Dr. Steve Yacovelli is here today to talk about leadership and inclusion, and he is the perfect person to talk to about these subjects. Steve is the Owner of Top Dog Learning – a leadership, change management, and diversity and inclusion consulting firm based in Orlando, Florida. Additionally, Top Dog Learning has affiliates across the globe.
Through Top Dog, Steve has worked with a lot of amazing partners such as Walt Disney, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, American Library Association, various universities, and more. They love helping their client partners grow, expand, and be successful with diversity, inclusion, and change management.
I spoke with Steve shortly after the divisive U.S. presidential election, and asked him to share the secret of great leadership.
On this episode of the Live. Love. Engage. podcast:
- Steve shares the secret to great leadership.
- An overview of Steve’s book and what it’s about.
- The opportunity those in the LGBTQ+ community have in leadership.
- Why it’s important to listen to understand instead of listening to respond.
- What the “think in” methodology is.
- Characteristics of an inclusive work environment.
- How to evaluate the value system of a business.
- Why patience and truly wanting to understand are so important.
- How the events of this past year have influenced the work they do at Top Dog.
- How bringing in a different set of eyes can help with inclusivity.
- The types of presentations Steve provides on Zoom.
- Recommendations from Steve for solopreneurs.
- How COVID has changed the way of doing business in a fantastic way.
- A tool for uncovering your own unconscious biases.
- What the concept of “speak up” means.
- Why anybody has the potential to be a leader.
Connect with Steve:
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Connect with me on Instagram: @gloriagracerand
Order your copy of my new book, “Live. Love. Engage. – How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Start Being Yourself.”
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[00:00:02] I am Gloria Grace Rande, founder of the Love Method and author of the number one Amazon best seller, Live Love and Gauge How to Stop Doubting Yourself and start being yourself.
[00:00:15] In this podcast, we share practical advice from a spiritual perspective on how to live fully, love deeply and engage authentically so you can create a life and business with more impact, influence and income.
[00:00:33] Welcome to Live, Love, Engage.
[00:00:37] No, stay and welcome to Live, Love, Engage, I am Gloria Grace, Rand, and today we’re going to be talking about leadership and inclusion with our awesome guest, who is someone coming right here from my state of Florida. He’s actually just down the road from a little bit. His name is Dr. Steve Yacovelli.
[00:01:02] And so, first off, welcome to Live Love Engage, Dave. Thank you, Gloria. It’s great to be here. Well, I’m delighted to have you. I found out about you not too long ago and said, oh, this is this is a good guy. I want to get on the program. So let me tell you a little bit about why I thought he would make a good addition to our show. He is also known as the gay leadership dude, which I love that handle. And his owner and principal of Top Dog Learning Group, which is a learning and development leadership, change management and diversity and inclusion consulting firm based, as I said, here in Orlando, Florida, with affiliates across the globe. And he and his company have had the pleasure of working with a lot of amazing partners who they considered to be members of this pack, companies like Fortune.
[00:01:55] Five hundred greats like Walt Disney, Bayer Corporation, non for profits like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Library Association, universities like Ohio State and the University of Central Florida, and even small entrepreneurial rock stars like International Training and Development and Gov Mojo Inc. And they really enjoy helping their client partners to grow, develop, expand and be successful with their corporate learning, change management, diversity, inclusion and leadership consulting goodness. And with over twenty five years of experience, Steve is actually that rare breed of professional that understands the power of using academic theory and actually applying it in the corporate setting to achieve business results, which is awesome. And I understand you’re quite fond of dogs too, which kind of makes sense with the name of the company.
[00:02:55] So do you have dogs right now? I do. They are sequestered in the back bedroom. So in case the daily Amazon delivery shows up, we will hear them. Hopefully.
[00:03:06] I know the feeling. I have actually one right behind right next to me snuck in here and it’s like, well, now you’re in because the doors are up.
[00:03:14] But she’s usually pretty quiet unless the delivery truck comes by. But anyway, I know, ah, the mission of our program is really to be able to help people to what I say is to live fully, love deeply and engaging, engage authentically. And I know that that is something that I believe that leaders certainly need to be able to do. But I wondered if you know or believe that maybe because I’m not even sure. What do you think is like your what is sort of the secret of great leadership? Engagement is part of that or not. But.
