Workplace Diversity: What is Unconscious Bias & How to manage it? Part 2

In the first part of this post we visited the meaning of Unconscious Bias

Unconscious Bias Why should we care about Bias in the workplace?

If decision makers (managers, supervisors, directors, project managers or executives) have Bias they can either promote someone with no merit (positive bias) or hold someone back as by not considering for a promotion (A mother because the promotion involves a lot of traveling); or not hiring a very qualified person (Not hiring pregnant females, or assuming that some physically challenged people can’t handle the job). Bias unconsciously can evolve to stereotyping which can lead to discrimination which in turn can lead to law suits losing not only a lot of money but losing the organization’s reputation with future inability to attract, recruit and retain qualified diverse employees.

We tend to prefer hanging out or working with people that look like us, feel like us, talk like us and have values and beliefs like us; even when we are asked for resources or referrals we still gravitate towards people like us because we know what to expect so it is comfortable and safe. We are more tempted to rapidly judge others or criticize them if they do not fall within the lines we have set for ourselves or within the values and beliefs we grew up cherishing.

If we step out of that comfort zone as anything else, we panic as we step into unknown territory, and we find it difficult to relate to others that are different; and we tend to shy away out of fear or lack of understanding

Solutions

We all have bias and prejudice and discussing them is risky as it is easily misunderstood or mistaken for racism.

1- Self-Awareness:

– Take the implicit association test by Harvard– you will be surprised I promise you.

– It starts by knowing who we are and what is our culture as well as what values and beliefs do we carry within ourselves

– Recognize that it is normal for human beings to have unconscious preferences and biases that influences their decisions

– Identify our own unconscious bias

– Form a habit to notice the first thoughts that come to your mind when you meet someone that is different; we have the power to watch them when they first pop in our brains to deal with them

2- Understand that our Bias reactions most of the time are not towards the person in front of us but are actually a reaction to a gut feeling, or a reaction to an old impression or an old memory that we acquired either through our parents, through the Media or even seen a movie that had similar characters.

3- It takes a willingness to have an open mind not being defensive and have the courage not only to admit that we have bias but to work on correcting them

4- Use the power of Neurogenesis: Which is creating new mental paths for our brains to process information in areas that do not play to our individual or organizational strengths. As any change it is not easy, but with perseverance, will, openness to accepting different things and people, and commitment either from the person or from the organization it can happen.

5- Find common ground: As human beings we will always have something in common no matter how small or far-fetched it is like being dog owners, or loving rock and roll music or dancing etc…

6- Realize that our assumption of what is “acceptable” or normal may not appear or feel the same to others.

7- Educate yourself on different cultures and people, ask questions respectfully and be generous in educating others that ask for your help

8- Last but not least have compassion and empathy towards other human beings no matter how similar or different they can be

9- Accept (not tolerate) people for who they are not who you want them to be

10- Create a culture of inclusion in which we are adding more people, not subtracting anyone.

11- Leverage your Emotional Intelligence (Discussed in a future post)

Let your differences make a difference in the world

Connect with me on:
Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Certified Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC

sahar@saharconsulting.com

http://www.saharconsulting.com

______________________________________________________________________

I help corporations and organizations create/ increase their employee engagement through Diversity, Inclusion, effective communication & Cross- Cultural leadership practices that result in everyone feeling appreciated, valued and respected for who they are; elevating morale and harmony hence increasing their productivity which translates to more revenues.

Let me help you Invest in your number ONE asset: Your employees

What is Unconscious Bias, and its effect on the Workplace Diversity

First appeared on “LinkedIn Pulse

Unconscious Bias and Workplace DiversityIn the beginning of my career I was in charge of a Russian group in London attending a medical conference. We requested an English/ Russian translator. The morning of the conference a beautiful young Vietnamese young woman walked in looking for me. My Biggest surprise is when she introduced herself as our translator.

My own assumption and perception of a Russian looking translator (Whatever that means) didn’t materialize when I saw the Vietnamese translator.

I kept thinking about my reaction, I asked myself why didn’t I even visit the idea that many people speak more than three languages (I speak five). It is not till years later that I was able to put a name to my assumptions: My Unconscious Bias

So what is Bias, and why should we care about it?

First let us start by saying that most people that have bias do not do it on purpose, it is unconscious – It is a blind spot that requires a shift on how we think about other people that we perceive different. It is a belief or attitude in our heads.

Bias is the very fundamental way we look at and encounter the world to make sense of the world around us. It is driven by the hard wiring pattern of making decisions about others based on what feels safe, familiar, likeable, valuable and competent to us without us realizing it.

Bias is an inflexible positive or negative conscious or unconscious belief about a particular category of people.

Our Bias kicks in whenever we have a perception of threat to our own survival or a threat to our physical or property safety, identity or sense of being. It is an instinct reaction as primal biological urge response that brings relief to tension (Human beings developed these instincts since the Caveman era)

Bias is the ability to distinguish “safe” from “Dangerous” which is a basic quality of our human brain to categorize and group information so our brains can make sense of them.

Why does our brain do that? At any given moment we group people, and situations into categories so we can make decisions about our world. Bias is the filter or group of filters that this multitude of information sips through. We are exposed to almost 11 million pieces of information at any one time, our brain can recognize ONLY 40 of them or so, and can focus on about 5-7 at a time.

Pre-established filters – are perceptions, assumptions, interpretations or preferences that we develop throughout our life experiences developing conscious and unconscious Bias as a result.

So where do we get our initial filters or Bias: Our first point of contact right after we are born are our parents, who expose us to their beliefs, values and cultures, then family members, schools, teachers, religious institutions and our own life experiences. If any of the above exposures has a blind spot it is transferred to us and they become our own blind spots that we in turn transfer to the next generation we come in contact with.

A blind spot is our responsibility though may be not our fault but we are accountable and responsible to recognize first that we have blind spots and to shed lights on them

Acting on Bias is NEVER positive even if based on positive content as it keeps us from seeing people as individuals for example assuming that all Asians have high income and drive BMWs.

Our unconscious Bias is our blueprint ping through life, it is important to mention that it is normal that we ALL have some degree of bias no matter how open minded we think we are.
The problem with Unconscious Bias is that unconsciously we divide the world into the world of “US” and the world of “THEM” distancing others that are different from us just because they fit into a certain category or group that exist only in our minds.

This is part one (1) of this post- in part two (2), will discuss why should we care about Unconscious Bias at the workplace and how to manage it.

Let your differences make a difference in the world

Connect with me on:
Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Certified Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC

_____________________________________________________________________

I help corporations and organizations create/ increase their employee engagement through Diversity, Inclusion, effective communication & Cross- Cultural leadership practices that result in everyone feeling appreciated, valued and respected for who they are; elevating morale and harmony hence increasing their productivity which translates to more revenues.

Let me help you Invest in your number ONE asset: Your employees

Why Diversity training alone doesn’t work…

First appeared on “LinkedIn Pulse

Why Diversity training alone doesn't workIn my “6 advantages to diversity in the workplace” post, I listed the main reasons why there is a growing realization by managers in US companies to look at the advantages of multi-racial clientele (both internal and external):

  • There is a huge demographic shift in the US companies where more than three quarters of new employees are non-Caucasian, the shift is also reflected on a larger extent in the changing pool of customers.
  • The potential for growth of diversity, in terms of heightened collective creativity and Entrepreneurial energy

That means that US companies have an increasing needs for their employees to not only appreciate people from diverse culture (and markets), put any bias aside, but also to turn that appreciation to competitive advantage.

So, even if people bring prejudice to work with them, they must learn to act as though they have none. The reasons, over and above human decency, are sensible.

This means that the organizational cultures must change forcing not only the tolerance, but the acceptance of differences, even if individual biases remain.

I know it is easier said than done, the sad fact is that the one day of training, one video, or single weekend diversity training courses do not really seem to budge the bias of those employees that have deep prejudice against one or another, whether it be male against female, baby boomer against Millennial, African American against Hispanics, or heterosexuals against people of different sexual orientation and vice versa in all of these cases.

