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2017 Spectrum Event Part1

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How are you all doing? Good, good. My name is Nehrwr. I think I'm supposed to click this forward. I've got to get used to—there we go. All right.

With that, if you have questions, I mean, just shout them out. I'll try to capture a few. I don't want to wait until just the end of the session to do Q&A. I am trying to facilitate some conversations around what you all can do but also what the organization can do to sort of lay the foundation for building a both more diverse, but also inclusive, organization. And it's funny, because we use those two terms constantly together—diversity and inclusion, diversity and inclusion.

And I'm actually here to talk about that missing piece in the middle, which is intercultural development, or the capacity to shift perspective and behavior based on commonalities and differences, which we call intercultural confidence. You know what's so interesting about this activity is what you think I'm doing is so far from what I'm really doing. I really was looking at group dynamics. That's really what it's about.

Because first of all, what were the instructions? Don't put them up just yet. What were my instructions? [audience responds] Uh-huh, and then—so what were you doing? [audience responds] OK, now—see, this is what somebody— "Count the number of 'F's". I never said that. I never said that. I said, count the number of times, what? You see the letter "F" in this statement. Is that open to multiple possibilities? Absolutely.

And here is what happens time and time again. Usually people with higher numbers, when I say, you have to talk to someone that's not in your group— and I'm not picking on anyone, because it happens all the time— they go, let me show you what you missed. [laughter] You didn't—let me show you. And then people go, oh, yeah. And then somehow when we're done, we've all assimilated to the same thing.

This is not the goal of good diversity and inclusion work, so that we all end up the same. Not the goal. The goal is when you have the opportunity to experience and see multiple perspectives, that you make full use of it.

Why would I have a five or less? Because I've done this activity enough times where there have been people in the room who said, you know, I see one "F," it just appears many times. Why do you think I have a 10 or more? Because this says, I see two "F"s in every "E." I also see an "F" in the "R"s. Multiple possibilities.

When it's time for a right or wrong answer, by all means— look, I'm a mathematician by trade, and I will tell you there are right and wrong answers. But when it's open, when you have the opportunity to have some different perspectives, different possibilities, you've got to make full use of it. That is the goal of good diversity and inclusion work.

So just a couple of things I want you to think about. You got to get out of your box. You have to get out your space. We have this tendency, when we want to check things out, we check them out with people who are closest to us. Did you see the same thing? I saw the same thing. I don't know what's wrong with those people. And then we say, now you have to go and explore. And then we start seeing some different possibilities.

There are some difficulties with that. Sometimes we have barriers that prevent us from engaging and interacting across difference. Sometimes we're in our silos. So if you're in building A, you may not ever venture over to Building B. or something like that. I don't know if you all have, like, a campus like that or something. They never let me come to your corporate office. I don't know why. They keep me on the peripheral.

All right, reach out. Connect with folks. Get out your comfort zone. Talk to people who are different. When in doubt, check it out. But—I shouldn't say "but." And—because the truth always comes after the "but." And—this is not a "either/or," it's a both "and." And seeing new things doesn't have to change who you are.

This is often a big shift for people who are starting to engage in this intercultural development work. I'm from the South Side of Chicago, if people didn't catch that. OK? I'm from Roseland. And if you look up my community, you're going to find some interesting news about the Roseland community and the South Side of Chicago. Culturally, I'm emotionally expressive, and I'm very direct.

So when I'm in a conflict with someone, my natural tendency is to say it with my chest. Some of you get that reference. OK? But now living and working in Minnesota, I can't do that all the time. They might call security on me. So I have to learn different approaches, shifting my perspective and my behavior. In other words, I have to develop some capacity, some intercultural confidence.

And Milton Bennett has a great expression with this. He says, "I can behave in culturally appropriate ways while still maintaining my values." Doesn't change who I am to put on a tie. Just like having a tool belt on, right? The more tools you have, the more flexible and adaptable you can be to different situations.

