations can be challenging and daunting. Bringing in outside help at the beginning of this process is OK. Consultants can facilitate these tough discussions as well as create a safe space for these conversations to flourish and guide your firm in long-term diversity, equity, and inclusion planning.
The rawness of the world right now requires those open lines of communication. When you begin to listen as an action, you will confront the brutal truth that your worldview has been very narrow to date. That’s OK: You are learning through listening.
Lily Zheng, diversity, equity, and inclusion consultant, Lily Zheng Consulting, San Francisco
Corporate culture is the implied and unspoken values, beliefs, and behaviors that represent a company’s identity and inform how employees should interact with each other and clients. Culture is embedded within office policies, processes, and expectations. Where does DEI come into this? Most firm cultures are designed, intentionally or unintentionally, to be most comfortable for their leaders, who are overwhelmingly cisgender, heterosexual, college-educated white men.
Fostering a culture of inclusion that welcomes women, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, working-class people, and other underrepresented minorities requires reimagination from the ground up. Here are the steps your firm must take, and the introspective questions you must ask all employees:
1. (Re)determine your company values, identity, and ethos.
“Who” is your company? Who belongs inside it? One powerful way to begin this exercise is to ask: “Who are we not?” Aim high. Should your company be a place for underrepresented minorities to work? Buy from? Why and how should it earn that reputation?
2. Unpack the assumptions at the core of your company and industry.
In design, for example, what stylistic approaches are accepted to be best? What is considered “normal” or “standard” within mainstream architecture education? What are the unspoken expectations for architects interacting with each other and their clients?
3. Identify how these assumptions embed themselves in common practices.
Do white men primarily interface with clients, even if they’re less experienced than other team members? Does your firm interact with certain clients more than others or pursue certain types of work? What holidays does your firm recognize? What amount of unpaid labor is expected from employees?
4. Explicitly rework assumptions and common practices to align with your ideal company identity.
What do design processes, expectations, and policies that support people of all races, genders, incomes, and social identities look like? How can you normalize these new aspects of culture?
Shirley Davis, president and CEO, SDS Global Enterprises, Tampa Bay, Fla.
Culture transformation has become a focus for firms that recognize it can make or break their brand reputation among customers and top talent. Culture can be elusive and invisible, yet it affects the productivity, engagement, creativity, and retention of employees, many of whom are demanding that our workplaces create a sense of belonging, be free from harassment, and—at the very least—be more inclusive and equitable. It can also affect bottom-line profits.
But changing culture is not easy, nor is it a quick fix, which explains why most efforts either fail or stall. What is the secret to transforming culture in your firm in a way that results in sustained success?
From my experience, I can attest that the clients who have succeeded at culture transformation all understood two things: First, you must implement a comprehensive and robust strategy rather than taking a short-term approach; second, you must make it every leader’s responsibility. Here are five steps to get started:
Use these steps to begin the journey to transforming your firm’s culture. The process is not a sprint, but a marathon, and yet it must be approached with a real sense of urgency in order to achieve sustained success.
This article appeared in the August 2020 issue of ARCHITECT under the headline “What Are First Steps Toward a More Inclusive Workplace?”
Given these unprecedented times of racial injustices that have precipitated the protests, outrage, and civil unrest in our country, we are aware of the emotional and psychological toll that these incidents can take on workers, businesses and communities.
As CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc. and throughout my 20+ years as an expert in the DEI space, I understand how important it is to take immediate action in times like these. In lieu of the recent events that have highlighted the inequities in our society, SDS Global continues to provide resources to respond and strategies needed to build more inclusive workplaces. These are some of the resources that we are providing to our clients to help navigate through these difficult and sensitive topics:
As leaders, it is our responsibility to instill and ensure an inclusive and high performing culture. Reassuring staff that they are valued, reaffirming that diversity and inclusion are core to your values and culture, creating safe spaces for sharing feelings, and offering solutions and resources on how to navigate emotionally-charged situations are all ways to help achieve this.
We are a full-service provider with virtual delivery options that are available on multiple platforms. We stand ready to partner with you to provide expert consulting, facilitation, training, education, coaching, and strategy development. We look forward to hearing from you on how we can partner with your organization.
Dr. Shirley Davis
CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc.
I’m not okay either. Words cannot express the heaviness that I’ve been feeling these past few days. Each time I see the images, the videos and hear the families speak, a wound is opened all over again that seems to never heal before another incident happens, and it triggers sooooo many emotions (anger, frustration, helplessness, fatigue, rage, hurt, powerlessness, fear, sadness, and more anger). Our nation is dealing with three pandemics at the same time (Covid-19, economic distress, and racism) all of which have been destructive, devastating, and disruptive while leaving us without a cure and with more questions than answers.
