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Lobby General Discussion topic #13105153

Subject: "WWYD: Black at the corporate inner inner circle" Previous topic | Next topic
double negative
Member since Dec 14th 2007
22022 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 12:07 PM

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"WWYD: Black at the corporate inner inner circle"


  

          

Backstory:

I'm a designer for a global firm that is well over 100 years old . This firm since the 70s has woven diversity as a brand and goal into into the fabric of the company.

I've been interviewing board members, presidents, c-level folks and vp's to help develop a product.



The Product:

its a planning tool. its a tool for higher-ups to look back on where the company has been and where the company has gone. Its a comprehensive stack of forms.

A lot of the questions are based around money. What was made and what was spent. Other questions were around efficiency, that is how you work and how well you work.

In the dozens of questions there is one question that directly calls out diversity. Something along the lines of

"Racial, orientation, gender diversity is a way of life here...what have you done to push this agenda?"

I'm paraphrasing but thats the general idea.



The problem:

During one of the long interview sessions one high ranking person looked at me, looked at the group and said

"To be honest, no one fills out this part. I don't know what this has to do with anything...we should get rid of it really"

So the context was that we were putting features or problem areas on the chopping block.

That one part makes it so no one wants to use the tool?
Lets maybe cut it out.

That other thing that everyone hates to fill out?
Lets also maybe cut that part out too.

It wasn't my job to push back in that moment, I was supposed to listen to collect data.

BUT

When I think about the string of racially related corporate PR gaffes and how the overwhelming sentiment seems to be "this would not be an issue if a black person was in the room" I think to myself

"I was the black person in the room...I was the only person of color in the room"


Thinking about it some more...its kind of unsettling to witness a very large idea that affects the culture of a company and ultimately the lives of others just shift and potentially disappear into thin air.


I'm not going to let this one die.


I'm thinking of how this is a design issue that can be resolved. I believe folks don't want to talk about race because they don't want to be wrong so they cop out and just write "n/a"


Maybe this is a battle to be fought or maybe not.



What would you do/have done?

***********************************************************
https://soundcloud.com/swageyph/yph-die-with-me

  

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Topic Outline
Subject Author Message Date ID
I doubt I would have pushed it.
Dec 13th 2016
1
white folks don't talk about race because they don't care about race
Dec 13th 2016
2
Being in the room isn't being at the table
Dec 13th 2016
3
real response is real.
Dec 13th 2016
7
The question does seem misplaced
Dec 13th 2016
4
all of what you said is why I'm curious if its more about phrasing
Dec 13th 2016
9
damn... this is a great question
Dec 13th 2016
5
RE: damn... this is a great question
Dec 13th 2016
8
this is the actual question FYI:
Dec 13th 2016
6
which now that I re-read it a few times...
Dec 13th 2016
10
I think you're circling around the real issue
Dec 13th 2016
11
Question is dumb because it's only applicable to hr and hiring managers
Dec 14th 2016
12

FLUIDJ
Member since Sep 18th 2002
43877 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 12:20 PM

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1. "I doubt I would have pushed it. "
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

I know you were paraphrasing, but this part of the question would trip me up too "what have you done to push this agenda"...

It's accusatory in tone. It puts the onus on the reader, and if they have no bearing on that component, it's likely they have no valid way of answering the question.

I'm biased though, I learned a LOT about survey design vicariously through my wife when she was in grad school.... bad surveys are thing, and a major issue in many industries. This reeks of a bad survey IMO.



"Get ready....for your blessing....."

  

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Atillah Moor
Member since Sep 05th 2013
13825 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 12:36 PM

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2. "white folks don't talk about race because they don't care about race "
In response to Reply # 0
Tue Dec-13-16 12:37 PM by Atillah Moor

  

          

and certainly not at work.Personally, I'd let it go unless you see the reward being of greater value than the risk

  

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MEAT
Member since Feb 08th 2008
21312 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 12:38 PM

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3. "Being in the room isn't being at the table"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

The company allows their own blind spot to exist. That's not on you.