Actually some of the diversity courses, can cause more damage than help especially if conducted by facilitators that use blame and guilt methods in their training; some of these programs can raise false expectation by promising too much, or simply create an atmosphere of confrontation instead of understanding, generate heightened tensions that divide groups in the workplace, calling even greater attention to these differences, and creating more exclusion than inclusion where it becomes “US” vs. “THEM”. To understand what can be done, it helps to first understand the nature of prejudice itself

The roots of prejudice

Some hatred to one another as individuals, groups, ethnicities, religions or even sexual orientation are rooted in childhood memories that keep this hatred alive over the years, as each new generation is steeped in hostile biases like the one before.

The psychological price of loyalty to one’s own group can be antipathy toward another, especially when there is a long history of hostility between the groups.

Prejudices are a kind of emotional learning that occurs early in life, making these reactions especially hard to eradicate entirely, even in people who as adults feel it is wrong to hold them and consider themselves open minded people. The emotions of prejudice start in childhood while the beliefs that are used to justify them come later in life.

Even if you take a moment to try to change your prejudice, understand that it is a lot easier to change your intellectual beliefs then your deep feelings. In your mind you may no longer feel prejudice, but you can still feel woozy if you need to deal one on one with a person from that background depending on the circumstances.

The power of the stereotypes, in the mind, are that they are self-confirming. It is theunconscious bias that we all have where we are more readily to remember instances that support the stereotype while tending to discount instances that challenge it.

The danger is not only from being bias, but from the more subtle forms of bias or acting with covert bias, where a rationale other than prejudice is given to justify bias actions.

For example: A male senior manager who believes that he has no prejudices rejecting a female job applicant, allegedly not because of her gender, but because her education and experience are not quite right for the job, while hiring a male applicant with about the same background. Or it might take the form of giving better performance evaluation for an employee that went to the same Ivy school, or came from the same city, share the same political beliefs, or even share the same ethnicity than to someone else from a different background at the same level of performance.

 

Solution:

Since long-held biases cannot be so easily weeded out, the solutions lie in that:

  • Organizations need to embrace “zero tolerance for intolerance” and not only on papers as many organization do nowadays, where they have dazzling statements on their websites’ vision and mission but are not actually part of their culture.
  • Need to trickle down from the top leadership, who need not only to embrace it by breath it, live by it, and apply it.
  • Need to be part of the performance evaluations of the organizations’ executives tight in with their promotions, rewards and bonuses.

Management cannot turn a blind eye on any bias or prejudice actions, as it allows discrimination to strive. If nothing, is done the consequences is letting the cancer of prejudice spread till it kills the organization

If the climate and culture of an organization is based on the respect of individuals, valuingthem for who they are, and though bias may not budge, but acts of prejudice can be crushed and nipped at the bud

A message must be sent that acting on any racist impulses will be dealt with swiftly and severely. Raising the collective awareness that bias and/ or harassment are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

Encourage people to speak out against even minimal acts of discrimination or harassment as offensive jokes, gestures, comments, or as simple as using wall calendars that are demeaning to women.

The simple act of standing for whatever is right and objecting to whatever is wrong establishes a culture where bias and discrimination are rejected. Silence condones the wrong Actions, silence is a form of violence. If you stay silent when someone is treated wrongly, it can be you next time, and you won’t find anyone to speak out for you.

One of the main keys to minimize bias and prejudice is to encourage empathy and acceptance to the degree that people come to understand the pain of those who feel discriminated against, as they put themselves in their shoes.

In summary, it is more practical to try to suppress the expression of bias rather than trying to eliminate the attitude itself; stereotypes change very slowly, if at all. What can make a difference, is sustained team building towards a common goal, highlighting the similarities that we have as human beings rather than the differences, looking at each other as equal peers, increasing solidarity between the teams is maximizing the excellence of a team’s work to work in harmony rather than disarray lets them take advantage of the full talent of every team member. Looking at people as people and not put them in a box (She is women, He is Hispanic, she is too young, he is physically challenged, she is gay) – just deal with people as people, as human beings.

To stop battling prejudice in the workplace is to miss great opportunities that modern organizations can’t afford: Taking advantage of the creative and entrepreneurial possibilities that a diverse workforce can offer, operating in harmony, is likely to come to better, more creative, and more effective solutions than those same people working in isolation. It is time to start uncomfortable conversations to get comfortable and accepting over time.

