Diversity Training Doesn’t Work

March 26, 2012

By Peter Bregman   Article

“A study of 829 companies over 31 years showed that diversity training had “no positive effects in the average workplace.” Millions of dollars a year were spent on the training resulting in, well, nothing. Attitudes — and the diversity of the organizations — remained the same.

It gets worse. The researchers — Frank Dobbin of Harvard, Alexandra Kalev of Berkeley, and Erin Kelly of the University of Minnesota — concluded that “In firms where training is mandatory or emphasizes the threat of lawsuits, training actually has negative effects on management diversity.” … When people divide into categories to illustrate the idea of diversity, it reinforces the idea of the categories.

Which, if you think about it, is the essential problem of prejudice in the first place. People aren’t prejudiced against real people; they’re prejudiced against categories. “Sure, John is gay,” they’ll say, “but he’s not like other gays.” Their problem isn’t with John, but with gay people in general.

Categories are dehumanizing. They simplify the complexity of a human being. So focusing people on the categories increases their prejudice. The solution? Instead of seeing people as categories, we need to see people as people.  … Not categories of people. People. Teach them how to have difficult conversations with a range of individuals. …

And, while teaching them that, help them resist the urge to think about someone as a gay person, a white man, a black woman, or an Indian. Also help them to resist the urge to think about someone as “just like me” — that’s a mistake too. Move beyond similarity and diversity to individuality. Help them see John, not as a gay white man, but as John. Yes, John may be gay and white and a man. But he’s so much more than that.

Don’t reinforce his labels, which only serve to stereotype him. Reveal his singularity. Don’t ask: What are the dreams of a gay white man. Ask: What are John’s dreams? What does he hate? What are his passions? The antidote to the ineffectiveness of diversity training is the opposite of diversity training. If you want diversity, think about an individual, then another, then another.”

What your job is Not

March 26, 2012

By Sarah   Article

  • “Your job is not checking email.
  • Your job is not (just) making other people happy. 
  • Your job is not to stay late.
  • Your job is not to be miserable.
  • Your job is not to make other people miserable.
  • Your job is not procrastinating. 
  • Your job is not acting in a way that goes against your beliefs.
  • Your job is not to be bored.
  • Your job is not your life.

What is your job?

  • Your job is something you do.
  • Your job might help you to pay the bills.
  • Your job is a place to create great work. 
  • Your job is to learn.
  • Your job is to bring your unique and necessary skillset to particular projects.
  • Your job is to excel.
  • Your job is to innovate, improve, and generate.
  • Your job is to to make your boss look great.
  • Your job is to use your judgment wisely.
  • Your job is to be the best professional you can be, given your knowledge, expertise and judgment.
  • Your job is to be a great teammate. 
  • Your job is to make others’ work better. 
  • Your job is to grow.”

12 Customer Dos & Don’ts

March 26, 2012

By Geoffrey James   Article

DO put connection before content.  Clients don’t want you to sell to them; they want you to genuinely care about them. Take the time to build a personal connection before you start talking business.

DON’T badmouth the competition.  Only people who are insecure try to build themselves up at the expense of others. Show your competitors the same respect you’d want if the positions were reversed.

DO focus on individuals, not companies.  You may be selling to an organization, but you’re doing it through an individual.  Remember: ABC Inc. is not going to buy your offering; but Joe might.

DON’T give a sales pitch.  Pitches are a great way to shut people down and pigeonhole you as a hustler.  Even when speaking to a group, make the interchange a conversation, not a lecture. …

DO engage with customers as equals.  The client conversation should contain a feeling of mutuality rather than talking down to or being subservient to your clients.

DON’T attempt an “end run.”  Bypassing a client or customer contact who is ambivalent or hostile will create an enemy for life. That person will constantly work against you … from the inside. You don’t want that.

DO keep the conversation mutual.  Your goal is to earn your client’s trust by connecting with them, thereby creating a sense of safety.  You can’t do that if you’re yakking away.

DON’T pull your punches.  Never be afraid to tell clients what they need to know if you feel they might be making a mistake–especially if that mistake involves buying your product.

DO be willing to play “little league.”  Even if you know there’s a huge (i.e. big league) opportunity, shove your own agenda aside and focus on whatever game this client wants to play right now.

DON’T play negotiation games. That stuff you read in the “How to Negotiate” books?  Forget it. You’re trying to forge a relationship, not win a zero-sum competition.

