Maintaining professionalism in the age of black death

Please be mindful of what our black colleagues are going through. Shenequa Golding’s “Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot” is a good place to start to nurture your empathy.

Here are a few excerpts:

I don’t know who decided that being professional was loosely defined as being divorced of total humanity, but whoever did they’ve aided, unintentionally maybe, in a unique form of suffocation.

If I am to perform my duties for 40 hours a week, it’s asinine to assume that the life I live outside of those 40 hours won’t rear its head. Whether I’m a sleep deprived single mother of two or a struggling college student who really needs this internship to graduate, the belief that only the part of me that fattens your bottom line is allowed in the workplace, is stifling.

This is magnified for young black professionals who are recruited for their culture, but told, in so many words, that their blackness and the struggles that come with it are to be left at the door.

A black man went for a run only to be ambushed by two white men, shot and then killed. A black female essential worker was asleep inside her home when police serving a “no-knock” warrant shot her eight times. A white woman, enraged that a black man asked her to follow the park rules lied to cops about being threatened. And a black man died face down on the ground because a white cop suffocated him.

But yeah, I can totally have that presentation for you by end of day, Ted. No problem.

black lives matter

We’re biting our tongues, swallowing our rage and fighting back tears to remain professional because expressing that hurt caused by witnessing black death is considered more unprofessional, than black men and women actually being killed.

So if you can, please, be mindful. Your black employees are dealing with a lot.

[Photo by Sticker You]

A friendly reminder

We’re not working from home. We’re at home in the middle of a crisis trying to get work done.

Look after yourself… and others.

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How can management theories guide life decisions?

On the last day of class, Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, asks his students to turn those theoretical lenses on themselves to find cogent answers to three questions:

First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?

Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?

Third, how can I be sure I’ll stay out of jail?

Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. Two of the 32 people in my Rhodes scholar class spent time in jail. Jeff Skilling of Enron fame was a classmate of mine at HBS. These were good guys—but something in their lives sent them off in the wrong direction.

As the students discuss the answers to these questions, I open my own life to them as a case study of sorts, to illustrate how they can use the theories from our course to guide their life decisions.

More at How will you measure your life?

 

C’est quoi un pote?

Un souffre-douleur, un faire-valoir;

À la vie, à la mort;

Quelqu’un avec qui on aime être, davantage que seul.

L’extrait qui suit  est tiré d’un making of d’un film que j’ai beaucoup aimé. Un truc qui raconte une histoire. Pas de morale, pas de grands messages, une vignette sur la naissance d’une amitié.

 

Your identity in an object

During last week’s workshop we discussed thinking differently about our work and about ourselves. Here’s an example:

It is an object that has helped him construct, interpret, ponder and crystallize his identity, or at least his idea of it. It came to him in the early 1970s, when he was in medical school at the University of Lisbon. The sculpture, made by a woman he had just begun dating a fellow neuroscience student and a sculptor named Hanna Costa, is a little terra-cotta figure of a man seeming to fight his way forward in a storm. And it all but cried out to Dr. Damasio with a mysterious urgency.

“Somehow I felt that it was me, or belonged to me,” he recalled. -via NYTimes.com.

The model of rational choice is faulty

Virtually all of the assumptions built into it about human beings and the world are false:

  • It assumes that people are self-interested. Well, yes and no.
  • It assumes that there is a common scale of value on which everything can be compared. There isn’t.
  • It assumes that we can attach meaningful probabilities to outcomes. Sometimes we can, but life is not a roulette wheel or a series of coin flips, in which probabilities are well defined.

If we are to move toward societies of greater opportunity and justice, we need a more expansive notion of what it means to be rational than we will ever get from economics.

via Barry Schwartz.

Being v. doing

All of our focus is on the doing. We obsess over the latest models churned out by for-profits and nonprofits alike. The social enterprise classes at Harvard Business School study the things people are doing. When a foundation asks for an impact report, they mean the impact of the doing.

It is all backwards.

What we should be asking is who people are being. Are you being courageous? Are you being authentic? Honest? Rigorous? Unstoppable? Because that’s what really makes a difference.

It’s who you are being that matters

via Dan Pallotta.

On the discourse of being

Words often fail us and prove inadequate in the face of the most profound human experiences, whether tragic, ecstatic, or sublime. And yet it is in those moments, perhaps especially in those moments, that we feel the need to exist for lack of a better word, either to comfort or to share or to participate. But the medium best suited for doing so is the body, and it is the body that is, of necessity, abstracted from so much of our digital interaction with the world. With our bodies we may communicate without speaking. It is a communication by being and perhaps also doing, rather than by speaking.

Of course, embodied presence may seem, by comparison to its more disembodied counterparts, both less effectual and more fraught with risk. Embodied presence enjoys none of the amplification that technologies of communication afford. It cannot, after all, reach beyond the immediate place and time. And it is vulnerable presence. Embodied presence involves us with others, often in unmanageable, messy ways that are uncomfortable and awkward. But that awkwardness is also a measure of the power latent in embodied presence.

Embodied presence also liberates us from the need to prematurely reach for rational explanation and solutions — for an answer. If I can only speak, then the use of words will require me to search for sense. Silence can contemplate the mysterious, the absurd, and the act of grace, but words must search for reasons and fixes. This is, in its proper time, not an entirely futile endeavor; but its time is usually not in the aftermath. In the aftermath of the tragic, when silence and “being with” and touch may be the only appropriate responses, then only embodied presence will do. Its consolations are irreducible. This, I think, is part of the meaning of the Incarnation: the embrace of the fullness of our humanity.

Words and the media that convey them, of course, have their place, and they are necessary and sometimes good and beautiful besides. But words are often incomplete, insufficient. We cannot content ourselves with being the “disincarnate users” of electronic media that McLuhan worried about, nor can we allow the assumptions and priorities of disincarnate media to constrain our understanding of what it means to be human in this world.

via The Frailest Thing.

My business icon is my cleaning lady

She’s on her own, she cleans people’s homes, she’s incredibly nice. She brings flowers every time she cleans, and she’s just respectful and nice and awesome.

Why can’t more people be like that?

She’s been doing it some twenty-odd years, and that’s just an incredible success story.

To me that’s far more interesting than a tech company that’s hiring a bunch of people, just got their fourth round of financing for 12 million dollars, and they’re still losing money. That’s what everyone talks about as being exciting, but I think that’s an absolutely disgusting scenario when it comes to business.

via  Jason Fried, founder and CEO of 37signals