“Let our differences make a difference in the world”

Connect with me on:

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Certified Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC

sahar@saharconsulting.com

http://www.saharconsulting.com

______________________________________________________________________

I help corporations and organizations create/ increase their employee engagement through Diversity, Inclusion, effective communication & Cross- Cultural leadership practices that result in everyone feeling appreciated, valued and respected for who they are; elevating morale and harmony hence increasing their productivity which translates to more revenues.

Let me help you Invest in your number ONE asset: Your employees

How Diversity, Inclusion, and Acceptance relate?

Diversity, Inclusion, AcceptanceDuring my years of Diversity & Inclusion training and consulting, have seen numerous organizations giving their employees a few hours training of Diversity without following up with inclusion strategies.

Just a reminder that Diversity without inclusion will call out our differences, increasing exclusion rather than inclusion. Diversity & Inclusion are two faces of the same coin. Including others is to accept them for who they are, and not who we want them to be.

It’s easy to love the people that are just like us, that look and dress like us, that is a no-brainer, and doesn’t take a lot of effort. The real challenge comes when we have to deal with people that are different than us, people we don’t agree with, or as far as we are concerned they are making poor choices, it is easy for us to size them, to put them in a box, keep them at a distance, and declare that they are not our cup of tea.

So we exclude people instead of including them, we write them off, and ignore them because they are not meeting our expectations and standards, when we should actually accept them for who they are. Diversity by definition has multiplicity and variety in its meaning, it is about adding not removing.

My personal mantra in life is “I will accept you even if I do not agree with you”, we might be on different paths of our lives at this moment, may be in a week, month, or year we might get to that point of our journey where we see eye to eye. Writing you off means that I might be losing a great friend, a positive presence in my life, or a great learning experience.

Even if I don’t agree with your lifestyle, your doctrine, friends you are choosing, I am not supposed to judge you but to accept you. We need to realize that everyone is on a journey, where they are right now is not where they are going to end up, they are unfinished product, and they are still working on themselves, exactly as we are.

We start labeling people “they are a mess, they are too liberal or too conservative, too old, too young and the list goes on”. Do not be self-righteous, take off the judgmental glasses, you or a loved one could be in the same position any time suffering from the same things you are being critical and judgmental about.

Many of people’s actions, expectations, values, and beliefs are linked to their culture, blind spots and bias are passed from parents to children. People do what they do because this is what the best they know, until you wind up in their shoes, been raised in their families, fought the battles they fought, you can’t understand why they are the way they are. We weren’t born the way we are today, we evolve through our experiences and even culture evolves through time

You can accept people for who they are, and they might still reject you, or may not respond the right away, may not seem like it is doing any good, because people’s hearts might not ready for acceptance and love at the moment, that doesn’t mean that will never be ready. It is fine, you always deal with people the way you are and not as the way they are. The more you plant the seeds of love, the more chances these seeds will grow one day, when the right season comes around. Hate leads to more hate, exclusion and discrimination give birth to anger, frustration and sometimes violence. MLK said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

We feel sometimes we need to convict people, tell them all the things they are doing wrong, all the things they are guilty of, we forget that negative leads negative, we forget that we are not here to judge, we do not need to straighten anybody out, “love and acceptance never fail”, when we value people they give us value back; when we are merciful, kind, understanding, and accepting we can never know whose heart we will touch, whose life we will change.

Human beings have a tendency to look at what they do not have rather than what they have, they look at the differences rather than similarities, and they talk about what they do not stand for instead of sharing what is it that they stand for.

I rather leave a legacy for what I stood for: Accepting and loving people for who they are, forgiving people, and giving second chances, the courtesy I would like to be extended by people to me.

So I do accept you for who you are: Black or white; Hispanic or Middle Eastern; Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Atheist; Gay, transgender or straight; able or disable; old or young; right wing or left wing- in other words, it doesn’t matter to me, even if you draw a box to keep me out, I will draw a bigger box to include us both.

Just think about this world if we loved and accepted each other without expectations and without judgments, so what if others are not your Siamese twin, they are not supposed to be, even if they do not share your principles, values, beliefs and views- we are all human beings looking for the same basics: Love, family, happiness, security and belonging. No matter how different we might look externally or mentally we will always have something in common no matter how small it is. Living things respond to kindness.

