As today marks the beginning of Black History Month in the U.S., I invite you to reject the urge of moving through Black History Month like it’s merely a learning “opportunity.” Rise above aspiring to the all too predictable trajectory passage of mediocrity and refuse to coast. Instead, start today with the commitment to make this a year for MAKING THE HISTORY BOOKS, not just re-reading them. Learning and being curious is essential BUT education without taking action won’t change the course of history.
To leaders in positions of influence and power, here are two very powerful actions YOU CAN TAKE starting today, to move the needle forward and truly make a difference.
1. Address Pay Inequity. Stop asking for data and “proof” elsewhere and review the findings of your company’s latest pay audit. Oh, there isn’t one? Conduct an audit. Review the findings and address the gaps by IMPLEMENTING mechanisms to solve and close them.
2. Review your DEI initiatives. Inclusion safety and being an ally is EARNED not owed. Here’s a question, are your company’s DEI initiatives actually inclusive? Are your ally groups filled with people who are willing to do something with their power privilege and access, who actively lean in when it’s not convenient, when it’s not planned and costs them something or filled with people who are in it only because it’s convenient for them or on the agenda?
So, starting today, I challenge you to hold yourself and others accountable to:
1. Create INCLUSIVE, NON-TOXIC environments. Hiring diversity doesn’t address inclusivity. All human beings want to be included which means inclusion safety extends well beyond affinity groups and “pet” projects – it’s a moral imperative.
2. Cease extracting value from Black men and women all the while disregarding our inherent value, talent, skills and superpowers.
3. Earn trust, Every. Single. Day because where there is no trust there is no INCLUSION. A leader’s most important job is to build and nourish environments where everyone is given respect, feels included, empowered to learn, contribute, and innovate. Because, in the end, the greatest source of fulfillment in life comes from INCLUDING others, helping them learn and grow, unleashing their potential, and finding deep communion together – as human beings. Less talking and planning and more DOING and BEING. Sometimes you make the right decision and sometimes you need to make the decision right.
What are you going to do?