So what happens when you listen to someone share their story on clubhouse and it’s so powerful and real you can’t wait to hear more? You invite them to do an episode on your podcast and hope they say yes. In this episode I was able to interview Sola Adenakan, co-founder of St8cked media and BrazenTv, which focuses on social issues and putting women and POC behind the lens. Along with her newest project Transmit Media Podcast Network, the first Afro Latina owned social impact podcast network.
It’s a lot going on but she was gracious enough to speak with me and I’m so thankful for it, because her story is also just as compelling as the stories she films.
My name is Jessy Santana and I’m an organizational culture strategist, entrepreneur, mother. This is The Way We Work podcast, where we discuss all things at the intersection of knowledge-seeking curiosity, entrepreneurship and social impact.
Take a listen to the full Interview Here
This is what happens when you let go of fear or the narrative you can’t and just do. Clarity through action and we’ll all be manifesting powerful stories too.
I can’t wait to keep learning about Sola’s work and you should definitely check her out too. At her new project Transmit Media Podcast Network and all of her other incredible work.
This Week’s Rose Bud and Thorn
I am so excited that The Culture-Driven Leader academy is now live! And the first cohort will begin on Feb 15! If you’re interested make sure to check out the site here or on my IG @theway_wework you’ll find more information there.
All of this creating content, entrepreneurship takes a toll on your family and sometimes you don’t even realize how much. Maybe that’s why so many entrepreneurs are divorced. Someone once told me, there is no work life balance as an entrepreneur, you have to choose between work, family, friends, health or sleep. What’s your choice?
After that conversation with Sola, I’m just really looking forward to the rest of 2021, it won’t come easy and it won’t come fast but change inevitable and I just want to work with those that are ready. So if you’re with me, you know what to do.
If you liked the show make sure to like and subscribe and leave a review and don’t forget tell your friends to listen.
After some much needed emotional and mental healing I’m back and rejuvenated for this new year of the culture-driven leader!
If you’d rather listen to the podcast- click on the link below!
This time of year is always filled with new plans, new goals and passions we want to make happen this year because this will be the year different from all years before it right?
I’m a big fan of shaking the cobwebs and learning from what didn’t work before and how we might improve? So what’s the obsession with resolutions? Is it appropriate when we may not know what the year may hold? This year or any year? How different are we on January 1st from December 31st?
That amount of pressure to put on ourselves and those around us never sat well with me but what we can do is understand where we are and where we want to be and how to get there.
In this week’s episode we’re doing a deep dive into behavior change. What does it look like and if we can achieve it?
My Plans…are you in?
Things I’m working on and how you can be a part of the process but first, some strategies for intention setting instead of resolutions we’ll never hear from again.
Making decisions can be difficult for many when we have so many options in front of us. The dental care aisle is my worst nightmare with it’s myriad of choices that differ very little from each other. Mint or spearmint? Green or blue? Does it really matter?
But when it comes to hard decisions actual decisions that impact your life from what to study, what industry to go for work, if the job is worth the micro aggressions or the slow mediocre promotional track?
According to Ruth Chang, a philosopher and a professor of jurisprudence at Oxford University, she has this theory on decision making that I love.
First, what’s the difference between a big choice and a hard choice?
Big Choice: Life-saving surgery is big but not usually hard if you want to continue living. Right?
Hard Choice: Two decisions that are very similar- two jobs, living in two different cities, etc. Both have pros and cons but neither is definitively better than the other, but choosing one and committing to it is the part that makes it hard.
While choosing one and wistfully regretting not taking the road less traveled makes the decision process unbearable.and for many it makes us live life with a feeling of regret or contemplating if we’ve made the right choice for ourselves.
This insecurity in decisionmaking is a long believed stereotype of millennials among others but can often derail us completely if not riddle us with anxiety over our big life decisions.
Be the Author of your life. Author being an acronym for
A is ascertain what’s important. Who’s opinion matters such as your parents or if there’s a certain goal or career type you’re looking to achieve. Totally get both of those angles.
U is for understand the pros and cons with respect to what matters. But remember these are options that may be similar in standing so finding those deep pros and cons may be more difficult than we realize.
T is for tally up the pros and cons, another not small feat depending on the hard decision.
H is for hone in on the fact that it’s a hard choice- the options are on par with each other no option is definitively better than another. Choosing a promotion in Germany vs taking the same position at another company for some may be relatively similar depending on career plans but they are both relatively great options as long as you keep A in mind.
