I love being an ally for equality. As I was saying to someone the other day, equality for me is when everyone has the opportunity to be who they are without any concern that they will be disadvantaged in any way. It is not about all being the same but celebrating our diversity. Society seems to find this difficult as it is always simpler to stick with what you know. But let us focus on solutions.As a White African Male, I feel it is important for me to speak out and say that we need to have a society where our diversity can be celebrated. Society is still skewed in the favour of elites, whether that be white males in South Africa, politically connected people in the USA or social elite in place-country-name-here. We need people to be honest and acknowledge what is going on. It may mean really awkward conversations but who doesn’t love a bit of awkwardness 😝
The world that we live in is plagued with a history of awful events, beliefs and societies that have shaped the way that we all see the world, interact with each other and well…. exist. We cannot go back in time in order to change what has happened, we can only use the past as a tool to learn from and not fall into the same trap.
We do seem to be falling into an equality trap though that may not be the best way to redress the evils of the past. A drive for being equal is the wrong way to go in my opinion. None of us are equal, we are all individuals. Not a single person on this planet has the same DNA, brainwave pattern (jury is potentially still out on this one), gait (the way we walk) or gut microbiome (there is some super interesting research into how this affects us but that is a story for another day). We should therefore focus on ensuring that people on the planet have the freedom to be who they are.
Is the answer not that people learn more about themselves? If people understand what drives them, how they can be their best self and they give others the ability to know the same will this not result in a more just society? A society that allows people to shine the light that is within them. The 21st century gives us the ability to use data to make much better decisions and it is about time that we do this with ourselves and our society as a whole.
Making decisions based on putting people into large boxes of race, sex, gender, etc. is not the way to create a society that thrives. What is likely to happen in this situation is to actually create more divides as people feel that their group is being overlooked. We have all heard people saying a number of different versions of “they only got that job/contract/etc. because of X” or “I did not get it because I am Y”. This is a hard problem to solve because our society is setup to keep the status quo going so I completely understand equality programs and as I said in the opening I am a supporter because I have seen first hand people being discriminated against due to societal norms and that is bullshit!
Perhaps we need to be highlighting more success stories, where diverse teams are more successful. We need to start portraying this diversity more in popular culture whether that be movies, TV, Social Media. I do believe that it needs to start with complete honesty and a greater willingness by people to understand people that are different to them!
What are your thoughts? How do we achieve SDG 5 and 10?
I have just visited Siki’s Koffee Kafe in Khayelitsha. I came across him and his story on Thundafund when I was looking at current crowdfunding campaigns that were taking place. Siki’s story is such an inspiring one and I knew that I had to meet him.
Sikelela Dibela has always wanted to make a difference in the community that he grew up in, Khayelitsha. Even though he never matriculated from school Siki had amazing drive which resulted in him moving up from a Vida Cafe dishwasher to store manager, whilst he was completing college. His drive and tenacity saw him being chosen to work in London for two years training new staff.
Siki explained that going to London was a major eye opener and part of his inspiration to come back home and really make a difference. Meeting Siki was a reminder for me that perseverance and hard work pays off and I believe that Siki is on an amazing journey to not only be a personal success but to take his community along the journey.
I am making a plea to everyone to check out Siki’s crowdfunding campaign and to contribute to his story. He is looking for a dream goal of R90 000 in order to get a mobile coffee machine and a vehicle in order to increase his reach. His tipping point is R30 000 and he is currently at R15 560. So halfway to the tipping point with 23 days to go!
To Learn more google him or better yet go and visit Siki’s Koffee Kafe.
Have you ever used the word Always or Never in a heated discussion? Have you ever has these words used towards you? How did it make you feel?
Speaking in absolutes is something that you should avoid and think twice about before using. I have made this a rule in my life and today while at a #sheinnovates festival I was reminded of this.
Does your partner really never change the toilet roll. Does your employee really always come late to meetings? The answer to these questions is most likely NO! By you stating that they always or never do something you immediate create a defense response from them and it does not create an environment that is conducive to rational discussion and debate.
This is a short piece of advice that you most likely know deep down inside. To avoid falling into the trap make a rule that absolutes are not allowed this standing rule will then allow the person to whom the absolute is expressed to say, “hey we don’t talk in absolutes”, reminding you of your rule and the diffusing the situation rather than causing a backlash. It sounds to simple but it really does work.
Create this rule today and improve your conflict management significantly! Or don’t that is also okay 😄
A Massive Transformative Purpose is essential for an organisation that wants to exponential, in fact I believe that it is vital for an organisation to thrive in the 21st century. Am MTP is more than a vision or a mission it is an aspirational statement that captures the hearts and minds of the people inside the organisation as well as the community that surrounds the organisation. This can be seen as the higher purpose of the organisation. Remember it is transformational and not transactional.
A powerful MTP has the Power of Pull, it creates a culture that people want to belong to and be a part of. A strong MTP is therefore beneficial when recruiting and retaining talent. In addition a powerful MTP results in an external impact focus rather than an internal politics focus and therefore results in a more productive organisation. A great MTP can have first mover advantage, as it is written in Exponential Organisations it is difficult for another company to come up against Google’s MTP and say well we are going to organise the worlds information just better.
The Purpose in MTP is vital and two why questions are described in the book as critical:
Firstly you may be asking yourself what is an idea meritocracy? This is an ideology and way of working that let’s the best idea win regardless of who the idea comes from. Successful companies such as Bridgewater associates and Pixar animation studios use such techniques to build a culture of radical transparency and this ensures that innovation continues to prosper.
A quick aside, I wrote this blog a few weeks ago sitting at the Amazing V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and then forgot to publish it. The picture below was taken on the day. ADVERT: Cape Town is an amazing place to start a business!
I first came across this idea from Ray Dalio’s book Principles and would highly recommend that you read this book. Bridgewater Associates which Dalio founded over 40 years ago runs on a radically transparent culture and is the number one hedge fund in the world. The stories in the book are amazing such as junior employees having the openness to tell Ray Dalio that his performance in a meeting was D- and that he was obviously unprepared. There are many organisations where this would be seen as insubordination but not at Bridgewater where honest feedback is valued and required.
This type of culture is not an easy one to follow as it is very different to what many of us know but I believe that it is a very good model to use to promote experimentation. Experimentation requires failure and honest feedback to improve. Where people are punished for failure experimentation is unlikely.
So what steps can you take to move to an idea meritocracy and a radically transparent company culture?
Have an open mind
Learn more about it by reading and studying other companies following this ideology
Discuss this with your team
Implement and know that you will make mistakes and have failures along the way. The important thing to remember is that as long as you are learning from these then you are moving forward