COVID-19 is an inarguable milestone of our lifetime.
We have been shaken by its unpredictability and battered by its effects. Yet despite the catastrophic aftermath of the hard-swinging virus, much of our reality remains unapologetically the same.
The canon of murders by U.S. police officers of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd — along with countless before them — has served as a confirmation that even in the face of a global pandemic the oppressive social normalities reinforced by state and nation-wide policies of our country persist. (See APA article ‘We Are Living in a Racism Pandemic’.)
Our new norm is nothing new: it is simply our old reality with a face mask.
Protests from New York to Seattle, Cape Town to Seoul have exposed the unequivocal mandate for change across the world. As business leaders today, we hold the scultuping knife to shape not only what truth exists in our work space but in the personal lives of our employees, our management and ourselves. We are people whose professional influence gives us individual agency to invite change with the hope of denormalizing pre-COVID norms.
Our question is how…
Act with self-awareness.
Assess your own strengths, weaknesses and prejudices. Carve out time for reflection and honest questioning. Hold the mirror. Do the work. I’ll be doing it right alongside you.
For outside support, resources such as Project Implicit offer a strong platform for self-assessment.
Act with authenticity.
Throughout weeks of protests various companies have issued statements of solidarity. These, however, have often been void of actionable demands, specific injustices, and reflective ownership. I question then: Is it fear of profit loss that drives these companies to publicly declare their alliance to Black Lives Matter? Or, is it genuine belief in the movement and imploration for actionable change? Branding schemes for the sake of consumer loyalty is solidarity for the ‘gram. Not for real change.
Without authentic conviction and genuine belief cultivated through understanding of the cause, our personal posts and professional policy changes are empty promises with shaky foundation (at best). When you act, be honest about why you do it.
Act with empathy:
Understanding other individuals can be the simplest yet most challenging task we will endure as humans. Nevertheless, it is the foundation of our humanity. To shake the norm into the (un)norm we need to engage our colleagues with a humble mind and unassuming heart. Ask about each other’s personal experiences. Listen. And then really listen.
For more reading on additional steps that we can take as leaders, HBR’s ‘U.S. Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism’ offers clear steps that we can pursue in our companies today and to instill sustainable change for tomorrow.
Together, let’s support a revolution of inclusivity, because old normal doesn’t have to be our new norm.
#executivecoaching #newnormal #meaningfulaction
To learn more about how Kim can help you adapt these principles, contact her here.