I have three brothers of whom I am very close to and that I adore to the core. They are amazing and very present dads, they are “Essential” full time workers (one a former DC police officer), they are public servants, they are very family oriented, and they adore their sister and our family. Each time I see the George Floyd video, I see them. AND I WANT THEM TO LIVE AND TO BREATHE–To live a long life full of promise, opportunity, and safety so that they can see their 9 sons grow up.
I see my 77 year old dad whom I absolutely adore. I see my 10 nephews who have so much talent and potential and have no real clue what kind of labels will befall them simply because of their skin color. I see my black male professional colleagues whom I love and have worked with for over 15 years in this DEI work. AND I WANT THEM TO LIVE AND TO BREATHE. I see myself, my daughter, my mom, my nieces, and my sister-in-laws when I hear the Breonna Taylor story and other female victims before her. AND WE WANT TO LIVE AND TO BREATHE.
I have been a Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for nearly 20 years for major Fortune 50 corporations and for the world’s largest #HR association (#SHRM) and now for my own global consulting firm, and yet I feel that so much work, time, blood, sweat and tears have been sown, but little progress has been made to make our world a more inclusive, respectful, welcoming, and an equitable place for ALL people to thrive.
This past weekend, nearly 50 of my Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officers convened to make sense of all of this senselessness, to grieve together, to brainstorm together, to lick each other’s wounds, and to offer each other support. And admittedly we too are struggling to breathe. AND WE WANT TO LIVE! We are heart broken. We are sad. And what’s even worse, is that no matter how successful we are, what titles we hold, who we report to (some report to CEOs of Fortune 100 corporations), what education we’ve earned, what certifications we have, or how much work we’ve done to make the world more inclusive, we are still seen and judged by the color of our skin. AND several are victims and recipients of the very structural racism that we are trying to combat in our organizations. But we are committed to keep fighting and to stay on the battlefield because we believe that our nation and our children’s futures depend on it.
These past few days I have been slammed with clients reaching out seeking our guidance on how to strike the right tone, how to create and communicate the right message, how to have a facilitated open, raw, and real dialogue with their staffs about racism, the need to conduct training on prejudice, unconscious bias, and equity, and how to start identifying and addressing the structural and systemic pervasive racial inequities that have plagued every aspect of a black citizen’s life (housing, economics, education, health care, employment, criminal justice, and transportation). They are now ready. They are now asking. And they believe that the timing is right to respond with substantive actions. And so I am answering the call even though I am not okay. I’m conducting virtual keynotes even though I’m broken. I’m smiling even though I’m sad. And even though I too am struggling to breathe, I will continue to do my part with every breath.
I ask that all of you find some way to respond constructively, empathically, and respectfully. I urge all of my non-black colleagues not to assume that we are okay. We are not, and you shouldn’t be either. Because of my faith I still believe that things will get better and that there are more great people in our world than there are hateful people. I choose to love, forgive, see the best in people, and to hold on to my inner peace and joy (which no one can take away).
I employ my non-black and brown colleagues to be an ally and an advocate and to use your privilege and your power to stand and fight with us to advance this cause of wiping out this evil cancer and virus called racism. We are in this together and when one community hurts, it affects our entire nation (One nation under God). Now more than ever before we need each other’s support, we need your voice, we need action because WE WANT TO LIVE. WE WANT TO BREATHE.
#IWantToLive #IWanttoBreathe #racismisarealvirus #racism #protests #racismtherealvisus #ICantBreathe #Diversity #Inclusion #Bias #Covid19 #coronavirus #allyship
Are you the master of your own reinvention? Click below to listen as Dr. Davis shares some powerful strategies and tips on how to recover and reinvent yourself to achieve greater success.
Check out this interview with Dr. Davis on Unconscious Bias on Atlanta’s Small Business Network
Thank you, BoardSource and Hardy Smith for featuring me in your recent post on board diversity. Read below or check out the original post here: https://blog.boardsource.org/blog/make-board-diversity-work
Despite ongoing encouragement for nonprofit boards to embrace diversity, BoardSource’s Leading with Intent: 2017 National Index of Nonprofit Board Practices survey shows that movement toward more diverse boards is just not happening on a broad scale.
According to BoardSource’s findings, a majority of board chairs and nonprofit chief executives are dissatisfied with their current levels of board diversity.