------
“There is no fate that cannot be surmounted by scorn.” -Albert Camus

  

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double negative
Member since Dec 14th 2007
22022 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 01:14 PM

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7. "real response is real."
In response to Reply # 3


  

          

***********************************************************
https://soundcloud.com/swageyph/yph-die-with-me

  

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Cocobrotha2
Charter member
10813 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 12:54 PM

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4. "The question does seem misplaced"
In response to Reply # 0


          

A lot of business people think diversity has dubious ROI to begin with so they mostly consider it as "nice-to-have" but not a real goal. Hitting their numbers is always going to take precedence to them. And in the context of that survey, they can be hitting their numbers but come out looking bad if they don't have a good answer to the diversity question so I'm not surprised they avoid it.

An important question though is whether the company actually has programs in place to promote diversity. If they don't, then saying it is so important to the company is disingenuous.

There are strong social factors that limit diversity in most workplaces and it takes a concerted effort to overcome them. Some managers may innately know how to but most won't so if you leave it up to them, they're going to avoid the conversation and focus on what they understand.

<-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><->
<-><-><-><-><-><-><-><-><->

  

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double negative
Member since Dec 14th 2007
22022 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 01:18 PM

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9. "all of what you said is why I'm curious if its more about phrasing "
In response to Reply # 4


  

          

but yes, money over everythang.
i want to know how to shift that carrot a bit so removing it wont make it so POC are not up the building as well

***********************************************************
https://soundcloud.com/swageyph/yph-die-with-me

  

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legsdiamond
Member since May 05th 2011
71083 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 12:58 PM

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5. "damn... this is a great question"
In response to Reply # 0


          

a good look into "collecting data" and not taking it personally or getting involved.

but i guess part of it is taking their answers or non answers into account and tweaking the product.

can you find someone else high ranking who can go to bat for you?

****************
TBH the fact that you're even a mod here fits squarely within Jag's narrative of OK-sanctioned aggression, bullying, and toxicity. *shrug*

  

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double negative
Member since Dec 14th 2007
22022 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 01:17 PM

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8. "RE: damn... this is a great question"
In response to Reply # 5


  

          

>a good look into "collecting data" and not taking it
>personally or getting involved.
>
thats my job. besides, once you make people clam up then you essentially fuck the whole session and taint the data.


>but i guess part of it is taking their answers or non answers
>into account and tweaking the product.
>


>can you find someone else high ranking who can go to bat for
>you?
>
>

I'm going to wait this one out. We are having several rounds of revisions and if the question drops off then I might bring it up.

***********************************************************
https://soundcloud.com/swageyph/yph-die-with-me

  

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double negative
Member since Dec 14th 2007
22022 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 01:13 PM

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6. "this is the actual question FYI:"
In response to Reply # 0


  

          

Key points changed for reasons.

"Our company works hard to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of employees of diverse backgrounds at all levels. Describe your plans and efforts to support the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion through staffing, mentoring, recruiting and participation in diversity initiatives"

***********************************************************
https://soundcloud.com/swageyph/yph-die-with-me

  

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double negative
Member since Dec 14th 2007
22022 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 01:20 PM

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10. "which now that I re-read it a few times..."
In response to Reply # 6


  

          

what is some one supposed to say?

"I spoke to Jim about his reports. Jim is black. I mean NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT"

***********************************************************
https://soundcloud.com/swageyph/yph-die-with-me

  

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dba_BAD
Charter member
14873 posts
Tue Dec-13-16 08:03 PM

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11. "I think you're circling around the real issue"
In response to Reply # 10


          

which is not whether or not the question is flawed, it's that if the company's so-called commitment is real, then clueless white execs likely need explicit coaching on how to support it, let alone articulate that support

or otherwise, maybe the commitment is flimsy, in which case the question is fucked

__

fairweather

  

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imcvspl
Member since Mar 07th 2005
42197 posts
Wed Dec-14-16 07:07 AM

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12. "Question is dumb because it's only applicable to hr and hiring managers"
In response to Reply # 6
Wed Dec-14-16 07:13 AM by imcvspl

  

          

A response of N/A effectively means "I'm not responsible for that shit."

█▆▇▅▇█▇▆▄▁▃
Big PEMFin H & z's
"I ain't no entertainer, and ain't trying to be one. I am 1 thing, a musician." � Miles

"When the music stops he falls back in the abyss."

  

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