Now some of us only have one or two tools. And so we get into different situations, we're working across cultural differences. And we hit walls. And we don't really have the flexibility to shift our perspective. One of your leaders here really appreciated this quote, so I'm going to share this with you all. It says, "Blessed are the flexible, for they will never be bent out of shape." That's my mom talking.

All right, here's what's not going to happen in the next four hours. We are not going to end xenophobia. In other words, fear of difference. Nobody caught that I said "four hours." That's great. That's good. That's good. Because I might go over a little bit. I'm not going to get you a big raise, a bonus, or a promotion, or anything like that. Not going to happen.

And I'm not going to give you some magic secret ingredients, secret sauce, that's going to allow you all to achieve all your intercultural goals. But this is what, often, people want to do. They want the secret sauce. They want it now. They want to do it in one hour. They want to do it in one day. These things take time.

And I really appreciated the comment about you're at a very critical time right now in Southwire's development. I mean, this is sort of critical mass. And the thing about the "of"s— for people who may have not seen the "of"s right away, OK? So I'm not saying you missed them or you were wrong. I'm just saying if you didn't count them first go-around. That statement does not make any sense without the "of"s. True or not true? They are necessary in the English language. That's why they're there. Now, you can skim through it and you kind of piece it together. But those are critical words, just like organizationally.

These might not be large numbers, in terms of demographics, from people of color, your millennials, et cetera. But they absolutely are integral to the success of the organization. You make the organization tick. And you're providing a number of resources and perspectives that are going to be invaluable to the organization's ongoing growth and development. Critical, critical, critical.

So here's what we are going to do. We're going to talk a little bit about why diversion/inclusion work is important, much of which you all know already. We're going to talk a little bit about some trends. I'll do that really quickly. And then I'm going to give you a couple of tools that hopefully you all can use right away.

Now let me just say, I come from a tradition that says you are not considered an expert— and I am not an expert, I just have some experience in this field— but you're not considered an expert, or someone with permission to teach others, unless you've taken knowledge from three categories: people who are above you, so obviously your superiors— and I've had the fortune of learning and sitting with people who have written books, and created models and all those things. So I think I've done that. And I know you all have as well. From people who are your peers.

And I'm a Gen Xer. I'm not ashamed to say I'm 43. So I'm probably, you know, age-wise, similar to a few of the folks in the room. And you take knowledge from someone who's lower than you, meaning they don't have the level of experience and expertise. They don't have the years of experience. But that's to teach humility. So while I may not be above, I may be up here and below.

So this is an opportunity for you to check those two boxes off your list. That was a joke, if y'all didn't get it. I don't know what's going on. All right, so I'm going to talk real quickly about these three terms and concepts: diversity, inclusion and intercultural confidence. I'm going to do this really quickly just to anchor some of the learning. And I'm going to start with diversity. This is what we talk about all the time.

Diversity is all about demographics. It's about differences. Differences— I would add a caveat— that may or may not make a difference, all right? Differences that may or may not make a difference. What is the difference that may make a difference in Northern Ireland? Yes, religion. What is the difference that may make a difference in Quebec, Canada? Language. Very good.

So the difference that may make a difference always depends on the context, the situation. We do not want to always associate diversity to mean race. And some of you ERGs are a good reflection of that. Because diversity is about those differences that may make a difference. It doesn't mean we don't talk about race.

Because in fact, it may be the thing that's impacting— give you some examples— the ability for someone to meet their potential. If you're building is not accessible, in terms of wheelchair accessible, is that going to impact someone's ability to meet their potential? That's a diversity issue. I was working with a school, and they asked me to facilitate a workshop on should the school support a gay/straight student group. And I was there facilitating.

And there was parents there, there were teachers there. There were community members there. It was a very emotionally contentious meeting. And they were going back and forth, back and forth, with, "I'm not sending my kid to be brainwashed by the gay agenda." Someone else would get up, "We have every right to be here just like anyone else." Going back and forth, back and forth.

Now at some point, someone said, "What do you think?" They were talking about me. "What do you think?" Paying me all this money or not paying me a lot of money, saying, "What do you think?" [laughter] It was a school. It was not a lot. I said, "By a show of hands, how many of you feel that every student should feel safe when they go to school?" What do you think happened? Every hand went up.

And so from that point forward, we said, "What are some things the school can do to ensure that every student is safe when they go to school?" Because again, as my mother said, stress makes you stupid. And if you're stressed out about your safety, what's that going to impact? Your ability to meet your potential.

Cost. What would the cost be associated with Southwire gaining a reputation that you are discriminatory? What would the cost be to you? Say again? Expensive. It would be very hard to work through that. And the legality is all about compliance. And I would argue that that's the minimum an organization should be doing. Are you in compliance with state/federal non-discrimination laws? Bare minimum.

All right, give you an opportunity to have some talks, some discussions with some people next to you. What are some differences that may make a difference at Southwire? What does that look like? Is it just race, is it just gender—what else? I'll give you about five minutes to talk to some of your neighbors. What are some differences that may make a difference? Go. Just a quick combo. Quick combo. Quick check-in. I won't ask you to shout out any.

But this is an opportunity for you all to not just talk when you get out to the mixer. But there are going to be a couple other times when I'm going to ask you to turn to a couple of your neighbors and have a quick conversation, all right? This is more of a workshop, not necessarily a keynote. All right, so let's look at a few trends.

Way back when, we started talking about doing diversity training. That's always what I've been referring to, diversity training. Anyone know primarily the focus of those trainings way back when, when they really started to take off? What was the focus? Anybody remember this stuff? No, it wasn't, actually.

Sexual harassment. Yeah, gender. Yeah, yeah. And that's where you get the legal piece. It was so that people were not getting sued for sexual harassment. Then we started bringing in racial discrimination, OK? Now I'm talking about in terms of the early days of diversity training. When they started doing that— again, I want to go back. It was sexual harassment, and they started saying, oh, there's other kinds of— like racial and cultural differences that we need to be paying attention to.

I have a quick video. This is one of a few that I'm going to show you. I hope this works. My tech folks are— look out, what happened. Oh, OK. So this should work. This—this is an awareness test. [How many passes does the team in white make?] Go! The answer is 13. But did you see the moonwalking bear? Go!

Y'all are happy July 13, yes! Moonwalking bear, what? People started saying, you know, wait a minute. We've got lots of diff—gender is not the only issue we need to be thinking about in the workplace. There are different racial groups, different cultural patterns. People approach their work differently.

And then we start opening up more and more differences—whoa! Can't we all just get along? This is really where diversity training, I think, has gotten an inappropriate label. It's either shame and blame or— and the shame and blame is usually shame and blame white people for not knowing how to be good people. That's usually one approach. Then the other approach is kumbaya, can't we all just love one another?

These are the two extremes of diversity training, right? And that came out of because they were seeing a lot. They were starting to recognize and pay attention to a lot more differences in the workplace. I will be the first to argue that race is a big issue in the workplace. And even more in the workplace are cultural differences. Sit with that for a moment. Race is a big issue. And even more are the cultural differences. Sit with that for a moment.

All right, this is what I'm talking about. So you got the primary— we spent a lot of time that we called them the "Big Eight." These are the eight sort of protected classes in federal non-discrimination. Age, gender, race, veteran status, et cetera. I would venture to argue that—you know what? What's your name, man? Can I have the screen blank for a second?

What's your name? Eric. Can I have you come up here for a second? Could you move a little faster, Eric? [laughter] Here, do the hooper, you know, the little hooper jog. Go ahead. All right. Tell me all the ways that Eric and I are different. They were out quick with that. And what else? And what else?

He's much older than I am, very good. What else? Tie, no tie. What else? Eye color. You can see them from back there? OK, very good. What else? Shoes. I don't know what you're rocking. But I'm rocking Cole Haans. What else? He actually has a job. I do not. What else? Say again? Where'd you get—oh, because I have a ring on. Interesting. What else? And he doesn't. He might be on the—uh, anyway. What else? I'm having too much fun. All right. have a seat, Eric. Quickly, Eric. Quickly. Thank you.