However, the survey reveals another alarming fact: a high percentage of those expressing dissatisfaction about a lack of board diversity do not consider action to alter the situation a high priority or even a priority at all.
Furthermore, of the more than 360 organizations that report having no people of color on their boards, it is disturbing that only 10 percent indicate that “demographics is a high priority in board recruitment.” This is in spite of the fact that 62 percent of those organizations with no people of color on their boards admit, “expanding the board’s racial and ethnic diversity is important for increasing the organization’s ability to advance its mission.”
Certainly the sector is sending a mixed message.
But actions speak louder than words. And because of that, the message is actually very clear —diversity is not a priority.
These organizations are shooting themselves in the foot. This message projects well beyond the present board to prospective board members, members, volunteers, staff, donors, and to the community of individuals being served. The more people see that these organizations ignore the need for diversity, the more that they will drive away individuals they would like — and need — to attract.
Furthermore, diversity is beyond having a different face or two on your board.
When board members who represent diverse communities see no active progress toward diversity, they first become frustrated by the lack of full-in organizational commitment. Then they become discouraged, and finally they become disengaged from their board service.
To prevent your organization from going down this path, you need to do three things:
BoardSource says it best: “As the decision-making body at the highest level of organizational leadership, boards play a critical role in creating an organization that prioritizes, supports, and invests in diversity, inclusion, and equity.”
The board sets the tone for the entire organization and whatever it makes a priority will trickle down to the rest of the organization. However diverse (or not) your board is at this moment is the direct result of how your board has operated up to this point. Own it.
To assist organizations in moving beyond stated intentions with deliberate action, I reached out to speaker colleague Shirley Davis, Ph.D., who is a recognized global workforce expert and specializes in diversity and inclusion.
She advises, “Optics matter. When an individual doesn’t see anyone else that looks like them, it communicates that their values and needs aren’t important.” She adds, “However, any conversation around achieving organizational diversity should not be narrowly focused on just gender and race. True diversity isn’t about quotas.”
Davis shares these actions for successfully implementing a goal for achieving board diversity.
It is also important to avoid making mistakes that will block successful implementation. Davis identifies these four as especially significant:
To create a true culture of diversity, Davis advocates going beyond focus only on the board by “operationalizing” your efforts. Every decision your organization makes should be looked at through a diversity lens. This includes leadership positions, committee involvement, program scheduling, employee hiring, vendor selection, member and volunteer recruitment, and donor acquisition.
Further demonstrate your commitment to diversity by ensuring that the public view of your organization, such as through your website and social media activity, includes leadership statements that reflect on various aspects of diversity.
As nonprofits take action on their commitment to board diversity and inclusion, following Davis’s advice will help remove a source of frustration among board members who do represent under represented communities. In addition, they will position themselves as much more attractive to individuals representing different races, cultures, genders, and generational groups.
Commit to desired change
Achieving board representation that is reflective of the community an organization serves is the right thing. But it is also the smart thing — the organization benefits from the diversification of different backgrounds, experiences, opinions, and skill-sets, which are all vitally important qualities for a board that wants to reach higher levels of success.
Making board diversity a priority and taking action to achieve it is a responsibility that is squarely on the shoulders of the board. Remember, actions speak louder than words, and those nonprofits talking diversity and not taking intentional action are missing board leadership. The bottom line is that taking the right action is the way to ensure that your organization advances its mission tomorrow and into the future.
Does your organization have a goal for increasing diversity and for creating intentional inclusion? What actions are you taking to achieve your goal?
Link to the article: https://www.mranet.org/article/inclusion-starts-i
Small in stature, but big on impact, Dr. Shirley Davis, President and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc., joined MRA for the 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Conference and shared a powerful message to inspire attendees to become inclusive leaders. With 30 years of experience as a global thought leader on diversity and inclusion, Dr. Davis spoke to the crowd of more than 300 HR and business leaders on what it takes to be a successful inclusive leader. Davis advocates that inclusive leaders help create inclusive work environments that produce high-performing workforces.
For Dr. Davis, her work is very personal. Not only was she hearing stories of people who didn’t feel they were being treated fairly or getting what they deserved, she was seeing it, as well as feeling it firsthand. Becoming a mother was the real catalyst. Dr. Davis wanted to create a better world for her daughter. It became a mission, her passion and purpose. Dr. Davis felt she needed to help change people’s perceptions as she did not want her daughter to experience the same treatment. She wanted to leave a legacy and have her daughter see her mom making a difference in the world. Over the years, she has seen change happen and that is rewarding.
