When I chose the word #now for my 2018 focus, I was thinking about seizing the moment, doing the most important work first, acknowledging that I have enough - for whatever it is I want to do #now, and about being present. However, only two weeks into the new year, the concept has taken on an even deeper meaning, resonating with the environment in which we find ourselves at this particular moment. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “the time is always right to do what is right.”
#TimesUp is a perfect example of this. We’ve reached the point as a society when there can be no procrastinating, no excusing, no silencing around pressing issues of justice and equality. There is no more time for those who abuse power, whose conscious and unconscious bias create unfair and uncomfortable working and living situations. It’s the end of the line, I hope, for anyone in a position of authority to wield his or her status to denigrate or to derail the efforts and ambitions of another. I know that’s a tall order, but if we collectively decide that #now is the time to speak and to act, there’s a decent chance we’ll move the proverbial needle, bending that oft reference arc towards justice.
The challenge, then, for those in leadership is to declare their commitment to a new day and a new paradigm; to be open to new ways of managing that are generative, inclusive and honest.
Here’s a short checklist to get you started:
- Be willing to uncover unconscious bias and put a plan in place to address it in hiring, promoting and managing.
- Leap to defend anyone who has been treated unfairly - anywhere and everywhere.
- Commit to a true meritocracy, and evaluate performance based on a blend of accomplishments and attitude.
- Actively seek the input of people whose worldview is different from your own.
- Listen to learn, not to respond. This is probably the single most important thing you can do if you really want to shift to a new level of integrity and scale the heights of enlightened engagement.
Try this exercise: As you are putting your annual performance goals into place, for yourself, for your team or the entire organization, make space for a values-driven performance variable.
Include something like this:
- Exhibits unusual levels of compassion.
- Makes a visible effort to check assumptions and is willing to change course based on new perspective and data.
- Conducts difficult conversations with skill and great judgment.
- Demonstrates an uncanny ability to be directive and inclusive.
I think you’ll be amazed at how articulating these desired behaviors and outcomes will shift your culture and your satisfaction.
These are but a few of the concrete steps we all can take to live our highest values and to inspire others to follow where we care to lead.