[00:03:56] Well, and it’s a great question. And it’s funny. I’ve had a gentleman ask me when I first launch my latest book, Pride Leadership, last summer, that is past one, but the one pre covid, I guess I’d say. And this said, what’s the secret to leadership? I said, you know, there is one. Is it really like. Yes, there is. And if you if you take my three hundred sixty five page book, boil it down to one page with one word, the key secret to leadership is trust. So if I’m a good leader and I can foster trust within my team and team doesn’t have to be just direct reports. It can be those around me, my bosses, my clients, whomever that is. If you foster trust your goal. So I said one word on one page. That’s the secret to leadership.
[00:04:39] But please buy my book anyway, right? Exactly right. Because I’m sure there’s lots more gold in that. Well, actually, and since you brought it up, why don’t we why don’t we go there and tell me a little bit more about the book?
[00:04:51] Yeah. So like I said, it’s Tegui, my third book, my first with a real publisher, which is kind of exciting, a different process. But I’ve been involved in the leadership and diversity inclusion space pretty much my whole career. I like you said, I did it. Why was it Disney? I was at IBM for a while as internal people. Then I kind of went out on my own in twenty eight as a full time gig and I worked still work with some awesome clients. But you start to see leaders and a leadership pattern for those who are just like rocking and rolling and being awesome leaders and the ones who are crashing and burning and not doing so well. The little qualitative research nerd in me was kind of just observing and all the stuff. So gathering that data, if you will. And then I’m at a conference a couple of years ago and sorting business cards. For session, this woman’s next to be actually doing the same thing and she’s like, what do you do? And I said, well, you diversity change. But I said, how about you? She’s like, I’m a publisher. I’m like, you know what? There’s a book in my head that needs to come out. She’s like, let’s get that book out. And so I became my publisher and and it really just got me starting to think about putting these observations that I had over the course of my career down into place.
[00:05:59] And so I started kind of mapping that. And then, you know, not not long after that, I started looking at some of the leaders around me. I do a lot of work of advocacy work, volunteer work, especially for the LGBTQ community as well as others, just kind of helping foster equity and justice for the quote unquote, others in the world. And so I go through the lens because leadership is top of mind. I’m sort of watching these leaders do what it is they do and especially the successful ones. And then if you remember that TV show from from back when Sex in the City that you always sit down her computer and she’s like, I couldn’t help but wonder and actually kind of popped in my head. I couldn’t but wonder if as an LGBTQ person, you have an opportunity to exercise leadership differently or in a unique way than our straight brothers and sisters. For example, out of the 30 some competencies I wanted to play with, I whittled it down to six. And I’m just holding up my my mouse pad, which just happens that here it’s branded with my six competencies. So their authentic authenticity, courage, empathy, communication, relationships and culture. And so let’s talk about empathy for a second. If I’m an out gay man in the workplace when we could go to work, that’s leading very authentically in a different way.
[00:07:13] That may be my straight brothers and sisters are doing. So I’m not saying that gay leaders are better than others, but I write in Pride leadership that there’s an opportunity for queer people to maybe exercise those those leadership competencies that everybody really should be focusing their energy on. And that’s kind of the basis of my leadership. Allies love it to trust me. I have had that feedback a lot. So it’s not just for gays anymore, but it’s really went through like looking at these six competencies through that specific way.
[00:07:42] Yeah, I think that’s great. And and it really does make sense because because yeah.
[00:07:50] People who are who fall foul and one of those communities, they really have had challenges. I think in particular. I mean, just personal lives. I mean, it’s I mean we’ve seen it earlier this year with like the Black Lives Matter movement. And and so when you’ve got it sort of a couple of strikes against you, you’ve got to learn how to be able to maneuver in the business world or your personal life and to be able to find ways to have common ground, which is something that we need so much of in so many aspects of her life, frankly, not just the not just the business world as well, but as well.
[00:08:30] And which I guess maybe maybe you can speak on this is then how do I would think, you know, people who’ve gone through unique challenges, whatever it is, and this can even be people who have physical disabilities as well, things like that. How does one become how do you kind of come up with fostering, like resilience, especially when you’re having to deal with maybe people who don’t see eye to eye, do you, or who just have a different idea of, you know, just how how the world should work and you’re different?