Who is to say who is right and who is wrong, in whose book? The only fact that remains is that no one is perfect (not even me), so do not have tunnel vision, do not draw that line in the sand, do not exclude everyone that doesn’t fit your standards, do not focus on the differences and what separates us.

We are different to someone else, we all have accents to someone else, we do not have to see eye to eye so we can accept each other, variety is the essence of life, what matters is the condition of our heart and soul.

So, be the reason, be the tool, be the hand that plants the seed of kindness in other people’s heart, you don’t need to tell them what they’re doing wrong, be that helping accepting hand, acceptance pulls people in.

Remember at one time or another, someone helped you, accepted you for who you are, was kind to you, forgave you – return the favor show the same love and mercy

Before you judge someone get to know them, before you dismiss them listen to their story, there is usually a good reason why people are the way they are, we got to give them room to the process of changing, we don’t help them by judging them, it’s not about meritocracy it is about acceptance.

Give the benefit of the doubt, too often we would judge what we don’t understand, we judge what we fear so we give ourselves a reason why we shouldn’t accept the differences, we do not like change, and we do not like to get out of our comfort zone.

Do not judge someone after a glance, or by their appearance, how many times we look at someone and decide in a split second if we like them or not. Ask yourself would you like or appreciate been treated that way? Acceptance is NOT Tolerance– when you tolerate something you just put up with it, acceptance is different, accepting others is a celebration of who they are, is saying I am no better than you

When you accept others, you bring joy and happiness to your heart, your life will have meaningful relationships either personally or professionally

He who is different from me does not impoverish me – he enriches me. Our unity is constituted in something higher than ourselves – in Man… For no man seeks to hear his own echo, or to find his reflection in the glass.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Let our differences make a difference in the world”

Connect with me on:

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Certified Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC

sahar@saharconsulting.com

http://www.saharconsulting.com

______________________________________________________________________

I help corporations and organizations create/ increase their employee engagement through Diversity, Inclusion, effective communication & Cross- Cultural leadership practices that result in everyone feeling appreciated, valued and respected for who they are; elevating morale and harmony hence increasing their productivity which translates to more revenues.

Let me help you Invest in your number ONE asset: Your employees

#Diversity at the #Oscars

Diversity at the OscarsOne of the best events of the year for me is the “Academy Awards” commonly known as the “Oscars” where achievements In the film industry are honored, I have to admit beside watching the Oscar statues and awards speeches, I love watching the fashion the stars bring in every year, like the best and worst dressed, what color is popular this year and so on.

The Oscars have been first presented in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, 86 years ago.  It has been noticed that most of the winners at the Oscars did not reflect the core of the population watching the movies; most of the awards were won by older white males.

In 2009 – 81 years after the 1st Oscar and for the first time a woman director (Kathryn Bigelow) won the best director award for her movie the “Hurt Locker”

The irony of the FIRST time Oscar win for a movie directed by a black director, and a Hispanic director has not been lost on me.

I find it amazing that after almost a century this is the first time we see acknowledgement of minorities; at least it is a start and a step towards the right direction.

Most minorities as Hispanics, African Americans, and Asian Americans are extremely underrepresented in movies and TV Shows, and portrayed mostly in a negative light, like Middle Eastern are terrorist, Blacks and Mexicans are gang members or are violent or in prison, women are used and abused in most of the movies. A fair note, there are few movies and TV Shows that address minorities in a positive way but they are so far in between and sometimes they do not make it.

We are barely seeing shows about gays and lesbians, about Persians, and Disable people though they are all on cable channels and not on main stream.

The movies should reflect the life and real conditions we live in, the reality of the diverse world we live today not 50 or 70 years ago.  Movies and TV Shows should be an instrumental tool to start dialogues between different groups of people, or at least start an education about the different groups.

A comprehensive study from the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA suggests that movies and shows with diverse casts actually earn more at the box office and score higher ratings than productions with homogenous casts.