O is for open yourself up to the possibility of making a commitment, this is where Chang lays it down. Commitment in making a choice makes all the difference.
R is for remake yourself as someone who or realize yourself as someone who has committed to a choice. If you choose the Germany position, you would have to be a person that has committed to agreeing to a promotion in Germany versus being a person that takes the same job at another organization. Neither is bad but they both have very different potential realities.
As a person that spent 6 years in a foreign country I know this very near and dear to my heart. Had I stayed, I might be in the same circles that I was in before I left like most people I found from back home. But the alternative? Let me to meet my husband, now have a daughter and be with you now living in my 4 country.
What I love about this strategy for decisionmaking is that she’s not telling you what to do- that’s up to you. But what she is saying is that commitment is key. Realize yourself as a person that is this person.
How does this relate to new year plans and behaviour?
We all know that intention is only a piece of the puzzle. You hope to make a change this year? Great but how can you actually do so? You have to commit to that change.
Easier said than done right?
Of course, everything that requires introspection and commitment always is.
So what if we took that same level of commitment for something we wanted to achieve this year? It can be anything but it should be something you actually want and are willing to commit to.
It doesn’t have to be big. Start small. Use those smart goals we all know about.
Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time bound.
I was able to achieve so much of what I planned on in 2020 because I started prioritizing and learning strategic methods of working on the one thing.
Highly suggest it because the truth is not all lists are created equal, learning to prioritize and figuring out what works best for you is the number one way to learn how to change behavior. It doesn’t happen all at once, it may not happen as quickly as you hoped but if you commit and allow yourself to learn from the process, it’ll make all the difference.
For Organizations and Employees
Another note as employees return from holidays and staycations because let’s face it where did we go? But anyway, remember all those commitments and intentions that companies set out for themselves last year? Increasing and retaining more diverse talent, working to close the gender equity gap, equal pay for equal work, promoting more people of color to c-suite, etc. At the bare minimum releasing their diversity numbers so you know who you’re getting into bed with.
Now that the new year has started remind them that those intentions still need to be held accountable. DEI is not new but its priority has slipped from many organizations’ front page.
It happens to the best of us, we move on- especially when we are not directly impacted by it. We need to make sure to remind our employers and the organizations we work in that it matters to all of us because inclusion is not only the burden of people of color or marginalized peoples. It really is the responsibility of everyone.
We all know innovation happens when we bring in new ideas our products speak to our customers in better ways, our bottom line increases because at the end of the day inclusion means being intentional and choosing to remake yourself as the person or your organization as that which has made the commitment to inclusion and not regretting that choice. Because the alternative no longer exists.
There is something special that happens when you are having conversations of change, both in organizations and societally, with others besides yourself. Sometimes, you think that you are out here spinning your wheels, not being able to understand the great ‘Resistance to Change’, that is still happening in the world when it comes to building equitable organizational culture.
I know that organizational culture seems like an amorphous and complicated- and it is, but overcoming bad culture is not insurmountable. It’s about learning what makes sense, within your means and how you can create a strategy for change. It’s about moving the needle forward and having intentional conversations for change.
So if you’re interested in having more of these conversations, join me on my weekly The Way We Work podcast!
If you want to know when the next one comes out subscribe today!
Stay in touch by following us on IG or Twitter @theway_wework and if you have any questions on identity, culture and the intersection mail us your query at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in kind,
Jessy Santana, Founder & Principal, The Way We Work
It’s November! And we are so close to the end of the year- It’ll be here before we know it! And although this year has felt like the longest year known to man- I promise it circled the same amount of times around the sun.
So instead of focusing on the discomfort, the negativity that may still be trying to seep in, I’m interested in looking up and forward- and these are just some of the things I’ve recently loved, kind of hated (you’ll see why) but still learned from, and thought you might enjoy too- especially since I’m told we’re still in this together!
So what else do we need for the end of the year, the beginning of winter (we just had our first snowfall this week and I wasn’t ready for it!), and all the things that will envelop us in warmth until the beginning of 2021?
If you’re late to the social justice train and opted out this summer- maybe it’s time for a reality check. It’s always a good idea to curl up with a good book that makes you think and just a bit uncomfortable- let’s face it we need to rock the boat!
