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RIP RBG: Women Belong in All Places Where Decisions are being Made

So much has happened over the course of my one-month hiatus…2020. Well, what can I say? There continues to be no shortage of surprises or superlatives to attach to this year. 

There is a fairly eclectic range of material this week for your reading and listening enjoyment. Of note, the Harvard Business Review article, What Has — and Hasn’t — Changed Since “Dear White Boss…,” describes what has (but mostly has not) changed since the original publication 18 years ago. This thoughtful and thought-provoking update is an informative and sobering reminder of how much more still has to be done to workplace diversity, inclusivity and bias. Equally sobering and no less troubling is the Wall Street Journal piece analyzing a recent study jointly conducted by McKinsey and Lean In that details the deleterious effects the coronavirus is having (and most likely will continue to have) on women’s careers. 

In the less heavy department, Dorie Clark provides pragmatic and actionable counsel for networking when you don’t have a natural or obvious “in.” Scott Cowen offers his perspective on what constitutes great organizational mavericks, including what makes them successful and how they take their organizations to the next level. I am also super fond of McSweeney’s update of Frog and Toad navigating the pandemic in the Arts, Music and Culture Corner 🙂

The poem When Great Trees Falls by Maya Angelou is dedicated to the late, great and notorious RBG. The poem says it all.

As always, happy reading and listening! Please stay safe and look out for your families and your community.


What Has — and Hasn’t — Changed Since “Dear White Boss…” “Confronting the inextricably linked issues of workplace diversity, inclusivity, and bias — wherever your business may be right now — takes strong, diverse leadership and commitment. As leaders, facing your own biases, understanding how you are influencing the system, and understanding the criticality and impact of your actions is crucial if change is going to occur. To achieve this goal, leaders have to be unflinchingly honest and personally and professionally courageous.”

How to Promote Racial Equity in the Workplace. “Intractable as it seems, the problem of racism in the workplace can be effectively addressed with the right information, incentives, and investment. Corporate leaders may not be able to change the world, but they can certainly change their world. Organizations are relatively small, autonomous entities that afford leaders a high level of control over cultural norms and procedural rules, making them ideal places to develop policies and practices that promote racial equity. In this article, I’ll offer a practical road map for making profound and sustainable progress toward that goal.”

How the Coronavirus Crisis Threatens to Set Back Women’s Careers. “A comprehensive new study by McKinsey and Lean In suggests that many women—especially mothers—may have to step back or away from jobs because of the pandemic’s impact on their lives.”

Why Self-Awareness Isn’t Doing More to Help Women’s Careers. “Women leaders can often benefit from an extra dose of self-reliance, especially when others can’t yet see what we’re capable of. So if, for example, you receive negative feedback from your boss on something you think you could excel at, don’t give up right away — think about what it would take to show them otherwise. As Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor once said, ‘In every position that I’ve been in, there have been naysayers who don’t believe…I can do the work. And I feel a special responsibility to prove them wrong.’ Indeed, it never hurts for us to do just that.”

How to Make the Right Connections When You Don’t Already Have an “In.” “Perhaps you’re new to your field, or you’ve changed locations – but regardless of the reason, the problem is the same: if you’re starting with the wrong connections, how can you hope to work your way into the right ones?…Here are four strategies to consider.”

How to Be an Effective Organizational Maverick. “Capable of putting their feelings of personal defeat aside, they [mavericks] brush themselves off and continue to roam freely in search of better solutions. Perhaps most tellingly, great mavericks never lose their passion for making their ideas heard and, because of that passion, are invaluable in any organizational setting.”

This is the most in-demand skill on job listings right now. “While demand for candidates with strong communication skills was once specific to industries and roles that were public- or customer-facing—such as corporate communications or sales—there is now a growing recognition of the importance of communication skills in almost any corporate setting.”

TED Talks/Podcasts

Women at Work: Introducing Season 6. “Women at Work returns October 5 with candid conversations and practical advice that’ll help get you through the messiness of 2020.”

The Bregman Leadership Podcast: Marcus Buckingham – Nine Lies About Work. “How can you really improve your productivity or leadership? According to Marcus Buckingham – former Senior Researcher at Gallup and author of Nine Lies About Work – it’s not about work-life balance, failing fast, or seeking feedback. Messaging like this can stamp out people’s uniqueness in favor of uniformity. In this special episode, discover why people need attention not feedback, why you need to focus on your strengths vs. improving or fixing your failings, and why you should focus on followership, not leadership.”

Blog Posts 

Rich Litvin: What are you optimizing for? “When you know what you are optimizing for, life becomes simple. Every other goal becomes secondary and you focus only on what matters most to you.”

Brené Brown: Pressing On with Purpose. “I am here for my purpose. I’m not here to make people comfortable or to be liked. My purpose is to know and experience love. This means excavating the unsaid. In the world and in me.”

Derek Sivers: Where to find the hours to make it happen. “It takes many hours to make what you want to makeThe hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort. Whatever you were doing before was comfortable. This is not. This will be really uncomfortable.”

Arts, Music & Culture Corner

McSweeney’s: “Frog and Toad Tentatively Go Outside After Months in Self-Quarantine.”

Enya Is Everywhere. “How the unlikely star became a phenomenon hidden in pop-cultural plain sight, influencing a generation of groundbreaking artists.”

‘Boring and awkward’: students voice concern as colleges plan to reopen – through Minecraft. “Students express mixed feelings over plan to virtually re-create school via world-building video game.”


“When Great Trees Fall”
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold 


And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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