Dr. Davis’ commitment to this effort is evident in her accomplishments as a corporate executive with Fortune 100 companies, a global workforce management expert, a certified leadership coach, and a master of reinvention. She works with leaders at all levels and has worked in more than 30 countries on five continents and delivers more than 80 speeches a year.
In addition, Dr. Davis has authored two best-selling books, “Reinvent Yourself: Strategies for Achieving Success in Every Area of Your Life,” and “The Seat: How to Get Invited to the Table When You’re Over-Performing and Undervalued.” In her most recent book, “The Seat,” Davis shares strategies of not only things organizations should do, but also things employees need to do individually. In her book, she is looking to empower employees to be prepared and be ready to sit at the table.
“Just getting invited to the table is not enough though,” said Davis. “Once at the table, we need to have a voice, speak up and provide value. We need to ‘represent!’ It’s not just about getting a seat, but, adding value when we get there.”
Davis mentioned that there are so many out there overperforming and being undervalued. She works with organizations to help them see the need for change, and to help those who are underrepresented be seen.
Getting noticed is certainly an area Dr. Davis has overcome. She shares her personal experience of being discriminated against and being made to feel less than those around her simply because she was a woman, a single mom, and a person of color. Proving herself is something she also has overcome in the corporate world. In fact, she even got her PhD to prove her value. As Dr. Davis puts it, “I’ve got to do my part, and in turn, organizations need to do their part and provide the opportunities,” said Davis.
Her goal is to level the playing field, overcome the biases, and bring inclusion into the workplace. “Better workplaces, better communities … all contribute to a better society and being more inclusive,” Davis said. “With all the gifts and talents people bring to the table today, we should not be talking about this in 2019 still. But we are!”
And Davis will continue to talk about this topic, make presentations, share her expertise, coach leaders to be more inclusive, offer training sessions and courses online, write books and more to overcome the biases and help develop many more inclusive leaders.
“The world is going to continue to change, and if we want to make a real difference, we need to change mindsets, change attitudes, and our own behaviors. Inclusion starts with ‘I’,” added Davis.
For more information or to order one of Dr. Davis books, go to: https://new.drshirleydavis.com/
On this episode of Brave Girls, Tracy Imm speaks with her guide and mentor, Dr. Shirley Davis, also known as The Success Doctor. In this episode Dr. Davis talks about her faith as a foundation and how that has contributed to her positive mindset as she pursues her purpose on earth in this time. She shares her “why” and how she is helping others to step up into their purpose through her story of overcoming obstacles. We also touch on fear and why you need to have faith over fear.
“It may not be too much to claim that the future of our world will depend on how we deal with identity and difference.”
Miroslav Volf, Bosnian Theologian
The face of America is rapidly changing, and the rate of change will only increase. According to the Pew Research Center, 54% of the American population will be non-white by 2065. Our notions of minority and majority will be challenged, and even reversed, in the years to come. As stewards of public trust, the nonprofit sector should be guideposts for diversity and inclusion in a society experiencing deep cultural shifts. There will be tremendous opportunity to be leaders in this conversation, but nonprofit organizations must first assess the state of the sector in order to know where to begin.
Though the face of America is shifting, nonprofit board of director demographics continue to remain unchanged. BoardSource’s Leading with Intent report found that boards are no more diverse than they were two years ago despite reporting high-levels of dissatisfaction with current board demographics. Moreover, current recruiting priorities indicate this is trend unlikely to change. Support KC’s vision for a high-performing, sustainable nonprofit community cannot be achieved without the inclusion of decision-makers that represent the diverse communities that nonprofits serve, which is why diversity, equity, and inclusion will continue to be a priority for us.
Does your nonprofit health plan include embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion on the board level? Last month Nonprofit Connect hosted Inclusion 2019, a conference featuring Dr. Shirley Davis that provided nonprofit leaders with practical resources on inclusion and strategies for addressing implicit bias. During her presentation, Dr. Davis unpacked the 6 C’s of Inclusive Leadership: commitment, cognizance of bias, curiosity, cultural intelligence, collaboration, and courage. If diversity, equity and inclusion is a new for your board and leadership, courage may be the first place to begin. To start a conversation with your board, Dr. Davis has created this free resource for executive leadership, focusing on organizational culture transformation.
Stay on the lookout for more updates on board diversity and inclusion and how you can propel this crucial work. If civic leaders, nonprofit partners, and the corporate sector begin to organize around board diversity and inclusion, we can create board leadership opportunities that are aligned with the goals of the next generation.
Debra Box, M.A.