[00:09:07] Yeah, and it’s it’s such a great question, especially now one of the things that I also say is a key to leadership that and it’s one of the skills that I don’t feel that people leverage it enough is is the concept of listening. But it’s not just to paraphrase Stephen Covey, great leadership guru, it’s listen to understand versus listen to respond and to far too often, especially in Western society and US society, we tend to just listen to give our two cents and instead let let’s let’s do that act of listening. And actually I talk about that in my communication chapter is how can you you kind of pull the thread of being empathetic through the action of being an effective and active listener. And so I think that’s one of the great ways that we can start to really see from that different perspective, especially if we’re not really in that frame of mind. And I also also acknowledge that one of the things that I really try to is my my soapbox, if you will, is is fostering leaders to be more consciously inclusive. And so it really does mean getting into my own head first, trying to reduce some of those those unconscious biases and maybe maybe over biases that I might have there really work on myself first. And I kind of talk about that is I think in methodology work on me first, and then I can start to what I call speak up on behalf of those around me and then really act out, meaning look at the broader organization. If we’re talking workplace or society in general, what are ways we can foster inclusiveness and belonging for everyone? And so. Ultimately does start within my own head.
[00:10:38] Yeah, absolutely. Now, have you seen some of the organizations that you work with? Have you found some to be more inclusive than others? And and of the ones that were, what were some of their characteristics? That really is probably some of the things you already mentioned. But what were some of that that made them unique?
[00:10:59] Yeah, when when I work with clients, they bring bring me my team in for a couple of reasons. Sometimes they just want to be more awesome, which is great. That’s kind of fun. Some of them are like we’re broken down, which self-awareness is the number one awesome step. So that’s good. But it’s it’s really the very, very first thing that we go and look at is the and we’ll just focus in on the workplace. It’s the workplace values. And and so you do a couple of different things with that most medium to big sized businesses have some sort of value system in place to have their vision, mission, all that good stuff. That’s great. But what’s so you look at that first and see whether the values a lot of times now, especially in the twenty first century, people are saying being inclusive, fostering a sense of belonging or something like that is is part of that core. Fantastic. So then you actually ask the question, are these really the ones that are lived in the day to day life? And some organizations, they’re like, yeah, this is how we operate. If you don’t operate with those values by you’re not really part of us. It’s that social contract. But others are saying, yeah, that’s really not what happens here, or it’s the global says this.
[00:12:05] But at our specific office here in X, Y, Z location, we really kind of ignore that. And so now you have the problem and the opportunity, as I’d like to say, is really the opportunity to start to rectify that. And that’s what we try to do. But it starts with looking at the values. Are they the truly values within the business? And then then you put it again to yourself. Are those values in line with something that you can be OK with as a human? We all have our own personal value system, whether we identify that or not. And so that’s kind of what’s also coming into play is is values. I obviously don’t want to talk politics, but that’s the conversation I’ve been having. This is not about political leanings or all that good stuff for me. What’s happening in our society overall and actually the world itself is these differing value systems that are coming into play. And I think that’s the common ground we can have that conversation on is or forget labels and colors and all that weird stuff as far as things. But let’s talk value system and what’s it what’s the alignment we have awesome. Let’s leverage that. And where are those differences? Where can we maybe find some of that common ground?
[00:13:07] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And if you and I were talking earlier before we got started with the recording, that I was having a discussion with my husband this morning that that got a little heated over over the politics.
[00:13:22] And and one of the things that I pointed out to him was that it’s just it’s so frustrating because it just seems like everybody’s so angry and they’ve just gotten so entrenched in their own beliefs. And if somebody doesn’t believe what I believe, then you’re just no good and you’re bad. And and instead of finding a way to be able to bring love back, it’s good because we are still all human beings. And and if we could find some way to really recognize that, yes, you are a human being, you think and feel that you know and you believe the same way I do, there should be still be some way to be able to.
[00:14:02] Come together somewhere on something.
[00:14:05] I was text coaching my niece this morning, actually, and they were very close and so she’s up in Pennsylvania. So there’s a very hot button kind of conversation. And and she’s like, I don’t know how to approach this certain person that I love who sees things differently than I do. And I said, you know what? Here’s here’s my leadership coaching advice you can apply to your world. Ask the question in the most neutral tone that you can have. How did you get to that perspective? And and then again, go back to the listing thing, then just stop and listen. I said they’re going to share how they got there. And if if they’re not giving you the stuff you use. Part of my background in counseling, psychology and like use the term gets interesting. Tell me more and then just sit back and she’s like, oh my gosh, this is so I think listeners can actually do that, too. Is you in a sincere way ask? OK, that’s not my perspective. How did you get there? And then listen and see where the conversation takes you.
[00:15:04] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Because I know afterwards I was like I did not handle that well and I was like, oh shoot. And I know I’ve had like that same conversation with my coach in the past to about and actually someone even that I was talking with last week, I think who I’m actually going to be interviewing, who also talks about.
[00:15:22] Yeah, that same that exact same thing is just tell me more, let the other person speak and just really be curious about where their perspective comes from, because you don’t know until you find out.
[00:15:37] And it’s I mean, hey, we’re human. It’s not easy sometimes. I totally admit. I mean, I’ve been doing this for twenty five years. I still have to check myself at the door of physician heal thyself, you know, so it’s not easy.
[00:15:47] But if we work at it sincerely together, that’s where the change in the commonality is going to happen. And and I’m just exercising that with my own family. And that’s OK. And and patients and truly wanting to understand is kind of the way to go. And that’s not just from what’s happening or that’s like a leadership success thing, too, is when you have this conflict within the workplace, ask the questions and then stop and listen and see, OK, how can I get there now through the workplace lens, it’s a little different because, well, ultimately, if the expectation on a value is being inclusive, then foster a sense of belonging. That’s the business expectation. And an employee or leader isn’t doing that. Well, ultimately, they either need to get in line or that’s what I worked at Disney. We always said there’s an area of opportunity to have a conversation with yourself and you can do that. And so when I work with these big fortunate five hundreds, I often have people come up to me and say, Steve, I don’t necessarily buy into some of our corporate values. I said, that’s that’s fine. That’s your value system. And I will never tell you what you should think. But you this is the expectation of you working here. That’s what a value is. It’s it’s how you’re supposed to do business. And if that’s not in line with who you are, then you’re not an indentured servant. You can find something else. But I love this job that now that’s a different conversation, isn’t it? So somebody has to change and it’s probably not going to be the fortune. One hundred company we’re having a chat about.
[00:17:13] Absolutely. And that actually leads me to my next question is I wanted to find out from you. So when you do work with a company, so are you concentrating on, like, advising, advising the leadership on ways then that they can I guess what’s the word? I’m looking forward to to, I guess, broadcast this this, you know, ways of being able to maybe change things up a little bit and ways that people down the line in in the rank and file can can espouse these different values or or is it sometimes do you actually actually work with like maybe departments as opposed to department heads?
[00:17:57] The answer is yes, OK, it really depends on the engagement. So some of our clients where we’re like the certified vendor for all leadership training in North America, so we may write that curriculum, we may just like get it handed to us and we kind of make it come to life. So that could be that part of it. Other things that we’ve been doing, especially in light of a Black Lives Matter and George Floyd and what’s happened since this summer and is is really helping organizations figure out what, OK, we know we know there’s problems. Steve, what can we do to to at least try to work toward the solution? And whether that’s we go in and look at marketing, where are they looking at recruiting? Or maybe it’s when I think about the thinking, speak up, act out. The act out part is, OK, look at the other. The rest of your organization, your power points that you’re doing that that the standard template. What are they representing visually when they have leadership image? Is it a middle aged white dude that’s not really super inclusive or your H.R. forms? Are they? Are they. Including non binary in the gender question, or is it just like male or female? And I don’t I actually I’m going to a new doctor. I turn 50 this week. So I’m like, I probably need to get, like, that whole check up thingy going on there. And so I met this new doctor and she’s fantastic.
[00:19:19] But they gave me these H.R. forms and they were I totally edited them. I read line them for them and and all the Endacott I went into to meet the doctor for the first time. I’m meeting her. She’s really, really cool. And my husband goes to her. So I kind of knew that she’s pretty cool.
