Hello. My name is Sida and I am an Asian American… sorry – that’s my introduction for a different kind of AA meeting. I have come to realize how powerful the self-identification statement can be. That’s a story for another time.
For this session, when I found out my session proposal was accepted, I was of course, excited. But after the initial high of acceptance wore off, I began to get scared. What qualifies me to be in front of people working to deconstruct racism and talk about creating teams and selecting partners?
This is how I felt.
Anyone ever feel this way – like you are in over your head and heading fast for a giant, inevitable, no-good end?
Ever notice how similar falling and failing are as words?
This is actually a picture of me, and spoiler alert – the main character lives.
Putting things into context helps.
Has anyone here been skydiving? - What made you decide to go? Weren’t you afraid?
Getting ready to go – there’s a 20 page waiver that you have to read, initial every statement waiving your right to sue anyone from the guy strapped to you, the skydiving company, the airplane pilot, parachute folder, and harness fastener manufacturer for everything from improper use to gross negligence. Now if falling out of an airplane wasn’t enough… this paperwork process was sure to scare you if not kill you.
Once I had decided to do this, and understanding there was this whole system behind my one decision - my part- my fear changed.
Honestly my biggest fear was of me throwing up on my instructor or passing out as soon as I jumped out of the plane.
All the other things: the parachute, the pilot, the plane, were things that I couldn’t control. So I let go of it. What I hoped I could control was my own bodily functions, Once I understood my own role in the system, I was able to accept and enjoy the experience.
That’s how I want us to think about racism and systemic racism in particular. What is it that you can control, where is it that you can create equity? I think creating teams and picking partners is one way we overcome systemic racism by reconstructing who and how we work.
It is a system – multiple systems – and we have a role, or multiple roles – but we do have a role, a power, and we have to accept it in order to do what might otherwise seem like the outrageous, radical act of overcoming racism.
So this is why picking partners and forming teams is so important.
Could you read this first definition?
Can you read us the second one?
Basically the same right – the difference is scale.
Now after that hard thinking process, here’s a refreshing glass of water.
Your team is the glass. What you’ve written down is half. – it is your values that hopefully plays out in your actions. Is it half full or half empty?
The half full/half empty question is a metaphor for perspective; and yes, I agree that a person’s outlook on life influence’s their life.
By itself, the glass can be accurately described as either. Both are true. Yes, we need to be able to hold “multiple truths”.
But I challenge you to think about what the real difference is - like I said before, context helps. What you believe- as well as what you do.
Hearts and minds PLUS behaviors and actions. One of the things we heard this morning was that values are not enough. If we don’t act on those values, it doesn’t change anything.
I have a science background and I appreciate the definitive truth – the objective reality. But like any model or paradigm, the glass has its limits. I mean, where is the observer in this situation. Whose glass is it?
It matters whether you are drinking from this glass or filling it. If your job is to keep the glass full, you better keep yourself aware of the drinkers’ pace. You must be focused on the process of filling it.
But as a drinker, your intended outcome is to probably to finish the drink.
Now, we’re in a session on picking teams. Do we know what the four stages of team development or team dynamics are?
Of these four stages, which one would you least like to be in?
Generally most people dislike or try to make it through the Storming stage as quickly as possible. Why? Tension, uncertainty, discomfort, a lot of possibilities and not always a whole lot of clarity. The team and its members are figuring things out. There’s the fear that you won’t be able to figure it out – and failure is one of those possibilities at this stage.
Negative bias: We have a stronger incentive to avoid negative experiences than we have to create positive one. That’s called negative bias – the one bad apple that ruins the batch. The negative factors have a stronger influence on us than positive factors.
Hesitation of do you go with what you know or take a leap of faith. Open yourself to vulnerability or plow through and let the chips fall where they may? Trust vs competence.
Which would you like Most to be in? Most people like to be in the Performing stage – of course, they want to be achieving their goals and operating at their best.
Law of reflection- “I see of bit of myself in them” People you like, are mirroring the parts of you that you like and respect. (reinforces existing values, ideas, systems)- the X-factor
Teams that are more similar or united, tend to move through the storming stage more quickly to norming and performing. That creates efficiency, but it is in the storming stage (the challenge) where ideas and processes are tested through adversity, diversity, and opportunity.
fear of failure, of conflict, isolation, dissolution
Create a fraction – how many words from your i-list and your team ID are the same? 1, 2, 3 or 4 out of four words?
If you had 1 or 2 matching words between yourself and your team descriptions, move to the low-matching side of the room. These folks generally seek team mates who are not too much like themselves.
If you had 3 or 4 matching words, move to the other side of the room. These folks are seeking teams and team mates with similar attributes.
The people you chose to surround yourself with validate your sense of who you are, and can push you to be who you want to be – your ideal self.
A person’s income is often near the median of the people they spend the most time with.
We are most proud of ourselves when we overcome challenges, not when we avoid them.
We have to really believe that challenges and opportunities are indeed the same thing – and what is different is us, our perspective. Are we moving toward something or away from something?
Language – labels reinforce internal merit system. Even seemingly neutral or nuanced label create a box, and people and ideas are place in or out, or on a continuum of similarity/dissimilarity.
Which do you prefer?
We are often asked to evaluate a choice based on its own merit. Without a specific comparison for contrast, we are often left to our own assumptions and default preferences.
WHEN is the difference important? Which do you prefer?
When we have a contrast for comparison, and we acknowledge the nuance (whether or not we consciously find it meaningful), we form a distinguisher – a differentiation.
WHO is the label for?
What difference does the label ma Labels often have a specific use, they are a short-hand for preferences, to distinguish one from another – giving them merit, polarizing even similar things.
but they are often used beyond their initial intent. This is how bias is created. ke in your selection/preference?
Research shows that even when we are aware of our biases, we can and do behave to reinforce them – UNLESS we make a conscious effort to curb our biases. Re-label based on specific circumstances.
Every wonder why the onceler made the decisions he did even after being warned by the lorax?
The decisions we make in this moment are based in either love or fear. So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seem impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it.
If we don’t believe it is possible, it won’t be. You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
*Form a 4-person group.
*Why are these characteristics of your team are
*How did you chose among words or what
distinctions helped to narrow your list?
*Each person should talk, uninterrupted, until
the door bell rings.
*No questions or comments on other people’s
words or reasons.
*Pull out your i-List of 4 words
you bring to the team.
*Compare to your circled 4 core words that
best describe your team overall.
*Generally are you looking for balance/diversity
or alignment/similarities from team mates?
*What implications does this have whether you
are more process or outcomes oriented?
*Discuss Strengths and Challenges of your
approach to choosing teams.
*Tell me about the picture.
*What did you see?
*How do you feel about the person in this
*What stands out to you?
* Implicit Association Test
* Color Blind or Color Brave?
* You’re more biased than you think- even when you know
* The Power Of Vulnerability