Educational Equity Newsletter – October 22, 2020
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Addressing structures and systems causing harm in your organization
Last week, we gave you some recommendations on calling in your colleagues when they cause harm. This week, we’re talking about how to improve the systems and structures that perpetuate harm toward BIPOC staff and others at the margins of your organization.
Addressing systemic racism and harm in your organization—especially if you’re a BIPOC leader—is often harder and requires different skills and tools than calling in behaviors at the individual level. There are a few reasons for this:
- The current system is working for some (usually those with power). People resist changing the status quo when it will cause discomfort or loss of status or privilege.
- Changing the system often means acknowledging the harm it causes. It’s hard for leaders to own their harm.
- We may not feel capable of bringing the change. We may deeply want to change our organizations, but be completely at a loss for what to do or where to start.
- Sometimes we must go slow to go fast. We’re often holding the tension of wanting to lean into leaders’ pressure-driven energy to change, our own desire to mitigate or prevent harm now, and the knowledge that more meaningful change to systems and leadership practices takes time.
If you’re working against these pressures in order to help your organization become more equitable and antiracist, here is one way to start:
1. Get clear on the pain points, and the harm they’re causing.
Synthesize what you’ve already heard from BIPOC staff and others at the margins (from exit interviews, survey results, feedback to HR, and elsewhere) into a simple read-out of key issues and the harm being caused.
|The Problem||Who’s Most Impacted||Harm Being Caused|
|Leaders dismiss or undervalue the concerns of coordinators and associates on workload and unrealistic deadlines.||Coordinators and associates, most of whom are BIPOC||The most junior members of our team, most of whom identify as BIPOC staff, are working 50+ hours a week to stay afloat and are more likely to be terminated for poor performance or to leave our org than other roles.2. Get input.|
2. Get input.
Share your findings with leaders to get their input and build energy for change. Supplement their input with feedback from your team, to ensure you’re targeting the right issues first. Here’s a sample agenda you can use for these meetings.
3. Come to a shared picture of success in these areas.
For the top three areas your team identifies, use small group conversations centering the experience of BIPOC staff and others at the margins to get a shared picture of what success looks like. Use the destination postcard or another similar tool to come to agreement on what future you’re working for in that area. Here’s one question rooted in Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) philosophy that we love: “What does this look like seven generations from now?”
4. Work with your team to co-develop a plan to address these issues.
Use the FAIR process input-gathering method to co-develop a plan to address these issues that the Executive Team will ultimately be accountable to implement. Wherever possible, center the voices of BIPOC staff and others on the margins in your input-gathering. Assign a realistic but ambitious timeline for the work, and get started.
5. Set periodic check-points (at least monthly) to report out on progress, get input, and debrief on progress.
Create a cadence of accountability, share it, and circulate updates from these meetings to build momentum and trust in the work and ensure your top 3 areas get addressed in the timeline you promise. From there, repeat the process with the next challenges identified.
Upcoming Working Session
How to Call In Racist or Inequitable Behavior at Work
Thursday, November 5 at 4pm ET
This training will be a working session with a focus on application and practice of tools from our October newsletters. Register here.
Just released: more training dates!
Give yourself something to look forward to in 2021 by signing up for some TMC goodness! Whether you’re looking for a training on project management, support with managing remotely during the pandemic, or an overview of the basics of people managing, we have something for you. Check out our newly released training dates for the first half of 2021.
Managing for Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Results
To meet popular demand, we’ve added one more MREIR training to our 2020 lineup! Don’t miss out.
This training is for people who’ve been through our Management Crash Course in the last few years, recognize that bias and privilege play out in the workplace, and are motivated to advance equitable outcomes within and outside of their organizations. Throughout this course, participants build on past trainings and learn key levers for managing with an equity and inclusion lens. We cover incorporating racial equity into your goals, creating and aligning with more inclusive expectations, mitigating bias in hiring and evaluation, and effectively giving and receiving feedback with a lens on power.
- Thursday, December 17 (10:00 AM-4:00 PM ET)
- Friday, December 18 (10:00 AM-4:00 PM ET)
People of Color & Indigenous Cohorts
Managers and staff who are people of color and/or indigenous often face unique issues within their organizations while navigating the intersections of race, class, gender, and other identities. These cohorts create space to discuss and offer support around the challenges of being folks of color in progressive and social justice organizations, and to share practices that can help folks of color thrive. We still have space in one more cohort this year:
- Wednesday, December 9th (11:00-5:00 PM ET)
- Thursday, December 10th (11:00-5:00 PM ET)
We also have TMC scholarships for our POCI Cohorts available upon request that can partially or fully cover the cost of the training if needed. You can request a scholarship by emailing our POCI Cohort Coordinator, Ebony, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need more support?
Email us at email@example.com to ask about our coaching and training services for leaders in the education sector. We look forward to hearing from you!