[00:19:36] And and she’s just like, by the way, thanks for your free consulting. And she starts laughing and she’s like, I’m embarrassed. I pulled we just moved offices. These are the old forms that we didn’t mean to use. Thank you for sharing that. I said, well, that’s I said, but in all sincerity, that sent me a message potentially that especially as a gay man, I’m like, how inclusive are you? And she’s like you. We’re good. Obviously this is your husband. But that was a really good message for us to be aware of, that we just pulled the wrong form. And that may not send the message we really of who we really are. And so I think we can do that as leaders is look around us to say how are we fostering inclusiveness and a sense of belonging? That that is one of the things that we do with a lot of clients because we’re not inside their organization. We’re not part of their corporate culture. And so we come in with that different set of eyes. Also, the ones that are have a little bit more heightened sense of awareness to things that are maybe not being perceived as super inclusive, like the forum I just shared. And we kind of coach folks through that as well. So and I’ve also been doing a lot of virtual keynotes, which is kind of cool in the age of Zoom. Luckily, my doctor, it’s actually in instructional technology and distance education. So Zoome is my jam here. And so it’s a way to really make to bring and support that conversation in these weird and wonderful covid distances times.
[00:20:57] Well, that’s good. Yeah, absolutely. I what what types of who are you talking to and doing what types of presentations.
[00:21:07] So I have a series of several that I do once called being an inclusive leader. Based upon the work I do in my book and other things I’ve done, I focus on Collinses the top six conferences every leader should know and grow, which of course of the six in my book and I’m very careful to. It’s not framed toward the queer employee either. It’s actually meant for everybody. And that’s, that’s what I do love about the story and leadership. It’s not just a gay thing, it’s it’s every leader out there really should be more inclusive to be more successful. Back to that trust word again. So it’s talking to sometimes it’s just talking to entire Fortune 500 companies. And because of the age of Zoome, I can do a global thing. Some some several big pharma companies, several, I’ll just say local entertainment companies. But I can’t really say who. But we’re still, far as you can probably narrow it down pretty easily, looking at ways to have those conversations with specific departments, working with some employee resource groups, which are the the demographic focus on a lot of big fortune, five hundreds and also working with a lot of not for profit. I, I do I do work with several large, not for profit organizations. They too are trying to get their handle around being more inclusive. And so I’ve been kind of sharing that story with them as well.
[00:22:29] Have you found that there’s any any specific differences or not between like a nonprofit and a for profit company, especially in this area, the budget for programming?
[00:22:42] Maybe I’m very good about knocking my prices down, but no, there really isn’t for for nonprofits. Some of them are trying to see how they can support their constituents, just like a large for profit is looking about their employees. And so I think structurally they’re a little bit different. But I don’t think the story or the message is really any different. It’s how can we foster an organization, whatever that looks like, to be more consciously inclusive and embrace inclusiveness and a sense of belonging. And that’s that’s the typical story they’re all kind of levitating toward in a good way.
[00:23:19] Yeah. Now I, I know I think I deal with, at least primarily in my business, dealing with really smaller companies, more individual solar printers and things like that. So how would you what would you tell them? Because I’m sure even even as you’re a solid printer, you’re going to want to start growing your company, you’re going to wind up hiring people. So is there something that you can recommend to people as there maybe even just starting a business to start thinking about business?
[00:23:49] And then I’m going to just actually I’m going to let you talk and I’m going to go let my dog out because she’s someone that, you know, I sell for a quick second seller in the background kind of doing her things. Are you? I know you can hear me, so we’ll still go, so I guess there’ll be two pieces of advice I would give to anyone who’s kind of starting their business or really fostering it.
[00:24:11] The first is, even if you’re a solo partner, it is absolutely never too early to think about what corporate culture do you want to want to have? So I wouldn’t necessarily advocate writing down a vision mission values, although that’s a fantastic exercise to do. If you’ve not done that, identify your own personal values. And I actually in leadership, I have a book like Activia does that or you could just Google and find my own personal use.
[00:24:36] It’s not rocket science, but it’s never too early to start that process. And so that’s number one. And then number two, and this is more a business idea in the age of covid-19. It’s also never too early to covid proof your business. And so whatever you’re doing is what can you do that can be delivered through online effect?