What will it take to have inclusion in Hollywood?, to actually represent our current diverse population, to honor and respect not only every minority group but to marry the shows with the real diverse population: Men, women, different generations, Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Caucasians, Middle Eastern, people with disabilities, veterans etc… Am I dreaming or can it happen?

This year Oscars’ show wins are an indicator it can happen:

  • Two directors from minority groups’ one black (Best Movie) and one Hispanic (Best Director): Steve McQuinn & Alfonso Cuarón
  • An openly gay presenter: Ellen DeGeneres
  • Best supporting male actor represented a transgender person with AIDs: Jared Leto
  • A Black winner for Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave: Lupita Nyong’o, is only the sixth Black woman to win in this category, a far cry from the first African American Oscar winner (Hattie McDaniel) for “Gone with the Wind” where she was segregated at the back of the room –

We have come a long way from there; and we still have a long way to go.  Like I always say “Let our differences make a difference in the World”, I know that change is slow as it takes people out of their comfort zone, as they fear the unknown, but if nothing else let us start a conversation and take it from there

Diversity and Inclusion is part of our daily life, it is here to stay, is not going way, so let us start dealing with the right way, let us respect and accept (not tolerate) each other, educate each other, and move forward to a better life for all

As Cate Blanchet: Best Actress winner puts it” The world is round, People!”

Diversity starts at home,

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Social Media Strategist
Home of the D.I.A.L.O.G. Programs
Diversity And Inclusion for Leadership Organizational Growth”
T: 818 861 9434 

Sahar Consulting, LLC
www.saharconsulting.com

 LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Facebook Page YouTube WordPress pinterest Google Plus Flickr

Contact me: Skype SaharConsulting

Leadership From a Global to a Cross-Cultural Perspective

Global vs. Cross-Cultural Leadership

Many people are still confusing cross-cultural and trans-global leadership including some diversity experts.  They mix between both as if they were one and the same.  I beg to differ.  While both sound like sharing the same definition, in actuality there is a difference between both.

Nowadays in order to succeed as a leader, as a business, and as an organization the need for cross-cultural and trans-global competencies is crucial.

In the age of the internet, the new political and economic reforms like the falling of the Berlin wall, the disintegration of the USSR, NAFTA, ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, EU as well as the emerging BRIC countries like (Brazil, Russia, India, and China ) as well as well as the MIKT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Turkey); it becomes clear and evident that organizations’ leaders need to build not only trans-global competence but also cross-cultural competence, awareness and flexibility to have the ability and capability to survive and thrive in the new reality of the flat world we live in.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’s 14th Annual Global CEO Survey (2011) found that ‘‘bridging the global skills gap’’ was one of the top concerns cited for the future, especially for organizations that are looking to attract, recruit, develop, and retain talents  globally.

Confusion, frustration and costly mistakes are the results of lack of global skills mainly due to the ignorance about the impact of cultures on the workplace (we will discuss cultures here below). The old mentality of “We have always done it that way” leads to expensive failures, same with the idea of “Color blindness” (though could be coming from a good place) is actually detrimental to the workplace because there is an erroneous belief that paying attention to color or race is fundamentally discriminative.

“To ignore cultural differences is unproductive… Choosing not to see cultural diversity limits our ability to manage it – that is, to minimize the problems it causes while maximizing the advantages it allows… When we blind ourselves to cultural diversity, foreigners become mere projections of ourselves.” (Adler, 1991, pp. 97)

The most important facets of trans-global leadership are the following three main competencies:

  1. Being Culturally flexible: Basically to roll with the punches realizing that there are differences in other countries, populations, and cultures that are not wrong or weird, just different
  2. Value Cultural differences and Minimize Ethnocentricity (My culture is better than yours theory)
  3. Tolerance of ambiguity (Which is part of Geert Hofstede four main components of Cultural insights)

Now what about the cross-cultural leaders; how and why they are different from the trans-global leaders?

Though both leaders must have the trans-global competencies mentioned above, there is a lot more to add for the cross-cultural leaders.

There is still a misguided assumption that Culture pertains only to race, color, religion, and ethnicity: meaning that there is still a lot of confusion between Diversity and Affirmative Action or even Protected groups.

