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When I co-founded White Men As Full Diversity Partners (WMFDP), Bill Proudman and I set out to develop methodology for bringing about cultural change by including white male leadership in the experiential learning process. Now, I’ve chronicled highlights of that journey in my book, Four Days to Change.
What constitutes the clear majority of corporate leadership in America? White, male and straight. No surprise, but what may surprise you is how much change is possible on a personal and professional level when we get people in a room for four days and proactively and systematically run them through the proverbial wringer on such topics as Unconscious Bias, Getting the World That Women Live In, Exploring Male Privilege, Objectifying Women, The 12 Radical Habits (New Mindsets), and The Eight Critical Leadership Skills. (Chapter titles from Four Days To Change)
I cannot overstate the importance of that last one. Why? Because nothing speaks louder in the corporate world than skill and competence. More specifically, “corporate” is looking at the bottom line, productivity, and who makes things happen.
In our learning labs, I’ve learned that women want to be recognized for what they can do, for their drive, for their compassion and dedication to growth and accomplishment. Women are also prone to recognize the intimate correlation between compassion and productivity.
There are Eight Critical Leadership Skills as borne out of our experiences with Fortune 500 leadership:
- Integrating Head and Heart
- Balancing Key Paradoxes
- Leveraging Ambiguity and Turbulence
- Managing Difficult Conversations
- Seeing and Thinking Systematically
- Being an Agent of Change
When we engage leaders, we take up all these points in detail. They are given a safe space in which to honestly rate themselves against these invaluable skills – and more importantly, they step forward as partners to effectuate multi-faceted change.
The work is never done, but high-caliber women from all walks of life will continue to rise to the occasion and bring about tangible shifts in mindsets and corporate culture – with the inevitable ripple effect into society at large, a paradigm shift.
That is why I keep going.
Michael Welp, PhD, is co-founder of White Men As Full Diversity Partners and author of Four Days to Change. To order your copy of Four Day to Change, click here or to preview a free chapter click here.