As the events of the last week have unfolded, the entire world has taken notice and our collective consciousness has been shocked. At least that is the case for those of us who have been living in privilege for far too long. While the horrific murder of George Floyd has served as an awakening of many who have been asleep and walking in privilege-induced slumber, the truth is this was by no means an isolated incident.
What happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and a host of other people too long to list, has been happening to our black brothers and sisters since before the foundation of this nation.
And the truth is BLACK LIVES MATTER. They always have. It’s not a statement of disdain or disrespect to any other racial group. It’s a movement of strength and recognition that black Americans have lived marginalized as second-rate citizens of this free country for the last several hundred years. Now more than ever, something needs to be done about that societal position. But when do we do it, where do we do it, and how do we do it? Now, right where you stand, and I’m glad you asked.
Individually, choose to be educated about the atmosphere of injustice, its embedded history and your own implicit and explicit biases. Search deep and truthfully, because you can’t fix a problem you can’t identify. Once identified, make a decision to do something positive to fix it.
At the job, choose to be a leader regardless of the level or position you hold. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself on the company depth chart. Leaders should make the tough decisions to be and do better, always. There are no exceptions to that rule. Do this and you can begin to have an explosive impact on those around, fostering positivity along the way. “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less,” says John Maxwell, the world-renowned authority in leadership development.
Organizationally, it’s simple. Reflect the world you want to see. Purposefully define and tool your work teams with talent and skill sets from a diverse community of backgrounds, races, creeds and upbringings. Doing this increases flexibility, diversifies business thought processes and makes a one-track mind, beautifully dynamic.
Yes, we’re all created equal, but living equal is what we’re charged with defining. Be the change agent this world needs. The future depends on it.