We need a little deep thinking and discomfort- even if it’s with ourselves and this book delivers!
It puts things into perspective about why the conversation is difficult to begin with and why some opt-out but with 2020 bringing into light all kinds of social injustices I don’t know that we can really opt-out anymore.
If you’re more of a Netflix fan, Over the Moon, a movie about a Chinese family dealing with loss, a little girl believing in something and the idea that family can change- and if you’re seperated from yours it’s a nice movie about believing in yourself and family.
And if you’re still on the fence about things maybe this will help you, The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden by Frontline. This docu-series didn’t illuminate things that I hadn’t heard before but it’s a great piece on these two different men who are running for office in a competition for the highest office in the land.
Great Voices to Listen to!
This post by Patrice Palmer on Linkedin gave me the all the feels when it comes to what they describe as Accomplice and how are they different from Allies. There are many right now that disagree on the words but the sentiment is the same- we don’t have the time to sit around and wait for change to happen, we need people who are going to Pull Up!
One of my favorite songs right now is Know Your Worth by Khalid and Disclosure. The stand-alone single really holds up and with the lyric: Find someone who loves you at your worst. It really says a lot about what kind of relationships we need right now i.e. Ride or Die kind, especially during isolation.
I know it’s hard out there and things can seem bleak, but as my affirmation app this morning reminded me “Nobody but Me Decides How I Feel”.
This year has been full of deep change, some necessary others out of our control, but when we look back at this year I don’t want to say this was a lost opportunity. That we learned to survive yes, but that’s it. We didn’t learn to have hard conversations about what kind of culture we want to create within our corporate walls.
Instead, let’s take this opportunity to do just that! Learn to use this moment, full of change, uncertainty and potential to create and strategize what we want the future to look like.
So here are 5 conversations you should be having with your staff- right now! Don’t wait until 2021 to figure out how to move forward. By then it may already be too late!
1. What are our Problems?
This is an open call question that requires input either as a town hall, if people are feeling brave or as an anonymous survey. Please, please don’t single your employees of color to answer questions about race, identity, etc. The intention may be good, but the optics isn’t. While this may be an opportunity for open discussion and dialogue, you want to make sure you have the resources and the guidance you need for this happen, without the learning happening in one direction.
2. Who’s Leading the Charge?
Do not assume because someone is of a marginalized group that they want to be a part of the conversation. For some, the heightened scrutiny and attention may seem more like tokenism and will in the end be unproductive rather than the well-intentioned level playing field it needs to be.
3. Who’s at the table?
If you don’t have a Diversity and Inclusion position and you’re not sure where to start- find a resource. Whether it’s a consultant, a webinar, or even a book club, or fill the position with someone that knows what they are doing. Someone who has an interest is a great start, but if you’re promoting from within make sure that they have the resources in order to make their position impactful.
4. Do we need a full-time position?
I know it may seem a big undertaking for many companies in transition but the hard truth is that most companies need the position and if you’re not ready yet, to find a consultant they can work with that will guide you in the direction you should be going. Diversity and Inclusion is not new as a position but as we know most positions don’t have the full authority to exact change throughout an organization, or their positions are relegated to HR-centered positions (I have my own theories as to why this is wrong) but the brief is that in order to create in Inclusive environment, there needs to be a re-thinking of what the company’s strategies, processes, and operations need to do in order to change company culture. That may require more than just a department-specific function.
5. Are We Ready to get in the Trenches to Make Inclusion a Priority?
Like all departments of a company, I believe inclusion is just as important. If things go badly, you don’t cut operations or strategy, you learn to pivot. When 2020 changed how most traditional firms work, we didn’t just shutter our doors and give in. We paused, created a plan of action and dealt with the changes we could control. The same goes for Inclusion. It’s not a band-aid fix to a moment, it’s a long process that creates impactful change throughout an organization for years to come. It can lead us forward as a leader in our respective industries or like many that will not survive 2020, it can be the resistance to change that will ruin us. We cannot pretend we can go back to business pre-Covid, that past no longer exists. What we can do is understand this moment and create the innovation and strategy that will propel us forward through 2020 and beyond! This is not short-term work, it’s life’s work.
We have a lot of work to do, and it’s going to take a lot of un-learning, learning and uncomfortable conversations but if we’re willing to put in the work, creating a more inclusive and innovative corporate culture is within our reach!