[00:24:58] And this isn’t a shout out for my own business, but I had several people who are still opiners peers of mine. They kept coming up to me. They’re like, Steve, don’t you have a doctorate in this, like, e-learning thing? And like, that’s kind of my gym. They’re like, how do I turn my coaching business into something more distant? And I’m like, so I have a chat with them, give me some ideas. And I have the second one come in the door. I’m like, OK, I stop people, I will happily help you. But now I’m going to start to do group coaching around this because I mean, but gosh, I got lucky because I have my own online learning system. I have a learning management system. I do virtual stuff all the time. I’m I got lucky. I could quite quickly where I think now is the opportunity because of covid even when things happen and it isn’t a thing. What can you do as a as a business to really think about delivery channels in a different way, maybe for the next covid fine. But just as another way to look at sharing your story and educating and solving problems through distance, through going on site, through however those means possible.
[00:25:59] Yeah, absolutely.
[00:26:00] And because so many people, they will need to be able to or not do what they need, but they they it would be helpful to provide it in a different format so that people can’t access it because some people, even even before covid, they could maybe weren’t able to necessarily meet with you in person. So they would have to be able to find some way to do that. So, yeah, I think that’s that’s a really smart advice that you’re offering to them.
[00:26:28] And I think that’s to me, that’s again, I’m a I’m a glass half full kind of guy. I think that’s going to be the cool the cool thing on the other side of covid is that the ways we communicate, live and work are going to be very different in a fantastic way. And I was just talking with when my friends was at a big pharma company and and he said, we’re not even talking going back to the office until twenty, twenty two. And I said, how do you feel about that? He said, well you know, we were forced to engage and connect this way. And now it’s actually kind of better because I’m seeing like little zoom windows into people’s actual lives versus the artifacts that have in their cubicle. And then I’m able to to to really engage and talk to colleagues in London that I never really could before. And then like you and I think that’s the beautiful shift that will come out of this with is a different way for us to connect with people via just going and sitting and having a coffee. I miss that greatly. But you know what? We now have some other tools in our arsenal to really foster connectedness that maybe we weren’t thinking about before.
[00:27:32] Yeah, so, yeah, I totally agree and on all fronts, because I do miss seeing people in person and the opportunities that have arisen this year and being able to connect with folks from all over the world. I mean, I was able to do it before, but it just seems like it’s has has become easier and more accepted. And I think people do appreciate how how nice it is. And yeah, you’re right that it is going to be well, even though it’s it’s hurting the travel industry a bit and definitely with with airlines, with business travel. On the other hand, I know like, for instance, my husband used to complain about having to travel, sometimes for for work and and just being able to just connect with people I know.
[00:28:22] Yeah. Because his company is overseas in Sweden. And so he’d be like, you know, I don’t understand why we need to fly all the way over there and we can just connect my resume instead.
[00:28:31] And so now, of course, they’re doing that and they’ve realized the benefits of it.
[00:28:35] And in so many ways and and that’s again, going back to effective leadership. I mean, one of the core companies I talk about is building relationships. That doesn’t have to just be let’s have lunch or have a coffee or a cocktail after work. We got different ways to do that now. And I talk about that actually in the book, which was very prophetic, accidentally, you know, not to discount the use of technology and things like a LinkedIn. To connect with people, foster relationships, it still takes work, of course, but it doesn’t have to stop you or it’s really expanding your opportunity to foster that connectedness, to be a more effective leader and to foster and build that trust someone.
[00:29:15] And you can still have lunch in a way, and you can have and you can still have a happy hour. I mean, I know early on when this first lockdown happened, I had had friends who who had hosted Happy Hours. And just let me bring you glass of wine. And now we’re going to get dressed up and somewhere in our bedrooms or an office or we can still be together separately. And so that works out. Is there anything else that that you think is important that we should know about, maybe in particular about how that we haven’t covered already that could help someone be a more inclusive leader?
