Isn’t today the day you hit Reply and let me know what you think?
I get interviewed about conversation micro-habits for leading people through organizational transitions
How can small shifts in our conversations bring big outcomes? Tarun Stevenson and I had fun exploring this. We talked about conversation micro-habits leaders can use to calm people’s nervous systems, meet their social needs (think David Rock’s SCARF model), guide them through transitions, and tell All of Us stories in which everyone is a protagonist. Listen to the podcast or watch on YouTube.
I work with teams, but not like the old days
“I didn’t realize you worked with teams,” an old friend and colleague said to me a few weeks ago. “I thought you just did one-on-one coaching.”
It’s true. After cutting my teeth facilitating groups in the late 1990s and early 2000s (e.g. strategic planning for the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco), for the next decade I did almost exclusively one-on-one coaching. This changed a half dozen years ago when I began to wonder, “What would it be like to do this with entire teams?” Recent clients include the senior team in a growing B Corporation committed to sustainability, a college executive team focused on engaging and retaining managers to improve student outcomes, and the senior team in a growing division within a Fortune 100 company.
What’s different now compared to the “old days?” I don’t accept requests for pure facilitation. Every engagement needs to support people’s growth. Why? One, because it works better. Two, because not doing so is painful. The key is to learn while doing, to grow while engaged in actual work. My colleague Jeannie Coyle calls this “tucking development into performance.”
Twice as good
Black American physicians
A recent Linked In thread highlighted Black American doctors and nurses. One person commented on the excellent care she had received from a team that was entirely Black American. Another questioned the premise: why should culture or ethnicity matter?
- I’m equally pleased by good care no matter who provides it.
- However, our brains have cognitive biases that interfere with our ability to make grounded assessments of others. This happens not because we’re racist (though we may have racist ideas floating through our minds and lodged into our bodies), but because we’re human.
- Cognitive bias can reduce the benefits I receive from care if the provider is Black American and I’m not. Here’s the irony: this can happen in spite of that person’s competence. First, I may avoid an otherwise competent physician and potentially end up in the hands of someone less capable. Second, let’s say I don’t avoid them. My cognitive bias may cause me to distrust the physician’s competence even while receiving great care from her. Due to the mind’s role in health, this can have a “nocebo” or reverse-placebo effect. Either way, I lose.
- Here’s the irony. By the time a Black American physician is at my bedside, that person likely has had to be twice as good as everyone else. (And, yes, incompetent physicians come from every culture and every skin hue).
- So, if I had half a brain (or half as much cognitive bias), I’d trust a Black American physician’s competence more, not less.
Five axioms about our racial reckoning
- The actions required to defeat racism are more complex than those proposed by the anti-racism crowd
- The good white person ID card may look like a passport but it’s actually a ticket to hell
- Self flagellation is not an effective way to cultivate virtue
- What if all of us combating racism spent half as much time undermining its fallacious premises as we did fessing up that it exists within us?
- Arguing that there has been little racial progress may feel like standing nobly in the truth of our present predicament. What it actually does is say to generations of Black Americans who have led that progress against great obstacles: I don’t see you. I don’t see what you’ve done. You are invisible to me.