Compassionate AND Courageous Leadership for our Nation’s Healing
“Through this work, I’ve learned that each of us is more than the worst thing that we’ve ever done; that the opposite of poverty isn’t wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice; that the character of our nation isn’t reflected on how we treat the rich and the privileged, but how we treat the poor, the disfavored, and condemned.”
–Bryan Stevenson, Director, Equal Justice Initiative
I write to you today as the CEO of SixSEED Partners; as a nurse who has dedicated her life to providing health and healing to all, and as a growing- in- consciousness white, privileged woman who is deeply saddened by the pervasive demonstrations of systemic racism and violence in our nation. George Floyd; Ahmaud Arbery; Breonna Taylor; Freddie Gray – too many names to do justice to their lives by listing them here. While I mean this statement deeply – I also believe strongly that these words of support are not sufficient to create real systemic change. Now is our time to ACT.
The question we are facing at SixSEED Partners is one we ask our clients to consider, too. How do we Act effectively, without “reacting”? As we shift from our anger and sadness to activism and change, we challenge ourselves to focus on the impact we want to create: our desired outcome, which is to contribute to a just and equitable culture where health is a right for all.
At SixSEED we partner to create “ecosystems” – environments in which individuals, teams, and organizations can all thrive. Our approaches and tools-of-our-trade surface and honor differences and differing perspectives while moving forward together with increased speed and more sustainability. Healthy and thriving ecosystems require diversity and integrated solutions.
A frequently asked question is, “Where to start?”
We believe leadership comes from a variety of places and is always an inside-out job. Here are 5 essential steps we see as necessary for healing and lasting change, at all levels of a system:
- Embrace Courage in Being Vulnerable – Critically Self -Assess: How are we part of the solution or part of the problem? How do we know? Whose perspective is missing in our lives and how do we bring that perspective(s) in? Whether in reading; watching TED talks or YouTube Videos; engaging in conversations with our neighbors or families, we must take individual responsibility to improve our literacy in racism, implicit bias, white supremacy, and anti-racism.
- Hold Self and Others Accountable, While Resisting Blame: It takes courage to resist blaming others and to recognize that Who and What we criticize lives within us. What difference could it make if we could focus on accountability for behavior, and love the human being before us – and within us? How might making that shift impact us personally, as a leader, in our organizations?
- Hold a Place for Compassion and Forgiveness: This is easier said than done, particularly when trying with those we consider our “enemies”. Merriam Webster defines compassion as: “the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” Notice there is no judgment here. It is more a recognition of our common humanity. That is the outcome we are hoping to create in our world! Regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual preference, income, military status, and so many other differentiators – we are one common humanity.
- Be a Diversity Leader-by-Example – Imperfectly: We don’t need to wait for a formal Diversity Officer to start making changes in our organizations. At every level – personally and in our teams – be intentional to bring as many different perspectives in the room as possible. Make it a habit to ask questions like:
- “Whose perspectives are missing here?”
- “What voice/s are being marginalized, and why?
- “How do we ensure all voices are heard?”
- “What is the quality of our listening? Are we listening to confirm what we know or to hear what we haven’t yet considered?”
- “What shifts do we need to the practices we’ve accepted?” For example, instead of hiring for “fit,” what if we hired for “non-fit?”
- Allocate your time, money, and talent in service to living a vision of a just and equitable culture. Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Sensei said it best: “Love and Justice are not two. Without inner change, there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”
Like all systemic changes, they take intentional learning, development and actions, over time.
To stay connected with what SixSEED Partners is doing to support anti-racism, see the below key resources and actions we are taking … to be anti-racist and create integrated solutions to heal our nation’s healthcare systems.
In health and healing,
Joy W. Goldman RN, MS, PCC
CEO and Founding Partner
Self-Learning / Action Resources:
- How to Be Anti-Racist, by Ibram X. Kendi
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Dr. Robin DiAngelo
- “Deconstructing White Privilege” with Dr. Robin DiAngelo
- “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Peggy McIntosh
- Implicit Association Test (IAT) on Skin Tone; on Race
Organizational Learning / Action Resources:
- EQUALITY: Courageous Conversations about Women, Men and Race to Spark a Diversity and Inclusion Breakthrough, by Trudy Bourgeois
- Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence: Understanding and Facilitating Difficult Dialogues on Race, by Derald Wing Sue
- “US Businesses Must Take Meaningful Action Against Racism” LM Roberts & E Washington, HBR, June 1 2020
Organizations to Follow / Support: