Updated: Feb 27
Love is patient.
Love is kind…
It does not dishonor others.
Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. - 1 Corinthians 13
Of all the #RootCauseRacism blog series to date, “The Colors of Love: Demonstrating Respect for People” may be the series that best illustrates the movement’s purpose. The goal is to use continuous improvement to dismantle structural racism in education, health care, economics, and government, one small step at a time.
Continuous improvement and respect for people are the fundamental tenets of Lean.
Continuous improvement, or Kaizen, is about working toward ongoing continuous improvement. Kaizen comes from two Japanese words: “Kai” means change and “Zen” means for good. Kaizen means to change for good or better. Although change may be challenging and demanding, making small, daily incremental systematic improvements can lead to consistent, long-term sustainable results. Demonstrating respect for people makes every effort to understand others, builds mutual trust, and ensures that systems are instituted where people can be successful and thrive.
Successful Lean organizations realize practicing continuous improvement can only be successful when it is part of the business philosophy and management operating system. Continuous improvement is a way of doing business and is not limited to a one-time event or a periodic event. Kaizen and respect for people drive behaviors from how coffee is brewed in the breakroom to how teams collaborate to deliver a world-class product or service to their customers. Organizations and individuals who operate with a continuous improvement or kaizen mindset are always working toward progress for EVERYONE, EVERY DAY and EVERYWHERE. This leads me to the motivation and purpose of this blog series.
Historically, Black people and LGBTQ+ people have faced significant marginalization and oppression. However, due to their sexual orientation and race, LGBTQ+ people of color are at least twice as likely as their white LGBTQ+ counterparts to say they’ve been discriminated against in corporate settings, especially when applying for jobs.
Also, when interacting with law enforcement, LGBTQ+ people of color are six times more likely to say they have avoided calling the police (30%) due to concern for discrimination, compared to white LGBTQ+ people (5%).
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy
Questions often asked when working toward progress and changing for good are: “What problem are we trying to solve?” or “What improvement do we need to make?”
Since the surge in social unrest in 2020, I’ve been listening to stories of discrimination from loved ones and colleagues who are Black and members of the LGBTQ+ community. From facing discrimination within the workplace to bias in the educational and health care systems, their experiences are heartbreaking and painful to hear.
I’m most disappointed to learn Black LGBTQ+ people face ongoing bias and discrimination when performing “regular” everyday activities that most people take for granted. For example, one colleague shared with me her reason for refusing to attend work events where spouses are invited. She also refrains from having pictures of her significant other displayed in her work area. Sadly, she fears ostracization, as well as potentially losing out on advancement opportunities if her colleagues were to learn of her same-sex relationship.
I found myself getting emotional when this particular colleague told me that preparing for work each day is physically exhausting for her. Her exhaustion comes from having to code-switch to survive as a Black woman and member of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a problem!
I hope and pray that those who read the upcoming blogs, and attend the webinar, will be compelled to become a trusted Ally. Please accept this invitation from the #RootCauseRacism team to join us in this “brave space.” It’s an opportunity to learn ways to apply continuous improvement/kaizen and respect for people. Take this opportunity to self-reflect and learn to better support the LGBTQ+ community, especially our Black brothers and sisters.
The effort to become a better Ally can be accomplished through AWAKENING, AWARENESS and ACTION:
AWAKENING – realize how unconscious bias contributes to discrimination.
AWARENESS – be mindful of the systems, structures and policies that limit inclusion, block creativity, withhold opportunities, attempt to dehumanize and further marginalize Black people within the LGBTQ+ community.
ACTION – love is an emotion that expresses itself in action. In Lean, action is a countermeasure of on-going actions taken to offset or neutralize another action. In this series, we want to counteract exclusion with inclusion. We also hope understanding the five types of privilege will help Allies understand how to be a voice for the voiceless.
Please join us on this journey.
INVITATION TO BRAVE SPACE
You are invited to be yourself in this brave space:
Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space we seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We call each other to more truth and love
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be but
It will be our brave space together,
And we will work on it side by side.
The Colors of Love: Demonstrating Respect for People schedule, links and webinar recording:
8:00 am EST – “The Colors of Love - Biases” by Scott Bogan
12:00 noon EST – “How to Be a Better Ally” by Paul W. Critchley
8:00 am EST – “The Risky Business of Teaching” by Alexus Bertrand
12:00 noon EST – “Five Things Everybody Can Do Today to Make the World a Little Better" by Jeff Roussel
8:00 am EST – “Perilous Indifference” by Karla Parker
12:00 noon EST – “When All You Have Ever Known Is Privilege” by Patrick Farrell
8:00 am EST – “Don't Be So Certain” by Madison Mobley
12:00 noon EST – “Being an Ally as a Corporate Leader Started in High School and Requires Daily Action” by Amy Gowder
Connect with Deondra on:
Deondra Wardelle is a Senior-level Training and Development Executive. She has proven expertise in Strategic Growth Initiatives, Organizational and Leadership Development, and Lean Six Sigma Implementation. Deondra has a track record of success in being a catalyst for change and a driver of results, driven to improve processes and operations. She is an astute business strategist who is driven, engaging, collaborative and results-focused. An inspirational leader who serves as a strategic business partner, cultural change steward and operational expert. Effectively lead change management process strategies that facilitate organizational transformation and increase overall capabilities. Possesses an inclusive management style that encourages idea sharing and inspires exceptionalism in others. Proven ability to design and deliver a comprehensive range of learning solutions which produce measurable results.