Newsletter: Making Change Stick
We’re approaching the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder, which prompted key questions we continue to get from clients and that we continue to ask ourselves: where do we go from here, and how do we sustain the commitments made over the last few years?
Today, we’re (re)sharing some answers to these questions that we still find helpful, and that we hope you do too:
The best answers I have seen to these big questions reflect Maya Angelou’s long-standing call to action: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” That simple idea has important implications for us as individuals and as leaders. Two years ago, in nine minutes, the world’s understanding of systemic racism in America was forever changed, motivating widespread, peaceful protest and comprehensive pledges to improve our institutions. Tragically, we now know better.
Doing better has proven more nuanced. Many individuals have thoughtfully invested time to learn more about how to be effective allies, and companies have embarked upon initiatives to assess themselves and create more diversity, equity, and belonging. From more inclusive recruiting pipelines, to robust coaching programs to support and retain diverse professionals, to more representative board rooms, we have seen meaningful progress. Yet, setbacks like efforts to limit voter participation feel foreboding, reminding us that change is fragile.
How do we do better consistently, over the long term? For leaders, I suggest two things: keeping the faith and doubling down. I have had countless conversations over the last few years with people who were reinvigorated by the focus on racial justice but worried that it would be a passing fad. I completely understand that cynicism and struggled with it myself as numerous people were killed by law enforcement during the trial over George Floyd’s murder. Nonetheless, we must restrain our skepticism, because it too easily justifies inaction. Instead, choose hope and take the actions yourself and advocate for the accountability in institutions that are cornerstones of lasting change.
Systemic problems require systemic change. Where have you made progress, and how can you double down to ensure it endures?
Precious Williams Owodunni | CEO & Founder of Mountaintop Consulting
This letter was originally published in Mountaintop Consulting’s monthly newsletter. You can read the full newsletter here.
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