There has been a consistent concern being raised in the conversations I have been having with my coaching clients and colleagues this week. Now that the week long movement to amplify melanated voices online is coming to an end, there is a fear that people will lose their focus.
That all of the positive changes that have finally started to happen in this country will start to diminish and that people will go back to "business as usual" (whatever that even means anymore).
But what if all the momentum and movement this past week is just the beginning and 1 week becomes 2 weeks? 1 month? 1 year? 1 decade? 1 century? What if we never go back to the way things were before and as a country we continue to get better?
What if we could actually end systemic racism and injustice and create a country where black people and have the same rights, opportunities, and sense of safety as white people?
That won't happen if we go back to business as usual. As a business owner and ally, you have the ability, and I would say responsibility, to keep the focus on the important changes that this country needs to make.
So that leads to question how we can make sure that the changes we choose to make personally and in our business stick.
One of the things I regularly work with businesses on is creating lasting change in their business, and the same strategies can be applied here.
Here are 5 of the strategies I coach businesses on when they want to make lasting change:
The first step in any lasting change it to truly COMMIT to it and make it non-negotiable.
Because here's the thing - doing new things is hard. Having tough conversations and calling people out on their racism is wicked uncomfortable. If you give yourself an out, you'll take it. You may think you won't, but studies in human behavior say differently.
So you have to make it 100% non-negotiable. There is no out. One of the best ways to do that is to make it visible once you've committed to it.
It starts with holding yourself accountable, but it needs to go further. Ensure the people you choose to work with share the same values and guiding principles that you set for yourself and your company. From your business coach to the companies you outsource work to or buy products from, to the customers you choose to work with.
Don't be afraid to ask questions about their business and their values before choosing to work with them.
Pro Tip: Pay more attention to what they are DOING than what they are SAYING. It may be an overused saying, but 'actions speak louder than words' is very true.
This also extends to your employees, whether full time, hourly, or freelance. The beautiful thing about being a business owner is that you get to CHOOSE what and who you invest in. This includes who you hire which in my opinion is one of the most important decisions you can make when you are growing and scaling your business.
Update your brand values, guiding principles, hiring processes, employee expectations, etc to support diversity and inclusion and demand anti-racism. Decide what is right for your business and communicate it clearly and often to your team.
If you have any sort of formal review process with your employees, make sure the behaviors you expect to see are part of their performance measures. But please don't do what so many corporations do and wait for an annual review cycle to point out everything someone missed or did wrong. Have frequent and timely discussions to ensure everyone's behavior meets expectations and they have the opportunity to learn and grow in real time.
If you don't create protected space for things, they stop happening. Dedicate the time.
One of the things I coach business owners and leaders on is building sustainable success and getting off the hustle hamster wheel by getting really clear on what's important to them, both personally and in business, and creating protected space for each category. Make this one of your categories! Or incorporate it into one of your existing categories.
For example, one of my categories is self-development. I have increased the amount of time I dedicate to self-development each week to create protected space to keep educating myself, keep learning what I can do to make the biggest impact and be a better ally. But it goes beyond learning, so I have also carved out dedicated space for taking action.
It's not about perfection, it's about making small continuous improvements. Always be learning, always be improving. Every day try to be 1% better than the day prior.
Build in a practice to MEASURE your actions to ensure they are having the desired outcomes and adjust accordingly. Because what is working today will evolve and something different may be needed tomorrow.
I'd love to hear what changes you are putting in place in your business. XX
Known as the "Business Optimizer", Crista has the ability to quickly cut through the noise and focus on optimizing the core things that will make the biggest impact RIGHT NOW to grow and scale your business. As a lean business consultant, she specializes in helping businesses gain clarity and focus through strategy, planning, and lean practices. She is the creator of the Lean Out Method and the 90-Day Lean Out Planner, and is also the founder of the global accessories brand Criscara Jewelry.
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