Diversity are the unique characteristics that makes each one of us as a human being, Culture is the lens that we see the world through and it contains our beliefs, values, assumptions and behaviors, the way we communicate, negotiate, take a decision, behave socially, even the way we feel.

That lens is first imposed on us by our parents our first contact in life, then schools, friends, religious institutions, society etc… so it is an ever changing phenomena.

It is important to note that there are individual cultures within the group cultures.  That being said when we say cultural competence: It means all of that covers the global competence (not limited to) as:

  • Color
  • Country
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Political status
  • Family structure

Furthermore it includes (not limited to):

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Disabilities (Both visible and invisible)
  • Parental status
  • Marital status
  • Military status
  • Veteran status
  • Job classification (Blue or White collar)
  • Socio-economic factors
  • Education
  • Geographical location
  • Even Diversity of thoughts

Why should we care about cultural competence in the workplace?

  • One million legal immigrants enter the United States Annually
  • The minorities are soon to be majorities (Hispanics 3 to 1, the Asian American and African American communities are increasing as well, more communities emerged in the latest Census report as Armenians, Middle Easterns etc…)
  • Women are becoming a workforce to reckon with – very soon the workforce will be 50/50 males to females.  Women are reaching high leadership positions that is totally different from the male leadership style
  • Due to the civil rights and the change of laws, the LGBT community is thriving and constitutes a huge buying power and part of the society that can no longer be ignored
  • Due to the changes in the ADA (American Disability Act) laws: Now workplaces have to deal with disabilities both visible (Physical) as well as invisible (emotional and other) in a different way to accommodate the disabilities with reasonable accommodation without a hardship on the organizations
  • For the first time in US History four generations are at work with different cultures, communication and working styles due to the ADEA (Age Discrimination Employment Act) that protect employees older than 40 years.  Also due to new scientific research people are living longer and enjoying their lives in a healthier way, also the economic events of the last few years forced some employees to continue working due ti the loss of their retirement or 401K.

These are only few reasons why we should get serious about enforcing (yes enforcing) cultural competence and developing cross-cultural leaders that can bridge the gap between the different cultures

In short trans-global leadership deals mostly with International and cross the border issues including expats, and Cross-Cultural leaderships deals with different employees both nationally and internationally.

I am very passionate about Diversity, and cultures that is why I meant to clarify the difference between global and cross-cultural leadership at least in my book.

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Social Media Strategist
Home of the D.I.A.L.O.G. Programs
Diversity And Inclusion for Leadership Organizational Growth”
T: 818 861 9434 

Sahar Consulting, LLC
www.saharconsulting.com

 LinkedIn Twitter Facebook Facebook Page YouTube WordPress pinterest Google Plus Flickr

Contact me: Skype SaharConsulting

10 Re-Branding Miley Cyrus Success Tips

Miley Cyrus Re-BrandingHow did you react to the image of a young woman twerking in an almost nude costume on stage in a national music award show while sticking out her tongue? You know who I am talking about right? If not I would have to ask you where have you been the last few weeks? Just a confession I never knew what twerking meant till that night

A lot of commotion these days about Miley Cyrus and her new created image.  Some absolutely love her and some just hate her.  Both camps are talking about it everywhere, the conversations are going on all the social media channels where communities of people with strong opinions and fierce loyalties are taking sides either good or bad, the conversations are ranking Miley Cyrus higher on the search engines, increasing her twitter followers by 100%, getting millions of views in traffic to her YouTube videos and making Miley Cyrus, Twerking and new album buzz words that have the highest searchable traffic meaning more revenues for the label.

According to Forbes Beat Reporter, Zack O’Malley Greenburg, since the racy performance, Cyrus has sold 90,000 digital downloads of her new track “Wrecking Ball,” which moved into the 13th spot in the Billboard charts. Her Twitter activity rose 112% in one week. She added 226,273 new Facebook fans and 213,104 new Twitter followers.

Many, after the very famous show of the MTV awards, classified Miley as another wrecked child star, going over the deep end as Lindsey Lohan or Britney spears, some accused her of being alcoholic or even a drug addict.  What they didn’t see is the genius planning for Miley Cyrus Re-branding

Let us talk for a second about branding a rebranding and why Cyrus chose to do it.  These are the reasons I see behind Miley deciding to re-brand her image:

1-    She just turned 21 years old

2-    People still looked at her as the innocent Hannah Montana

3-    Hannah Montana huge following are grown up now and needed more than Montana

4-    All children and teen stars reach a level in their career where they must progress, become someone else, rebrand or just go with the wind.

