Jeanne Crane Coaching and Consulting
Monday, June 15, 2009
In the diversity model, people of different color or background are invited in to the dominant culture. They are given a place at the table. In the model of multiculturalism, there is no dominant culture and all peoples bring the richness of their culture to the table, building a collective future through the experience of all.
Younger people and this new administration have made this shift and are leading the way. The buzz around the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is but one illustration. My tears come again-tears of joy and pride and hope. For in her story, as in so many stories that are being lifted up these days, we see what is possible in all organizations and all levels of society.
It is the story of people of color and differing backgrounds succeeding in bastions of dominant culture (like Princeton) while retaining their pride and connection to their roots and family cultures. It is the story of “both/and.” We can be part of the whole AND wholly who we are; we can accept what is AND work for change; we can be open to “the other” AND keep what matters of our own culture.
Yes, there is a backlash- Some just do not get it. They continue to debate diversity, quotas, affirmative action and identity politics. Others get it and are very threatened. (If you think your only strength is your membership in a dominant group; if you think that protects you from “the other”, this is understandably disconcerting. But we can not be distracted or intimidated. Multiculturalism is a 21st Century Imperative.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
21st C. Imperatives
Many recognize that Barack Obama "gets" 21st Century leadership. However, when reporters, politicos, and historians begin their analysis and speculation it is often using their respective 20th C. lens.
Doris Kearns Goodwin gives us the term Team of Rivals to describe Lincoln's strategy of brings his enemies into his cabinet, where some semblance of control or at least tighter observation could be realized. This was a brilliant strategy within the frame of a traditional leadership model where individuals filled positions of power and authority. Note the emphasis here is on RIVALS.
But to see the wisdom of Obama's strategy requires us to shift to an emphasis on TEAM. 21st C. leadership is about building TEAMS and creating collaborative circles of influence. Shared vision, clarity of mission, empowerment and accountability are not just buzz words in this model. We see them being utilized extraordinarily well in formation of this new administration.
The first behavioral research on leadership came about because of the need for platoon leaders during WWII. Yet, it took another 50 years for people to let go of the notion that "leaders are born, not made". Today, the challenge is to let go of viewing all dynamics as being about positional power, territory, rivalry and ego.
Likewise consultants and pundits, stuck in a 1970s paradigms still talk about models like Tuckman's "Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing one moment while teaching the importance of vision, mission, goals, the next. The first model is descriptive of what happens in a traditional leadership model. The second is prescriptive- offering tools of the new 21st C. leadership that can make the need for false starts and discord unnecessary. Like a mixed metaphor, this kind of help confuses more than enlightens.
When choosing a consultant, make sure they have the depth of understanding of 21st C imperatives not just the buzzwords.
Obama "gets" it. Others "get" it. Let us help more folks "get' it.
Crane Coaching and Consulting
128 Holiday Harbour
Canandaigua, NY 14424