Today’s guest author is Ellen Weber, author, lecturer, columnist and Director, MITA International Brain Based Center. Ellen is recognized globally for her brain-compatible communicating, learning and assessment renewal work. MITA’s leadership approach facilitates brain-based strategies to raise motivation and achievement for innovative growth. Leaders and learners use parts of the brain never before used to achieve innovation never before achieved. You can connect with Ellen via Twitter where you’ll find her as @ellenfweber. #1 in an 8-part series.
If equity’s a mere matter of view …
… then what’s your perspective? Mine’s changed recently.
A few years ago I spoke to leaders in England on inequity from a mental perspective – and thought I’d offered a whole raft of brain tips to raise awareness for diversity at work. It turns out I left out the most pivotal piece. Let me back up to show you my omission, and its power for potential profit within a wider arena.
After my London conference, a dear friend – who’d moved to London after we completed PhDs together in British Columbia, invited me to a movie and dinner to catch up. This close buddy who now heads up a music department at a major research university, happens to be African American. Why’s that significant in this case?
The movie starred an African American in a diminished role where the N… word was intended to bring alive historic realities. Sitting next to my long-time friend, I suddenly saw this drama as she saw it – and each cruel line pierced me in the gut with John-Wayne-arrow-like-precision.
My movie pal didn’t flinch. Sadly, she’d come to expect inequity in most every step of her day. I flinched for both of us, until final credits appeared, and we hightailed it to the nearest theatre exit. During dinner we laughed, dreamed and interrupted each other just like old times – to share up-to-date adventures and career visions. But I still remember that painful cinema experience that froze me in my seat with what seemed like endless stingers in a dark ally.
Equity’s a mental matter first
My friend has likely done more in her rich music career and personal life, than all the well known actors in that 90 minute movie. Yet until I looked at inequity through her eyes that night, I missed its sting. More importantly, until I changed filters and saw through the lived experience of a close friend, I had allowed dust and debris to cloud my vision. Have you done the same, and thereby missed amazing opportunities for expansion where you work?
Not only did that event change my mind about drama that reduces people I value, with such ease, it also opened my eyes to “what-if” kinds of words that can convert inequity into innovative opportunities for growth. What if everybody spoke up and felt heard at your next production meeting, for example?
Make mental shifts work wonders
Still today, whenever I look at unfair workplace practices, I recognize a need to change filters and glance through others’ eyes. A true picture only comes to mind, if I remember my good friend and I out for dinner and another friendship celebration that worked wonders.
Not that I always make mental shifts to see from other views. Funniest thing though, with every fresh filter change, I inevitably see amazing new benefits that prosper all concerned. And it’s a no-brainer that profit also escalates with increased talents in the ring.
What would it take for you to simply flip filters today and take another look at equity through different eyes?