J.E.D.I. Reality Check: Does it feel safe at your firm or association (particularly for people of color)?

An excerpt from, How to Be an Anti-Racist Real Estate Pro and featured in REALTOR® Magazine.    


How It Started
Organizational Goal:
We want more ____ represented here (fill in the blank with an underrepresented group).
 
VS.

How It's Going
Organizational Reality:
We don't understand why there aren't more ____ (fill in the blank with that same underrepresented group).


More representation of underrepresented groups (a.k.a. justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion -- J.E.D.I.  -- at their finest) is a noble assertion and corporate goal. However, sometimes the closer we are to the 'norm' (this is how we have always done it), the less likely we will see the aspects of our environment that may feel unwelcoming to the very demographics that we want to reach. 

In regards specifically, to truly opening your organization's arms to BIPOC,  psychological safety is a must! 

"Six out of 10 employees said that a lack of emotional safety at work would make them quit a job immediately".

Did you catch that? Sixty percent of all American (not just BIPOC) workers surveyed across generations and in all industries would quit immediately. I can imagine this rate increases among volunteers. Thus, being a truly safe space can likely improve your organization's attrition rate and decrease the costs associated with a revolving door.

Before you tune me out because you believe your environment is a safe space for all, including people of color, please let me explain.

Psychological safety as adapted from Rory Rowland breaks down to:

1. Do I feel included or are there conversations that I have not been invited to participate?  Or, when I do offer input, do I feel like my view is trivialized, mocked, or outright ignored?

2. Do I feel safe to learn (aka not be perfect and allowed to go through iterations of development)?

3. Do I feel safe to contribute or have I been/will I be criticized, embarrassed, or marginalized?

4. Do I feel safe to challenge the status quo or do I get the impression that I need to stay in my lane or that it's not broken so don't try to fix it?

If any one of these safe conditions is lacking among your team, firm, or association, although this is not the movie Apollo 13, I dare say, Houston, we have a problem


Case in point: Among the Black women I know both in and outside the world of real estate, we often notice the opposite of psychological safety when we speak out or up. From we have to laugh about it so we don't cry examples late-night host and comedienne Amber Ruffin and her sister Lacey Lamar share in their book to the following illustration -- which has empirical data to substantiate it from COCo (and was sent to me by a Black executive about her current experience) -- a lack of psychological safety is the straw that breaks diversity's back:



Source: https://coco-net.org/problem-woman-colour-nonprofit-organizations/ 


You may be thinking, we are nowhere near as bad as Lacey's infuriating stories or COCo's illustration. But, if you have not had a neutral third-party interview with your crew, you likely do not know the full story. 



If you are truly committed to J.E.D.I. work and more assertively being an Anti-Racist Real Estate Pro (download a complimentary copy of the e-book, How to Be an Anti-Racist Real Estate Pro to learn more), I encourage you to have an unaffiliated third-party do the following exercise that I do with organizations that have felt this disconnection between the goals and reality of J.E.D.I. efforts:


As a coach/consultant (a.k.a. an objective third-party not part of the group), I like to first ask all leaders separately (to prevent groupthink):

+What does it mean to you for this to be a safe space?

 

+What have you noticed about this environment?

 

+Are there any participants that you believe may feel uninvited or unsafe to learn, contribute or challenge the status quo? Why or why not?

 

+How have you personally contributed to this being a safe space?

 

+What could be improved upon to promote psychological safety for all participants?

 

+Do you feel included or are there conversations that you have not been invited to participate? Or, when you do offer input, do you feel like your view is trivialized or outright ignored? If you have felt unincluded, please share at least one instance.

 

+Do you feel safe to learn (aka not be perfect and allowed to go through iterations of development)? If you have this lack of safety, please share at least one instance.

 

+Do you feel safe to contribute or have you been/will you be criticized, embarrassed, or marginalized? If you have felt this lack of safety, please share at least one instance.

 

+Do you feel safe to challenge the status quo or do you get the impression that I need to stay in my lane or that it's not broken so don't try to fix it? If you have this lack of safety, please share at least one instance.



Then, I ask individual participants, particularly those with one foot out the door as evidenced by either their silence or physical absence:

+What does it mean to you for this to be a safe space? 

 

+What have you noticed about this environment? 

 

+Of the leadership team, who has personally contributed to this being a safe space? What did that person(s) do to create a safe space?

 

+Do you feel included or are there conversations that you have not been invited to participate? Or, when you do offer input, do you feel like your view is trivialized or outright ignored? If you have felt unincluded, please share at least one instance.

 

+Do you feel safe to learn (aka not be perfect and allowed to go through iterations of development)? If you feel unsafe learning, please share at least one instance.

 

+Do you feel safe to contribute or have you been/will you be criticized, embarrassed, or marginalized? If you feel unsafe contributing, please share at least one instance.

 

+Do you feel safe to challenge the status quo or do you get the impression that I need to stay in my lane or that it's not broken so don't try to fix it? If you feel unsafe challenging the status quo, please share at least one instance.

 

+What could be improved upon by the leadership (and even the team as a whole) to promote psychological safety?

Next, without revealing any identities, I share the results with the team in a psychologically safe way (a.k.a. I don't use the answers as weapons). This is usually a revelatory moment for leadership.  Typically, in instances when a J.E.D.I.-pursuant firm or association is inadvertently repelling people, those in leadership are not aware of how they (and the organization) show up to those they lead (or hope to attract) nor of the psychological needs of those they lead (or hope to attract). Such organizations may desire to do better but may not understand the need to provide an additional non-punitive nor retaliatory space to be heard via humble and appreciative inquiries of ALL from a psychologically safe third party... that is until now.






Houston, we have found the problem! 

After unpacking the results, I ask the whole group to brainstorm the following questions (adapted from my Appreciative Inquiry module cohort instructor, Dr. Dietra Hawkins, Yale University Professor); and, I give everyone present an opportunity to be heard:

1. Define|Design|Dream: What intiatives would have us ALL 'win' in our quest to demonstrate a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive enviroment? As REALTORS®, we understand that the best negotiations are a win-win for all parties (instead of lopsided victories) and that especially applies in matters of J.E.D.I. work.

  

2. Discovery|Destiny: What can we carry forward that has worked well? By salvaging effective traditions, we limit displacement. Thus, this process should not feel as disruptive and invasive to those that may be tempted to resist a corporate culture expansion.

 

3. Discovery|Destiny: What is the smallest/simplest/easiest change that could make the biggest impact that we can implement immediately? Tabling something for months or years because it is such a massive undertaking should be avoided at all costs.

By leadership inquisitively, energetically, collaboratively, humbly, and daily working towards a truly 'safe space', justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion can more readily become the natural and appealing byproducts.


Sound off -
I would love to hear from you!  Give me a shout on
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, or by visiting LearnWithDrLee.com.  

Want more of the best practices of our nation's top producers? Grab your copy of the short read, Profit with Your Personality and, the classic, 5-star rated workbook, Plan to Win, to transform their real estate sales game plan. Or, get your "training on" with these on-demand classes.  Here's to your success! #LearnWithDrLee
Share This Post :
Tags : , , ,

Get Certified!

How Can I #LearnWithDrLee?





WHAT'S THE PLAN?

Transform your real estate sales game plan with our latest tools for your business, PROFIT WITH YOUR PERSONALITY and the classic workbook PLAN TO WIN! Get your copies today!


We Like to Be Liked so What Are You Waiting On :)

Popular Posts

Coaching and Consulting

Social Media

We'd love to stay in touch with you! Connect with us on social media: