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They Know You’re Listening When…

Since March 2020, I have had hundreds of managers ask me the same question, "How can I nurture a genuine connection with my team in a virtual environment?" Even if some people are physically coming to work, in many cases entire teams are not. Or at least they aren’t all in the same space, at the same time, like during pre-Covid times. 

My answer: You nurture a connection with a lot of intentional choices. Intention is about where you put your attention. Think about it, people are logging on from their homes. In the background, (your background and their immediate surroundings) are pets, children, contractors, laundry to be folded, plants to be watered, leftovers in the fridge. The distractions are endless. Nurturing a cohesive and engaged team, which is absolutely the role of managers, is more challenging than ever. 

Your intentional practice begins with paying attention to how you are showing up. Are you intentionally setting aside other work, like open documents or...

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To Self Advocate or Not? That is the Question...

In our coaching sessions, I often hear people say,

“I don’t need an ally, I need an advocate.” 

I totally get it. They’re over, as many of us are, having people identify as quiet supporters. You know what I mean, people who genuinely care about us, or care about the same issues that we do, and offer to take us to coffee or reach out with a phone call when they think we could use a hand. In my experience, those kinds of gestures are often, as my daddy says, “a day late and a dollar short.”

Those expressions of care appear to be, at least, more about the person than about me, or you. If the interest was really in actively being a supporter of another person, the act wouldn’t be so hidden, so out of sight, or happen outside of the context in which we really could use it. 


Actively being an ally and advocate is something important to grasp intellectually, but like so many things related to inclusive management and equity, diversity and...

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Luck My Ass: To Flourish is a Choice

My sisters, Monya (left) and Melanie (right) with Angie and me. 

One of my favorite people on the planet is my adopted Godmother, Angie. I met her in 2011 through what I still consider to be Divine Intervention. She would say, always the pragmatist, that we just know the same people. 

Now 82 years old, she has opened up my mind to all that a woman can be, can do. She is an incredibly hands-on and loving (and loved in return) mother, grandmother, great grandmother. She has a brilliant, long-term, and loving marriage. Without needing it at the time, she pursued the highest degree in her field from Northwestern University, then went on, more than 40 years ago and with four young children, to launch a successful business. To this day her long-term clients will not let her retire; she’s the best of the best at what she does. She has a circle of friends that is bar-none and she lights up a room with positive energy every time she dawns a doorway. In addition, she’s...

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October Message From DeEtta

At the end of this week, I celebrate my 50th birthday...It's hard to believe. With this milestone birthday I've been doing all of the stereotypical things people do: doubled-down on my healthy food and exercise routines, made commitments about downsizing and de-prioritizing things that aren't a reflection of my most deeply held values, planned celebratory time with my closest friends and family. 
 
Perhaps more than anything, though, I've been thinking about my life's work. I've always been obsessed with fairness and inclusion. As a college student, I led and participated in countless marches and demonstrations. In my early 20's, I was appointed as Director of Human Rights, placing me in a visible and active leadership role in my community. I spent my early career traveling the world delivering speeches and workshops, always nervous about failing but investing in so much preparation that failure was never an option. 
 
In my mid-30's, I ventured out and launched...
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What does it mean to be a Next Generation Leader?

What does it mean to be a Next Generation Leader? 

Are you a new manager with ambition to help shape your organization's values-driven culture?

A seasoned practitioner who actively mentors colleagues who are earlier in their careers?

Are you a person who is passionate about authenticity and making space for new ideas and voices within the workplace?

Next Generation Leadership is far more than a slogan. Next Generation Leadership is the foundation to our vision as an organization. It's the vision we teach from. It is the framework, with seven distinctive characteristics, on which we have built our competencies we use to develop our programming and content. 

Next Generation Leadership is our  guidepost-directing the way for us and our clients to strive toward. As we enter the last leg of the year, a year with so much growth and change, we at DJA have begun to revisit our original vision framework and are excited to invite you along as we dive deep and explore...

