The Unconscious Bias Towards Male Names, Pronouns, and Traits in our Conversations

Everyday we create and share stories about customers, team members, and even made-up people in hypothetical situations. We also have a tonne of conversations with the people around us - customers, team mates, friends, family, and so on. Have you ever paused to listen to the names, pronouns, and way you ascribe gender to certain traits in your language (or how others do it)? (more…)
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Your views and values show up everywhere

With increasing pace, I’ve seen more people use their voices online to stand up for what they believe is right and participate in fierce conversation and debate. I’ve also seen a shift in organizations' behaviour in response to the expectations of consumers that companies will interact online, speak up on issues, and make business decisions that are rooted in values that align with those of their customers. These trends have me thinking about the challenges individuals and organizations face in how they participate in the social and political climate of today. One particular challenge is around corporate social media policies that strive to find the right balance of influence over how employees engage online, and individuals who are asserting themselves when they feel those policies go too far. Seeing it…
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Forgotten laptop

‪I forgot my laptop at home today. I was a bit anxious when I discovered this. Undeterred, I went about my day with a notebook, pen, my iPhone, and video-connnected meeting rooms.‬ ‪It kept me out of my email and in my conversations. Maybe I should “forget” more often.‬
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Levels, Roles, and Leadership Throughout

Something I've been chewing on recently is the notion that hierarchy and titles are antiquated concepts, especially for organizations looking to keep pace in (as Thomas L. Friedman has termed it) the age of accelerations. From my perspective, structuring a work force according to a hierarchy impedes the movement of people. A hierarchy implies that you work in one area for someone on certain things and need to take a new job in a different area for someone else to work on other things. When it comes to title, they tend to be narrow or skill-oriented (like "project manager, "customer service representative," or "accountant") and rarely reflect the reality of what a person really brings to the table. These sorts of titles lead to assumptions about a person's ability to contribute…
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The result in front of us

One of my leaders shared what a former leader of his told him: if you’re happy with the result in front of you, then it must be the one you’re willing to accept. This statement cuts right through all the bluster and BS we tell ourselves as to why something didn’t land or turn out. You know the truth when you look in the mirror and ask, in your heart of hearts, if this is your best. Those who are always striving for better will know it’s time to head back to work; the rest will shrug and move on. I read the article, Mediocrity Is A Virus, by Benjamin P. Hardy and it reminded me of how easy it can be to shrug and move on. Take these statements from the…
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What’s one day?

At one point or another, someone (a person, a team, or an organization) has done something that's diminished the trust you have in them. I'll use an example of funding a mortgage where, from the outside, it seems straightforward: transfer money from the financial institution's account to the lawyer's account on this day and time so the customer can take the first step into their new home. Ask around and, no matter who a person banks with, these organizations have missed on hitting the date. Another example is you've ordered something and been promised delivery the day before you're leaving on vacation. In the Amazon Age, this has become an expectation of online retailers. But the delivery day comes and goes and you have to set off without that item…
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Do more by narrowing your focus

A meeting once a week (with no end in sight) to make improvements will result in two things: 1. No timely progress. 2. Frustration and annoyance by people who are in the habit of getting shit done. Instead of having 20 things on the go at the same time - each with their one hour weekly meeting - let's focus on 2 or 3 in a month and drive them out to release or completion. Then onto the next iteration or the next thing. Clear your calendar for a day or a week, get in a room, and get it done. We can't afford to wait for a year to go by and see the first (and only?) iteration of 20 things finish at about the same time. Better to…
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