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WoManifesto

If women have survived by pretending to be someone else in order to be heard and recognized, organizations are missing out on a lot of talent, which means missing opportunity for innovation, productivity and profit that is already present in the talent pool and just waiting to be tapped. Organizations that cultivate cultural intelligence enable people to navigate conversations across differences of identity and culture including those of gender. This increases employee safety and belonging as the means to an end for more productivity, innovation and profit in every business. Ironically, what gets in the way of that diversity-fueling success is a well-intentioned desire to be fair. We want equality and fairness, and we often think this is best achieved by treating everyone essentially the same at work. We do this because people in the developmental stage of Minimization – who actually represent the majority of the US population – tend to assume we all have the same experience. We don’t realize that two-thirds of people who take the Intercultural Development Inventory® world-wide are unknowingly stuck in this middle stage of cultural development.(8).

And because we don’t want to go against cultural norms and upset a status quo that favors male voices, leaders inadvertently silence and sideline dissenting opinions and different perspectives, including women’s. As a result, we’re often blind to the cultural systems in our organizations that keep women feeling left out or pushed out. This is opposite of cultural intelligence.

Cultural intelligence is the ability to shift perspective and adapt behavior to successfully navigate conversations across cultural differences, such as gender, so that each of us feels valued and heard. In a previous blog (What’s a Guy to Do? written in light of the #metoo movement), we explained how men can use their cultural intelligence to help women not only share their opinions and perspectives but also get ahead in an organization. So, what can women do?

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The Value Proposition

The best leadership in an organization recognizes that conflict and other behaviors that put a temporary drag on production can ultimately be transformative as well as good for the bottom line. Even incidents that seem the most polarizing can lead to the kind of...

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There’s Nothing Common About Vocabulary

“It’s taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a 'band-aid' in my own skin tone. You can barely even spot it in the first photo. For real I’m holding back tears,” Dominique Apollon wrote in his Twitter post....

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Shift Happens

“I love my company, but I’m afraid to go back to work. I’ll see her in the hall and won’t know how to act. If I’m this nervous about being at work, I can only imagine how she feels," said the high-performing employee as she left for a business trip immediately after...

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How to Maximize Group Participation

“I want to facilitate a discussion where everyone feels included and we all learn from one another. But instead of sharing their experiences and perspectives, people keep turning it to a political discussion and no one is listening to anyone,” an exasperated...

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Five Steps for Solving “Wicked” Problems

The lady initially repulsed me. Her clothes and hair unkempt, eyes bugged out and head was misshapen. For just a moment I hesitated to even hug her. But it was fellowship time in our church, and we’re asked to greet and hug one another. So, I looked at her, asked...

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What’s a Guy to Do?

One manager lamented, “I can’t even compliment a woman on how she looks anymore.” What he hadn’t realized is that context matters. For those men who have walked the straight and narrow and valued female colleagues for their intellect, regardless of their looks, the...

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Disagree, Don’t Suck It Up

“I just want to be able to talk with my sister again.” said the Chief Marketing Officer. I had asked why he’d signed up for EP’s Workshop Series on developing cultural intelligence. He explained, “We can’t even have a discussion without her calling me a name. It’s...

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Civil, Right?

“There are no such things as micro-aggressions.” Charles Bryson said in his talk to Ferguson1000. It was a curious statement from the Director of the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency for the City of St. Louis. Then he went on to say, “Remarks which leave a person...

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How to Diversify Your Talent Pool Pipeline

“There’s nothing I can do about those people if they don’t want to show up for work,” a Chief Executive Officer remarked. The statement made me wonder if that were actually true. A leader may well feel there’s nothing he or she can do about the hire-ability of a group...

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