[00:29:56] Yeah, it’s a great question. So I keep going back to the phrasing. Think in, speak up, act out. So we talked about the act out, looking at your organization and thinking, of course, about yourself and you’re listening and you want to start to uncover your own potential unconscious biases. Google project implicit. It’s an actual assessment you can do online for free spots by Harvard and a couple other universities several years ago as a way to actually start to measure your potential unconscious bias. It’s really cool. That’s kind of the thinking. Really briefly, I’ll talk about the concept of speak up. And so when I first started kind of creating this idea and putting it in my book, I was thinking about a story that it’s actually a real life thing that happened to me in Atlanta several years ago. As myself in one of my top doggers is what I call my consultants. We were closing out a project. And so we were in this conference room in Atlanta. All the project team was there. We were just the two from from my business. And we’re just about to start. It basically was like we did the project management project, like we’re done. And just as the conversations about to start, the senior executive and it’s a male that’s important to the story, but he’s at the head of the table. And just as the sound dies down, you hear him say, well, you know how women drive and everyone just kind of stopped and looked.
[00:31:09] And I’m being a child of the eighties. It was like a John Hughes film or the record goes and stuff. And and so but but no one said a word at that specific moment. I’m about to say something, of course, because that’s kind of what I do. And Laurie kicks me under the table, my top daughter, and she’s like, wait. And I love that she did that. And I’ll tell you in a moment. But at that exact moment in time, every single one of us, which I consider anybody a leader, you don’t have to have formal reporting structure. It’s you have influence your leader. So every leader in that room was engaging in what’s called silent collusion with that senior executive who said that Pupi remark and the collusion is when you don’t stand up and refute those those nasty, negative stereotype, engaging statements. And what I’ve seen in my leadership world is the most heartfelt leaders who don’t who accidentally or on purpose engage in silent collusion, maybe the courage there’s politics involved, whatever whatever the reason, they undermine their own leadership effectiveness at that moment. Even if you’ve done so much awesomeness in the world by not disputing that that that horrible statement, you’re engaging in collusion and you’re eroding the trust that you’ve already built. So one of the things I talk about in my book is it’s six ways that you can refute demons inside of collusion, like when that guy says that’s stupid remark.
[00:32:29] You maybe you say things like, well, Bob, Bob will be the executive. Bob, what did you mean by that? And again, watching the tone I like Bob. What did you mean by that? But but by me asking that I’m sending two messages. One, I’m knocking Bob in the virtual head and maybe he’s operating from that unconscious bias and he’s like, oh, which is kind of happened here. But it’s also sending a message about me as a leader that, you know what, that’s not cool for me. I’m not going to just sit here and be silent. What happened in the the story is the reason Laurie stopped me was she’s like, I know you would say something, but we are leaving this corporate culture. I think it was important to see what they did. I’m like, you are a brilliant woman. Thank you. So that was one thing. There’s this gentleman sitting in the side of the room and he was fairly new to the project. I think he just graduated from business school and joined the company and he wasn’t sitting even at the table. He’s like in the chair against the wall. And the guy said, the remarkable women drive. And he dead silence felt for like twenty minutes. It was only a few moments. And then he just folded his hands and he went.
[00:33:36] And you knew what he was thinking, didn’t you? I mean, he is not on board with that comment. And that led the rest of you will be like, yeah. Bob, what did you mean by so some even just saying a non word just lets people know that you’re not on board. Maybe you have to physically remove yourself that that’s appropriate. I know that’s more in social settings. People like just move because of like, hey, I don’t really like the way this conversation going. So I call it my. Sam, Sam, those are the six ways that you can refuted in my trainings and in the book I use. Have you ever seen a Hungarian pull him up dog? Yeah. They look like if you stuck a stick on their back, you can mop your floor with them. So the one I use is named Sam. So Sam’s name and this breed mops Sam. And it’s really cheeky and silly and stupid. But people remember it. There’s a oh, there’s those six things, Steve. I remember those. And so I think it’s a kind of roundabout answer the question. A way to speak up as an inclusive leader is to make sure that you don’t engage in a collusion, that you find ways to refute those statements that’s comfortable for you so that people don’t assume that you’re on board with that in erode that trust that you’ve already built up.
[00:34:45] Yeah, that is wonderful advice because it is so frustrating I to be able to even just to watch that scenario come out. I can, because I can just feel, you know, if I were a fly on the wall watching it and just going, oh, really?