DO self-disclose when appropriate.  Human beings buy from human beings.  Rather than talking purely business, it’s OK to occasionally bring up family, hobbies, or whatever will be of real interest to you and your clients.

DON’T mistake apathy for loyalty.  The surest sign that a client is about to switch to another vendor is a lack of enthusiasm for you and your offering.”

Capitalism, Version 2012

March 26, 2012

By Thomas Freidman   Article

“David Rothkopf, the chief executive and editor-at-large of Foreign Policy magazine, has a smart new book out, entitled “Power, Inc.,” about the epic rivalry between big business and government that captures, in many ways, what the 2012 election should be about — and it’s not “contraception,” although the word does begin with a “C.” It’s the future of “capitalism” and whether it will be shaped in America or somewhere else.

Rothkopf argues that while for much of the 20th century the great struggle on the world stage was between capitalism and communism, which capitalism won, the great struggle in the 21st century will be about whichversion of capitalism will win, which one will prove the most effective at generating growth and become the most emulated.

“Will it be Beijing’s capitalism with Chinese characteristics?” asks Rothkopf. “Will it be the democratic development capitalism of India and Brazil? Will it be entrepreneurial small-state capitalism of Singapore and Israel? Will it be European safety-net capitalism? Or will it be American capitalism?” It is an intriguing question, which raises another: What is American capitalism today, and what will enable it to thrive in the 21st century?”

Thriving Through Processes

March 26, 2012

By Dan Rockwell   Article

“Organizations without processes never thrive. 

Effective and efficient processes create platforms that enable, enhance, and evaluate both individual and organizational performance. What’s your systematic process for achieving breakthroughs, living transparently, or solving problems?

Powerful processes:

  1. Eliminate drama.
  2. Prevent distractions.
  3. Focus talent.
  4. Instill confidence.
  5. Expedite efficiencies.
  6. Establish measures.

Seven Steps to Solve Problems:

  1. Agree on the problem. Define the challenge and ask why a solution matters. Additionally, explain why the problem requires a quick solution, how to measure success, and a proposed deadline. Your problem statement and its parts must be concise, clear, and blame-free. It must not offer solutions.
  2. Map the process. Understand how the work currently gets done and where it breaks down. Create a process map including all decision points.
  3. Find the root cause. Complete a root cause analysis by first gathering data that explains how and why the process breaks down.
  4. Develop solutions. Create several solutions and choose the best one. Assess its impact on surrounding processes. Complete an implementation workplan.
  5. Implement the fix. Monitor success and adjust as you go.
  6. Hold the gain. Install controls that prevent the root cause from reoccurring. Address reoccurrences quickly and decisively.
  7. Reflect and Learn. Discuss and document knowledge gained and lessons learned.”

Government innovation

March 26, 2012


The 5 Qualities of Remarkable Bosses

March 19, 2012

By Jeff Haden   Article

1. Develop every employee. Sure, you can put your primary focus on reaching targets, achieving results, and accomplishing concrete goals—but do that and you put your leadership cart before your achievement horse. Without great employees, no amount of focus on goals and targets will ever pay off. Employees can only achieve what they are capable of achieving, so it’s your job to help all your employees be more capable so they—and your business—can achieve more. …

2. Deal with problems immediately. Nothing kills team morale more quickly than problems that don’t get addressed. Interpersonal squabbles, performance issues, feuds between departments… all negatively impact employee motivation and enthusiasm. And they’re distracting, because small problems never go away. Small problems always fester and grow into bigger problems. …

3. Rescue your worst employee. Almost every business has at least one employee who has fallen out of grace: Publicly failed to complete a task, lost his cool in a meeting, or just can’t seem to keep up. Over time that employee comes to be seen by his peers—and by you—as a weak link. While that employee may desperately want to “rehabilitate” himself, it’s almost impossible. The weight of team disapproval is too heavy for one person to move. But it’s not too heavy for you. …

4. Serve others, not yourself. … Never congratulate employees and digress for a few moments to discuss what you did. … When employees excel, you and your business excel. When your team succeeds, you and your business succeed. When you rescue a struggling employee and they become remarkable, remember they should be congratulated, not you. …

5. Always remember where you came from. … To some of your employees, especially new employees, you are … in charge. You’re the boss. That’s why an employee who wants to talk about something that seems inconsequential may just want to spend a few moments with you. When that happens, you have a choice. You can blow the employee off… or you cansee the moment for its true importance: A chance to inspire, reassure, motivate, and even give someone hope for greater things in their life.”