5-    She wants to remain relevant while growing her fortune by trying ti become an eternal pop icon like Madonna (whom she made the comparison with) and Montana’s image will not sustain that

 

So what is branding exactly?

Branding is the image, perception or promise a product, label projects to their audience (for the sake of this article we will be discussing the branding and re-branding of Miley Cyrus’ label)

The Re-branding process Miley and her crew planned was strategically and smartly executed, coming out of the teen age years, reaching the legal age of 21, they organized her shocking appearance at the MTV awards in a very skimpy outfit, presenting the new sexy symbol Miley Cyrus

What did that do? It killed all assumptions about any left innocence of Montana.  My only concern is that Miley burned her bridges with Montana’s multi-million label, its stakeholders and fans.

There was no fear or doubt regarding that performance, Miley went for the kill in that re-branding exercise and she delivered, and as a result her social media influence soared and she created millions of loyal fans overnight.

Why did the Miley Cyrus rigorous re-branding process succeed? They sticked to the proper re-branding strategies:

1-    Re-Branding process can be gradual and slow or can be explosive leaving a lasting effect, Miley and her crew obviously believe in the principle that it is easier to tear a house down and rebuild it then remodel which has been applied with major force

2-    She knows exactly who she is, who the audience she has, needs or wants, knows who to listen to, who not to bother with, and targets her segment market the way they want to be targeted

3-    She found out what separates her from others and rebuilt her new primary identity around it even if it means be a sex symbol

4-    She is filling a void that is present in the market right now for someone her age and her type of music to satisfy this audience needs and wants

5-    Because of the demographics she is trying to reach she is crafting her core message as “Be free, be yourself no matter who you are and keep discovering yourself;  Accept who you are and embrace it” which is a very strong message these days of we consider all the bullying going on in schools

6-    She eliminated the unnecessary to her (Hannah Montana) in order to clarify her message and not dilute her new brand or confuse her audience

7-    Miley and her team have a plan, they have a strategy to create the right re-branding process, re-invent Miley with a creative new impression to her audience.  They knew how to leave a memorable effect (good for some, bad for some) that MTV performance night, and on every occasion since then

8-    They are creating a new label brand position, voice, visual look, new way of responding to her new fans, new interviews, new way of dressing, and new shows

9-    They measured the impact, though the long term implications are still unclear, the short term impact shows effectiveness.  Miley Cyrus has never been more famous, she is on the top of the charts, with the highest number of followers on social media, her album is selling like no one else.  She performed at the AMA awards, was a contender for the Time magazine annual cover along with the Pope, Snowden, and General Sissi of Egypt. She was also interviewed by Barbara Walters as one of the 10 most influential people of 2013.

10-  They are letting others say fr them: Miley is engaging millions on social media, social media discussions and communities have a ripple effect so one tweet or one Facebook page can turn to thousands of comments, interaction that mostly translate to sales and revenues for the brand label

The main challenge to Miley’s re-branding process is longevity, if she believes deeply and securely in her new brand she will be able to pull it, as brands depend on authenticity and if she doesn’t feel that inside, others will not either

We see brands buzz every now and then and some are like a sugar high that crashes fast, some re-branding persists and becomes stronger than the original brand examples of labels successful rebranding are Justin Timberlake, Janet Jackson, and Beyonce.

We have to wait and see.  I honestly do not like or hate Miley Cyrus as a performer, I just admire the marketing re-branding approach that she and her crew planned and executed.  At this point I am not sure what to expect from Miley Cyrus and this is exactly the image that she wanted to give, so her audience will be always anticipating her next move i.e. her next shock wave.

Let me know what you think.

Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh

Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Social Media Strategist
Home of the D.I.A.L.O.G. Programs
Diversity And Inclusion for Leadership Organizational Growth”
T: 818 861 9434 

Sahar Consulting, LLC
www.saharconsulting.com

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