If Eric and I worked together and we were working on a project together, and I told you that Eric is what we call an early starter— this comes out of Myers-Briggs. So MBTI, people that are familiar with Myers-Briggs, it's a personality assessment— measures different preferences around personality. It gives you a four-letter, four letters. Y'all familiar with this stuff? OK.

So let's say that Eric, on his Myers-Briggs, it says that he's an early starter, which means the closer he is to a— or the further away from a project deadline— the further away, the earlier Eric likes to get started on that project. That's when he's his best, his most creative self. Nehrwr is pressure-prompted, which means the closer I am to the deadline, that's when I'm my best self. That's when I'm most creative, most innovative.

But we're working on a project together. What do you think? We're going to have some issues. Screen back up again. And that's that outer dimension, those cultural patterns. Go back to my example earlier, my communication style, emotionally expressive and direct. What would happen if I get into a conflict with someone who's operating in a traditional Southern style of dealing with conflict? I get the bless his heart. Um-hmm, yeah. Yep, bless his heart.

All right, when we think about culture, the problem is we think too much about the surface areas of culture— food, music, clothing. Cultural celebration day—come on out and eat some food and buy some interesting artifacts, listen to some music, watch some dancers, buy some clothes you'll never wear to the house. That is often what we think about when we think about culture. You know it's true. Culture is really those underlying dimensions, those underlying patterns of values, beliefs, normative behaviors That's the stuff we often don't see. But we will bump up against it when we're engaged with someone who's culturally different from us.

Eric and I look visually similar, even though I'm team light skin, he's team dark skin. That's what my daughter would say. That's my daughter. My daughter would say that. Dad, you're on team light skin. What is that? I don't even know what that is. Visually, though, we might self-identify as— just for the purpose of the argument I'm going to say African-American. Is that OK? All right, so we both might self-identify as African-American. But culturally, we might be very, very different.

This is what intercultural development is about. And this is why we're trying to focus more and more about cultural competence, building that capacity to get into that experience of another cultural perspective so that you can be more effective at bridging those differences.

This is a great example. The baby boomers and the millennials, both valuing hard work, right? Some of you may recognize the picture on the left. What does that represent, anybody know? Nose to the grindstone, right? Because baby boomers would say, you go to work. And you go to work during work hours, right? The millennials would say, work is not a place. It's an activity. And where can you do that activity? Anywhere. When can you do that activity? Any time.

See? They both value hard work, but how it shows up looks very different. That's culture. The challenge is how to effectively balance those commonalities and differences. Leaders, in particular, are confronted with this challenge. How do you effectively balance cultural differences with cultural commonalities?

Over-emphasis on commonality, you get conformity. So you might have, like this room, a lot of different-looking people acting the same. So then do you truly have diversity? This is where the rubber meets the road. See, we like different-looking people who act the same. So then where's the diversity? Yeah. Too much emphasis on difference, you get people fragmenting into their groups.

Now let me say, ERGs are critical to organizations that have an overabundance of one particular demographic. Whatever the function of the ERG is, whether it's educating the organization, facilitating programs, facilitating workshops, et cetera— whatever that is, at the end of the day, it still needs to provide an invaluable resource. And that is a place where folks can just relax.

Let me give you an example. I know y'all got pens, right? I brought some pens. I'm sorry I didn't get my pens out to the welcome table. But hopefully, we'll get those pens distributed in a minute. They're way cheaper than the ones y'all got. I'm sorry. You're going to look at my pens and say, I don't want this pen. But just keep it. Just make me feel good, OK? But your pens are the bomb. They're real nice.

So everybody grab a pen. And I'd like you to find a scratch sheet of paper somewhere in your folder or whatever. And I want you to quickly sign your name. Just quickly sign your name somewhere. You can do it on that little slip of paper you had. Quick, quick, quick. Sign your name. Not complicated. Quick, quick, quick. Just sign your name. Very, very good. You should be done by now. If not, again, you're in the wrong workshop.

Now I want you to switch hands and sign your name again. Not a trick question. Can you do it both ways? Yes or no? Not a trick question. Can you do it as effectively both ways? Very good. Very good. Some of you are ambidextrous, and so there are some exceptions to the rule. What organizations are often confronted with is they've got to have ways of doing things, right?

