The source for many of my posts over the years has been the local churches announcing their upcoming sermons for the Sunday services and this one is no different. Originally I thought about this in a different context but the events of the past week have changed my focus.
We are involved in an ever-changing world and these changes require that we change our focus and approaches in order to successfully deal with those changes. They require us to change our corporate culture. They require us to change our social fabric. Newton’s 3rd law of physics tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The difficulty comes when those changes are not carefully thought out. We can’t afford not to make the changes but we also can’t afford to jump to a change with out considering the long-term impact of those decisions. None of us is immune from this formula.
Scenario 1: Organizational change
We will be the first ones to tell you that in order to create an organization, that is thinking strategically, is innovative in their actions and aligned with the business objectives, we need to change the culture of the organization. But those changes need to be designed around the voice of the customer. We need to change our culture to be more aligned with the entities who are paying for our services.
These changes can’t be arbitrary in nature and they must have a foundation in creditable, verifiable data, which indicates why we are making the changes. We need to be able to demonstrate how this will make the organization stronger going forward. As we look at the problems confronting the organization we take clear steps to define the problem, measure it affects, analyze the results and improve the process so going forward we can control the waste that the customer will not pay for.
Part of that analysis segment is that we must look at the range of solutions and choose the one that will meet the desired output with the least amount of upheaval to the organization wherever possible. We need to understand the consequences of our changes.
Scenario “2: The Social Fabric
This past week we have been given the opportunity to see the title of this blog post in action. For too long our organizations and society have stereotypes members of our society due to arbitrary views of the individual because of their race, national origin or geophysical location.
We begin our change maestro’s daily tips with a picture which states that we see the world, not as it is, but as we see are. In that lies the root problem with what is going on in this country and our organizations today. Apart from the professional agitators, the vast majority of those out on our streets over the past week are trying to get us to see the world as it is. They are trying to get us to see the world that has hindered the development of a portion of our human capital assets because some manager has decided that he/she will only hire those who look like them. Who placate the equal opportunity effort by hiring token minorities. It has been going on at least since I entered the recruiting field in the mid-70’s.
Here is my take on the situation.
First, corporate America needs to take a real hard look at itself. Our organizations are most likely based on the beliefs of the founders who established a corporate culture. Some of those cultures perpetuated the stereotypes that are now coming to the forefront in the civic dialogue.
Second, when we are not in stay-at-home orders and we are in full operating mode, corporations spend millions of dollars on corporate training. We need to review those training opportunities not only from the view of required skills to perform the tasks within the company but also what opportunities are providing to allow our human capital assets of color the change to obtain new skills that will take them out of the cubbyholes we have placed htem in because the corporate culture says this is where they belong.
Third, from a personal view, I have first hand seen the issues that the current dialogue are discussing. Whether it is from the view of the African American woman who worked as an aide to a Congressman who purchased a home in my neighborhood and as a real estate agent was told that I should of squashed the sale or the African American couple and their two children who moved into our neighborhood in the suburbs of New York City who were teachers and doctors, where the neighbors claimed it was going to depress their property values.
The next time you make a decision to take an action to improve the organization, it is critical that you explore what equal and opposite reaction. Whether we are talking about the organization or a profession, while change is mandatory, be sure that everyone understands the reasoning and the details in the facts rather than blanket pronouncements of the intended change. Be sure that the changes you propose to the organization are rooted in what the actual world is. With proper preparation those equal and opposite reactions can be positive rather than negative , strengthening the organization in the long run.