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Are You An Inclusive Leader? by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Apr 26, 2022 | Comments Off

 

“We are trying to construct a more inclusive society. We are going to make a country in which no one is left out.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Learn More About Heather R Younger >

My daughter had a tough middle school year. She agonized over how she felt left out of circles and discussions and events. I would often coach her to look past it all and realize that many of her classmates were going through similar things.

Her situation felt different. She told me that she felt like her classmates looked past and through her to talk to and include other people. She was really hurt, and so was her self-esteem. I supported her and told her to hang on a little longer since she would be graduating. Then, one weekend, she looked at one of her social media pages and noticed that one of those classmates had a birthday party that included mostly everyone from her class but excluded a few.

She was not invited. And although this was not a new occurrence, it still hurt.

I get it!

Everyone has the right to invite whomever they want to their parties. However, social media changes the impact in many ways because people can celebrate and exclude others in a more public way.

I can’t help but think about how Inclusion plays a similar role in the workplace.

Are there people inside your organization who feel passed over and looked through? Are there high-performing employees who have great things to say but don’t get a chance to say them?

How inclusive are you?

Do you make sure that unpopular voices have a seat at the table? Are they in the room but not really recognized as an important voice? Do you look through certain people to cater to those who look a certain way or speak a certain way?

Below are five considerations if you are striving to be a more inclusive leader:

1. LISTEN AND ACT

Who do you listen to? Do you consider the narrow view of just a few, or make sure you include people with varied backgrounds? Do you act upon the most common voices, or are you courageous enough to act upon the uncommon feedback?

Inclusive leaders both look for and listen to diverse perspectives and take certain actions to show that those perspectives are valued.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, listen to everyone and commit to taking action on much of what you hear.

2. EXPAND YOUR CIRCLE

Who is in your inner circle? Leaders who take the time to ensure that their circle is only homogeneous in values and purpose and not based upon the same physical characteristics or background are simply more inclusive.

Some years ago, I had a diverse coaching client who recalled a time when her boss held a firm party and excluded her. She found out about it, because others in the office were talking about it and brought gifts back they received at the party. She felt like an outsider and did not understand why it happened. Her boss never gave her an explanation.

Was this type of behavior typical for this leader? Most likely, yes! We are often more comfortable with people who share our same lived experiences. But, unfortunately, when we surround ourselves with people like us, we create more blind spots and minimize our chances of creating more innovative teams.

Inclusive leaders go out of their way to include people who might challenge their thinking and bring innovative ideas to the table.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, review and expand your inner circle.

3. COLLABORATE OFTEN

To collaborate means to admit that you alone don’t have the answers. Instead, the best solutions spring from the back and forth at the collaboration table.

If you want to be a more inclusive leader, dare to invite many different types of people to the table because that is when the fun begins!

4. AUDIT HIRING AND PROMOTION PRACTICES

Affinity bias is real. It is when we are inclined to include those around us who are like us. When hiring and promoting team members, this type of bias can be a barrier to real Inclusion. Audit your hiring and promotion practices and consistently ask yourself whether you are letting bias get in the way of including others who aren’t like you.

5. MONITOR THE LANGUAGE BEING USED

To be an inclusive leader, we must consider the language we use around those inside or outside our circle. To include also means to make someone feel welcome or like they are important. If we are or someone in our circle is using words that exclude, then we have a problem. Take the time to evaluate and research the right things to say and how to refer to certain situations and people in your space. So often, we or those around us initiate microaggressions against those in marginalized groups and harm them by our words.

Inclusive leaders monitor for this and tweak and adjust along the way.

________________________________

Someone once told me that “diversity is being invited to the party, and Inclusion is asking them to dance.”
So, let’s all commit to being the kind of leaders who ask many people to dance!

 

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Diversity and An Inclusive Culture by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Mar 21, 2022 | Comments Off

 

"Organizations that want to bear great fruit include the voices of all employees and enlist them in the change that they're looking to do." 

Learn More About Heather R Younger >

Let’s talk about diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging - and in the context of your “Why?” Understanding why you are embarking on the journey is just as important as understanding any of the steps after that.

What I want to talk to you about today is using the voice of your employees to really gauge the proper direction of your organization. What often happens in organizations is that the leaders talk amongst themselves and maybe to the level right below. But, organizations that want to bear great fruit include the voices of all employees and enlist them in the change that they're looking to do.

1. DO A CULTURAL AUDIT OR DEI SURVEY
So, have you done a cultural audit or a Diversity, Equity Inclusion and Belonging survey recently? You want to do that because you want to be able to listen in aggregate and gather the themes that are important to the employees of your organization and use that as a way to drive everything forward. Then, you can move forward to create a strategic plan.

2. CREATE A STRATEGIC PLAN
Right now, you don't know what you don't know. And so, if you're consistently committing to using the voices of your employees as a barometer for whether you are in the right place or not - also as an information hub, to make you smarter on this journey - you are going to garner a lot more success in the process.