You've got to have some policies. You have to have some procedures. You have to have an organizational culture. So what if your organizational culture was one that said in order for you to be successful here, you need to sign and use your left hand? Who would be happy about that? Where are my lefties? Everybody else in the room would have to do what? Have to learn how to use that other hand if you want to be successful. Yes? Very good.

Again, you can do it both ways. And you can learn how to get effective both ways, using that other hand. But when you feel under stress, when you feel pressure, what are you likely going to go to quite naturally, even if you catch yourself? Your dominant hand. Most people, that right hand.

Because using the other hand, you're expending more of what? Energy. See, it takes a lot of energy for me to be more emotionally restrained like this and talk more monotone and to enunciate. That takes a lot of focus. I expend a lot of energy doing this. I know that it's very effective for some communication styles. And so I have to learn how to do that. Now when I'm done doing this, I'm frigging tired.

And so, again, ERGs are a place where people can relax. Because very often, not always, but very often, folks are expending a lot of energy operating an organizational culture. And sometimes it's helpful to just have spaces where you don't always have to do that as consciously. I'm not saying this is the purpose of Spectrum. But I don't want to lose sight of the invaluable resource that ERGs have always served. And that is giving people some space to just be cool and just chill and relax. All right. I'm off my soapbox now. I'm sorry.

OK, I think I've said all this stuff already. So I'm not going to repeat them because I've got a lot more slides. I think I've got, like, 90 slides. I'm only on 30. I'm just joking. I'm just joking. All right.

Oh, I've got another quick activity. Some of you know this. So you can't cheat. I'm watching you. Norman. Fill in the blank. I want you to just quick write down the first thing that comes to mind. Finish this statement. Diversity creates what?

What do you have? Diversity creates what? Success? Innovation? Opportunity? I'm sorry, what did you say? Opportunity. What did you say after that? Balance. What did you say? Engagement. Creativity. I haven't heard the right answer yet. Keep going. [audience yells] Awareness? Harmony? Progress? Knowledge? OK. Strength? Strengths. OK.

I think you've got a lot of these, right? Right. I was footnoting. One of my guys—footnote you. This is what folks were saying for a long time. The more diversity you have, the more innovative your organization. The more diversity you have, the better off your products, the more perspectives you'll have. Just on and on and on.

That is actually not true. I don't want to burst your bubble. But that is not true. If diversity created innovation—for people who can't see this slide— so you have—gosh, so there's no laser on this. All right. See, this is horrible. I'm a horrible trainer. I didn't bring my laser pointer. That's probably going to blind.

So you have all these multicultural teams, right? And how they defined it in this research was where the cultural differences were significant enough that they identified it as a multicultural team. For the monocultural teams, the cultural differences were not significant enough where they saw themselves as a monocultural team. You should not interpret that to mean multiracial or monoracial, OK? Just to be clear.

If diversity created innovation, if diversity created better products, and on and on and on, where would all of the multicultural teams be on that slide? To the right. So what's the problem here? So you have some multicultural teams that can underperform more homogeneous teams. And those homogeneous teams underperform the multicultural teams.

So what's different between the multicultural teams on the far right and the ones on the far left? What's different? Their level of intercultural competence. So to your point, sir, diversity does create absolutely nothing. It is a neutral phenomenon. [audience member talking] Oh, OK. Team before. That's good, that's good. So a more collective response. Very good. Not an individualistic one. Appreciate that.

It doesn't do anything. It is what we choose to do with that diversity that can create more innovation or less innovation, that can create greater retention or less retention, that can create better recruitment or not so good recruitment. It's the choices we make with regards to that diversity. I cannot stress that enough.

You have to have some of that diversity in order to facilitate some of those learnings. But just having it is not enough. How we do that, we call this intercultural development, is a developmental process. It's kind of like mathematical proficiency.

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Duration: 32 minutes and 46 seconds
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Language: English
License: All rights reserved
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Posted by: southwire on Jun 13, 2018

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