President and CEO
Support Kansas City, Inc.
If you’re like most Business Resource Groups (often referred to as Affinity or Employee Resource Groups) you’ve likely performed some of the basic steps within the Diversity Initiative in your organization. You’ve probably focused on recruiting more women and people of color. You’ve put a Diversity Statement on your company’s website. You’ve hosted Awareness Programs each month related to Diversity such as Women’s History, Pride, Disability, Black History, Veterans, Hispanic Heritage, and several others. And you’ve participated in peer coaching, mentoring, and other learning events.
Now it’s time to take your BRG efforts to the next level by assisting in driving Inclusion in your organization. So what does that look like?
Consider that if these six realities existed in your culture, how much more engagement, productivity, and retention the organization would experience.
This is the important contribution and impact that Business Resource Groups can have on an organization’s culture. Every leader can help to cultivate a culture of inclusion, belonging, and high performance.
No company is perfect, but BRG leaders (and the members) must represent the best of the company as Brand Ambassadors. Top talent today makes decisions based on the reputation and the brand of the company and its success. They do their due diligence, meaning they research the company and ask pointed questions to ascertain what kind of company culture and benefits exitsts. And they want to work for a company that aligns with their values. Most importantly, they want to see that its leaders walk the talk. That includes BRG leaders as well.
ERG leaders must personify the values of the company in all that they do and say. They should be brand ambassadors for the teams and divisions that they lead and support; for their clients; for the Boards that they serve on in the community and events that they attend. Ultimately, they should be brand ambassadors in the grocery stores, in the hotel lobbies, in the parks, on the golf course, in the malls, and everywhere they go and every person that they touch.
Secondly, BRG leaders should be Community Bridge Builders.
It is a basic human need to have a sense of belonging, to be connected to something or someone, and to feel a part of something significant and bigger than you. Equally, it is a basic human need to feel safe.
BRG leaders can be Community Bridge Builders by creating a sense of community, learning, and inviting diversity of thought and perspectives both in and outside of the workplace.
BRG leaders can help to facilitate opportunities for dialogue, courageous conversations, understanding and acceptance. Yes, in particular, the sensitive, polarizing, and the most misunderstood aspects of our identities, our histories, and our experiences (such as religion, sexual orientation, politics, culture, race, and disabilities).
Finally, BRG leaders can help to provide the tools and resources needed to minimize culture clashes, culture wars, and cultural insensitivities that people experience, in and outside of the organization.
Thirdly, BRG leaders must be Culture Evolutionaries.
Culture is not something you always see; but it is something that you experience.
There are artifacts that represent the company culture such as the wall of Founders or Past Presidents that hang in the lobby, dress code, how the receptionist greets you, the physical décor of the building, food, the mission and vision statements on the wall, to name a few. However, the aspects of culture that cannot be seen but experienced are the areas that cause the greatest amount of misunderstandings, disengagement, low performance, and/or turnover. They can include unwritten rules, perceptions, norms, company politics, traditions, and beliefs. Therefore, BRG leaders can play a significant role in ensuring that the culture continues to evolve rather than remain static; to progress from archaic belief systems that breed homogeneity and conformity– to cultures that foster trust, empowerment, respect, and belonging.
Learn from companies such as Nike, Uber, CBS, Mattel, the NFL, Starbucks, General Motors, Facebook, United Airlines, Wells Fargo and many others who have had to address and evolve their culture in the public’s eye and repair the reputational damage caused by bad behavior of its leadership. Forward thinking and inclusive leaders recognize that culture transformation must be a strategic focus and a business strategy. To not transform the workplace culture in this Era of Disruption, and in this global, diverse, multicultural, and ever-changing society is a going-out of business strategy.
Fourthly, BRG leaders must be Legacy Leaders.
This work is too important and has the potential to live on for generations. The workplace that organizations become known for by 2030 or by 2050 depends on the seeds that leaders sow today and the accomplishments that are achieved in the future. Some leaders will retire from their current company; some will move on to new opportunities; and others will move up in their current organization. But wherever life takes you in the next 5, 10, or 20 years, I encourage you to be a Legacy Leader.
I opened this article asking you to imagine a world/workplace where all of the attributes that make you unique are welcomed and embraced, or one where you can bring your full and best self to work every day and share ideas and perspectives openly and honestly, without fear of retribution, etc. When you operate as a Legacy Leader we will no longer have to imagine these kinds of workplaces because the work that you do will help to make them a living reality. Ultimately, the goal of a Legacy Leader is to leave the organization better than you found it.