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Managers: The Bar Has Been Raised

“I care about being a good manager. But I’m just too busy with my real job to deal with everyone’s needs.” 

If that sentence resonates with you, I have bad news…

The bar for what is expected of managers in 2021 and going forward has officially been raised.  In previous years we lauded “leaders”; developing acceleration and visibility-enhancing programs for people who already held positional authority. Management was viewed as less glamorous. Nowand thankfully soeffective and inclusive managerial practices and expectations are being centered. Now, likely more than ever, managers of people are being spotlighted for the unique and incredibly important role you play in so many aspects of your organization’s systems and practices. YOU are the glue, the enabler, the doer, and the first and most consistent point of contact for almost every aspect of your organization. 

Take just one of the many roles that...

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We’re All On a Journey...Where Are You Going?

I talk to clients every day about how we can help them with their journey.

By journey I mean the path that we are all traveling as we invest in the daily practice of learning, growing, managing, and leading ourselves and others. Ideally, this path is intentional--we are consciously identifying topics around which we want and need to gain greater clarity, a more robust foundation of knowledge, or take our skills to the next level of proficiency.

I’m often asked about how one should approach their own developmental journey--should it be a serendipitous series of experiences or structured and applied by an outside force, like one’s employer? Though I am a huge fan of serendipity, it won’t lead to the equitable outcomes many of us hope for ourselves and our employees.

For example, I recently spoke with an executive, Tim, who loves to describe himself as a “collector of experiences.” His career path has been formed by “taps on the shoulder”...

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DJA Team Highlights: Dr. Cori Wong

Each month we will be highlighting some of the truly remarkable consultants and folks behind the scenes at DJA. Our consulting team & faculty represent a variety of cultural and professional backgrounds and brings deep U.S. domestic and global experience. Our professional backgrounds include marketing, technology, human resources, diversity and inclusion, organizational development and instructional design, and truly so much more.  It is with pride, admiration, and above all gratitude we showcase the incredibly knowledgable and passionate individuals we get to call colleagues.
 
Dr. Cori Wong is a speaker, writer, educator, and consultant with 15 years of training and leadership experience related to intersectional feminism, anti-racism, social justice, and inclusive culture change. At the heart of it all, she's an existentialist feminist philospher who believes in the power of changing ourselves as we change the world - and that the process can be...
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NFL: A Case Study in Institutionalized Racism

I am an incredibly low-key NFL spouse. I rarely even talk about my relationship with Richard Dent. I actively avoid using my relationship with him to leverage my own career or identity. However, I’m compelled to speak out about what’s happening to him and so many others who played in the NFL. 

I am absolutely appalled by:

1) the treatment of their retired players–their “legends” 
2) the lack of responsibility for LEADING on the issue of calling out and ending institutionalized racism
3) their lack of accountability for their own deeply racist practices and 
4) their treatment of Black players  (Note: I could actually keep going with this list...) 

I am officially fed up and I am stepping into the arena with my sisters.
Sitting quietly in the corner is not where you’ll find me.

The lawsuit I’m referring to is a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and Richard is one of the lead defendants. The NFL’s actions in this...

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Frequently Asked Questions - and DeEtta's Answers - About Bias

Artwork by Olivia Kang for Outsmarting Human Minds. Learn the science of implicit bias at outsmartinghumanminds.org

I am frequently asked questions about bias. Broad questions such as, “what is it?” and “how does it work?” to more specific asks such as, “how does it impact relationships with different people, groups, and in the workplace?” These are exactly the kind of topics and substantive discussions that regularly take place in the DJA course, “Reducing the Negative Impact of Bias.” I want to share some of these questions and answers more broadly. Hopefully, this will generate conversations that will help you along your own journey of personal growth.

All humans have bias. Whether it's positive or negative, conscious or unconscious, bias shows up every day in our thoughts, behaviors, and processes.

Bias is also a key topic related to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) because of the implications it has on so many aspects...

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