Remember, creating a diverse and inclusive culture is a journey.

Focus on the next best step understanding that you are on the road to success. And, you want to be focused on improvement, not perfection.

 

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3 Ways to Fill Your Cup in 2022 by Heather R Younger

By Heather Younger | Jan 11, 2022 | Comments Off

 

"It’s so important to give our mind, body, and soul sustenance so we can put forth the best versions of ourselves." 

What Does it Really Mean to Fill Your Cup?

Coming into a new year, filling ourselves up and understanding what this means for us will make all the difference with how effective we will be in 2022. Filling your cup is taking the time to care just as much for yourself as you do for others. It’s so important to give our mind, body, and soul sustenance so we can put forth the best versions of ourselves.

We cannot give what we do not have.

Someone once gave me the metaphor of a cup on a saucer. As we keep pouring into our cup, eventually it will overflow onto the saucer. If we continue to give from inside the cup and not from the overflow, what happens? The cup runs dry. We run dry too.

Implementing Positive Daily Changes

My best advice is to calendar everything that you do. Personal or work-related. Build those physical, mental, and spiritual health time blocks into your day. Mind Over Latte gives great examples on how to sprinkle small changes into your day to give yourself the personal time you really need.

Nourishing Your Body, Mind, & Soul

Take the time to move your body, whatever that means to you. When we feel good about ourselves physically, we feel good mentally. Everything is connected.

  • Go for a walk
  • Take a yoga class
  • Stretch for five minutes
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Go swimming

The most important thing you can do is give yourself grace. As easy as it may be to forgive others, remember to also forgive yourself of your imperfections. Giving yourself this grace and keeping your mind positively stimulated plays a huge part in your mental health.

  • Listen to an inspirational podcast
  • Read for fun
  • Call a loved one
  • Write a journal
  • Go for a coffee with a friend

Take quiet time to reflect, meditate, or pray. Think deeply about your day or week. In this new world full of chaos and drama, take the time to be quiet and sit with yourself.

  • Meditate for five minutes
  • Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths
  • Write down what you are grateful for
  • Attend prayer service
  • Cuddle with your children

Make time to move, be quiet, and give yourself grace. There is power to be found in the silence of your mind; cherish it and fill up your cup in this new year!


 

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It’s HOT October - Juggling Calendars, Clients and Our Speakers

By Karen Harris | Oct 18, 2018 | Comments Off

When you’re in the business of putting the right speakers with the right clients in the right places with ALL the right components, there are certain times of the year where the calendar looks so packed that you begin to wonder if a few hours’ sleep a night or even a bathroom break are more suggestions than necessities. There’s a lot to keep together, and our crackerjack event coordinators really lean into the juggling act during this busiest month of all.

Here are a few thoughts to help you keep a cool head when the pressure is on:

  1. Practice self-care. I know, I know – “But there’s too much to do!” I believe in the philosophy that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Like great athletes during peak seasons, hydrate, make time for sleep, fuel up with healthy food, take your vitamins, and talk things out! What I love about our team is that they ARE a team. If someone is careening towards overwhelm, they have always got each other’s back, both in terms of workload and support. Ultimately, it’s that connection to people combined with the right tools of the trade that keeps burnout at bay.
  2. Keep AMAZING notes. The truth is you can’t remember everything, especially when you are playing beat-the-clock. So, whether you are arranging transportation, managing client expectations, pulling resources together or working with a speaker – or more likely, all of the above – don’t rely on your memory to serve you consistently. When possible, use a conference call line with the ability to record, take copious notes and organize your notes in a way that makes it the most easily understood and accessible for YOU.
  3. Systems rock. At cmi, we don’t leave a lot to chance. With some of the best speakers in the world relying on us to help them successfully bring their message to the masses (and show up at the right place at the right time) – we know what works and what doesn’t. That’s important because it’s really easy for things to fall through the cracks if you don’t have a streamlined, well-tested system in place for getting every event from start to finish.
  4. Technology tools are vital. Our business involves communication all over the globe; we couldn’t do that effectively if it weren’t for the tech tools that keep us ahead of the curve in terms ofschedules, reminders, dates, client information, transportation, and logistical hurdles. Find the tools that work best for your team and make them part of the system you can rely on.
  5. Ducks in a row. What keeps team members from hitting a wall during the busiest of times is all the action they take during the slower months. Savvy coordinators use off-months to prepare well and have their ducks in a row so that when the calendar gets crazy, they don’t feel the stress nearly as much. This includes REALLY getting to their systems, their co-workers and their clients. The more you know, the easier it is to make decisions on the fly and put the pieces of the event puzzle together faster.

It’s all hands-on deck around here during this busy time of year, and I just want to note that I am incredibly proud of the team we have. They make this juggling act of events look easy and keep their wits (and wittiness) about them while they are at it. Great job team!

If there is something we can do to help YOU juggle the events for your organization, let us know. It’s something we are very passionate about!

 

Learn more about Karen and the cmi team here!

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