[00:35:06] And so it was cool that that one guy just at least me that made that comment to break the ice and to just kind of say hello and then also send a message to that gentleman’s behalf. He’s he’s an ally to the women in the room. And that’s that’s great. That’s fantastic as he should be. And so it doesn’t just have to be about a group against you. It could be really any group. And so people notice this. People take notes and they put that in their noggin and say, like, wow, you know, Gloria stood up when, say, smack about gay people. That’s cool. Thank you, Ally. And people remember that stuff. And that goes so far into fostering trust, especially when you’re not the targeted group. You’re that ally. Do that because it’s one it makes the world a better place. But two, it’s actually helping your own leadership street cred because you’re showing that you’ll support anybody and really fostering that that feeling of exclusivity for all.
[00:36:06] Well I definitely appreciate that and it’s something that I do strive to do, but I know I can always improve. And I think that’s also important to know too is that, you know, we’re still here and we’re going to screw up and but as long as you can apologize, there’s a concept, right.
[00:36:23] You do screw up and just say, you know, you’ll do better next time. And that’s all you can do. Really? Yeah. Great.
[00:36:31] Well, thank you so much. This has been a joy to have you here. And I really appreciate you sharing your wisdom. And and I love the mousepad because that’s really great to have all those handy. So awesome.
[00:36:46] So here, tell me again, there was that the how to be able to give the OK speech, Gloria, the Harvard University, the website, are to be able to do that test assessment.
[00:36:59] Yeah, I don’t know the off the top of my head you think I would after doing it for you if you Google put it up in the show notes, if you Google project implicit. So you hear you hear the concept of unconscious bias, implicit bias, hidden bias, they’re all the same thing. So they use the term implicit bias, a project implicit.
[00:37:19] I believe it’s still at Harvard, Edu, but I forget the beginning of it. All right.
[00:37:23] Well, like I said, I will definitely I’ll make a point of finding it and put it in the show notes, so make it easy. And so and which actually also brings me to if someone wants to find out more about your organization, maybe wants to hire you to come in and talk with them and their employees and their leadership, what’s the best place for people to reach out?
[00:37:42] Yeah, it’s reasonable. Top dog learning. Besides busy. If you accidentally put dotcom, it’ll redirect you where you need to go. But we just take bizim. Fifteen years ago we started a business, but that’s the best way to get a hold of us. You’ll be able to see you actually can even get on my calendar for fifty minutes if you really want, and then we’ll kind of direct you where you need to go. I used to put all podcast’s in articles and all sorts of stuff that I have out there as well as any free webinars that we do. You can also sign up for our mailing list that, you know, when all these freebies happen, my, my my focus is giving back to the world. Like, for example, I do a lot of work and we don’t talk about it here. But resilience in times of change. I know you’ve had that topic on before. That’s one of the things that I play in having pulling from my IBM consultant stuff. So I’ve been doing like three webinars for folks, if you like. Here’s the three things you can do to be resilient right now. And so we do stuff like that as a way to to foster a better world. So if you sign up for top dog learning that this and you’ll find that contact us kind of thing, set up our website, feel free to and we’d love to to see you and help make the world a little bit more inclusive for all.
[00:38:45] Awesome. I appreciate that. And again, I will have that in the show, Nancy, as well, just in case you’re listening somewhere and you’re in your car. So we’ll have that. But yeah, this has been great. And I really appreciate you being here today. And good luck with the. Keeping things inclusive and and spreading their pride, leadership.
[00:39:07] And thank you for what you do. Gloria, I think it’s so important to have this opportunity for positivity in the world. So thank you for for this.
[00:39:13] I think it’s also my pleasure. My pleasure. And so thank you out there who’s listening and are watching on YouTube. I appreciate you. And in closing, as usual. I encourage you to go out there and to live fully, love deeply and engage authentically.
[00:39:32] Did you know that a majority of entrepreneurs tend to discount the importance of their work and a good number feel their success is simply due to luck? I know from personal experience that self-doubt can keep you from having the kind of life and business you desire. That’s why I’ve created a free guide called Uniquely Knew how to move from self-doubt to self-love in four simple steps to claim your free guide.
[00:40:00] Go to live, love, engage dot gift. That’s live love. Engage dot gift