We built NOBL to help business leaders accelerate “meaningful” change. In light of the murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests, that word, “meaningful,” has been a focal point. Meaningful change that doesn’t advocate for the dismantling of systemic inequality and oppression isn’t, in fact, meaningful.
We know that as a leader, you may feel wholly unequipped in this moment. Your job description likely did not explicitly mention hastening needed societal changes. We genuinely feel for you and admit that we, too, your organizational design experts, are still grappling with what this means for us and how we serve you best. But as a leader, it’s your job (not those around you who are people of color) to sit in the discomfort, and ensure that ultimately, every member of your team feels safe and encouraged to do their best work.
We don’t have all the answers, so it’s critical to amplify those who have been developing these areas long before us. Candidly:
- This article was written with the intention of sharing resources that we at NOBL have found useful as we continue to bring the work of anti-racism and equity into our own organization. We’re not experts, not even close.
- Our team is majority white. While we’re committed to increasing diversity, it bears acknowledgment—our perspective on what resources are most useful is undoubtedly informed by our own experiences and bias. We invite feedback and hope to continue adding to this list.
- Transparently, this article was written with non-Black leaders in mind. More specifically, it’s been written for leaders who have explicitly and implicitly benefited from the systems of white supremacy that uphold and underpin our institutions and for those who, until recently, may not have considered the relationship between their race and their career.
Training and Teaching Companies
- Be Actively Anti-Racist: A Google Spreadsheet with resources for training, hiring, teaching, and more.
- Black-Owned DEI Companies: A Google Spreadsheet put together by Awaken for companies looking for Black-owned vendors.
- If you’re currently looking for training, evaluate the five questions to ask before holding a workshop including what you hope to accomplish, and whose needs you’re addressing.
Holding Difficult Conversations
- Understand that “Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot.” As Shenequa Golding writes, “I don’t know who decided that being professional was loosely defined as being divorced of total humanity, but whoever did they’ve aided, unintentionally maybe, in a unique form of suffocation.”
- If you’re not exactly sure how to address the issue and want to be a better ally, review What Not to Say to Your Black Colleagues Right Now. Hint: don’t make it about you.
- Why we need to have these discussions and how to talk about politics at work: Some guidelines for boosting psychological safety while addressing the issues—however uncomfortable that might be.
- Former Head of Inclusion & Diversity at BlackRock Jonathan McBride compiled suggestions for how to run a listening session with black and brown co-workers.
- Take immediate action with “active anti-racist corporate commitments” such as offering Black employees PTO or counseling to help care for themselves; make sure your managers are checking in 1:1 with Black employees; and messaging the company about how this is not an isolated issue.
- Whether you’re a leader or not, Hold Your Employer Accountable for Racial Justice with this template from Rachel Cargle (Patreon account)
- Look out for symptoms of race-based injustice in your workplace. In particular, remember that any existing D&I groups in your organization cannot be solely responsible for pushing the work forward—senior leaders from all areas of the organization must serve as role models for the desired behaviors.
- Keep in mind, though, that talk is cheap—make sure you’re backing up your words with actions, as co-CEO of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson discusses. For instance, set quantitative goals for hiring and promoting diverse candidates.
- See how top tech firms are addressing racial justice, as well as their respective diversity reports. How can your company speak up? Are you measuring your company’s impact?
- Review the running list of corporations donating to anti-racist efforts. How can your team contribute? Again, it’s important to back up sentiments with action.
If you know of any additional resources for creating a more equitable and anti-racist workplace, let us know.