Author Archives: Karen Snyder

Conflict Resolution - Diversity and Inclusion

The Zumba Instructor

In order to create a respectful and inclusive workplace culture, organizations need to provide regular diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training. But once you have had that basic training, how can you mix it up and make it relevant year after year?

At Concordia Consulting, we have found a way! We have adapted actual situations that we have been asked to remedy by changing them just enough to protect those involved. Then we implement the scenarios using a case-study approach to bring our training to life.

Want to try one? 

A college professor, Mansoor, became Zumba-certified and started teaching Zumba classes on the college campus where he also worked as a physics instructor.

At the beginning of the following semester, one of the regular female participants from his Zumba class, Antonia, registered to attend his physics class. They both recognized each other immediately when they saw each other in the physics hall, and they mentioned to one another that they knew each other from Zumba. Over the course of the semester, the professor taught the class, and the student attended the class. They both smiled and were friendly to one another.

The two regularly saw each other in both the Zumba class and the physics class.

At the end of the semester, Mansoor asked the student if she would like to go out for a coffee. Antonia accepted, and the two began to see each other regularly. They continued this relationship.


  • Is this considered sexual harassment?
  • If it is not sexual harassment, what is it?
  • If it is sexual harassment, at what point did it become harassment?
  • If you were working at this college, and you knew about this situation, what would you do?
  • If a student in the physics class complained to HR that Antonia was getting preferential treatment, would that change your answers?

Have you ever witnessed a similar situation in the workplace? Please let me know how you would deal with this scenario, as well as how effectively you think your organization might handle it. We will be sharing similar experiences in the months to come. If you would like facilitated training with us, we will customize a program specifically for your organization’s circumstances and workplace culture.

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Mindset - Performance Management

Assumptions and Roller Bags

On our recent bucket list trip to Australia and New Zealand, my husband Bill and I realized that his luggage rolled more easily and smoothly than mine. When taking a trip of this magnitude, suitcase performance is put to the test.  

Weeks after arriving home, I was working through my to-do, but not urgent list. I started reading reviews and investigating luggage options online. After looking through various models and colors, I selected a highly-rated carry-on roller bag and hit “purchase.”

The next day, two identical large boxes arrived. I was in a hurry, so I brought them in without opening either. “Wow, that was incredibly fast,” I thought. I guess I accidentally hit “two” even though I only wanted one, I surmised.

The next day, another box, similar in size, arrived. Again, I was distracted, so I brought the box in, but I didn’t stop to investigate. I was miffed. Why three boxes? I only remember ordering one suitcase.

Later in the week, I pulled out the first suitcase and I remembered looking at the brand and thinking the plum color was nice, but the reviews weren’t good for that brand, so I didn’t want it. Did I accidentally order it? I checked my online receipts. It wasn’t there. I checked my credit card. I had been charged for one suitcase, not three. Weird. Again, this couldn’t be a priority this week as I had two presentations and I was hosting our neighborhood book club. I was going to need to make a lot of calls to figure out the mystery. In the meantime, I stashed the extras in my car trunk to be out of the way before my guests arrived.

The next day I was working in my office when the doorbell rang. The person was persistent and would not stop ringing. I was deep in a project and not expecting anyone, but finally went begrudgingly to the door. There the very polite UPS man said, “I need to ask you an embarrassing question. Did you receive any packages this week that don’t belong to you?”

“Indeed I have. What size approximately?” I answered.

“The size of carry-on luggage.”

“Well, walk right this way. Let me take you to my car trunk. Could this be what you were looking for?”

He went straight to the labels and noted that the two boxes were not addressed to me, but to a neighbor with a similar last name and the same house number, on a different street. Why hadn’t I checked the labels?

I do a lot of consulting and training about rushing to assumptions, and here it was again. I was so certain in my belief and assumption that I had ordered the suitcases, that I didn’t do the most obvious thing, check the label! When we talk about assumptions we often think about those that put others in a more positive or perhaps a more negative light, but our assumptions can also be time-consuming, costly, or even dangerous.

How do you check your own assumptions? How can you slow down and notice? Please tell me, I need the help!

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Conflict Resolution - Performance Management

Performance Management: Is Your Workplace in a Pickle?

Like over 30 million other Americans, I have been playing pickleball. I am bad. I don’t say that to be coy, modest, or kind, I am truly not a very good player. What I love about both my husband and the group I play with is they are very, very encouraging. I hear on the pickleball court in the evenings what I hear in organizations during the day, both the good and the bad.

For the most part I hear encouragement like “Good idea!” which is a lovely way to say, “You missed it, but you at least know where to stand.” Or “Good try!” Or “Now you’ve got it.” I am both amazed and impressed by the different ways this supportive group encourages.

One night I had a new partner. She was so kind and supportive of me, but when she herself missed the ball, she called herself an idiot, stupid, or a loser. Another player suggested, “If you start encouraging yourself the way you encourage Karen, your game will improve.” She heard the feedback and I can only imagine that her play has improved as well.

Sadly, not everyone in our group is so supportive. One member said to me “You have absolutely no hand eye coordination. You should hit against a board about 200 times a day, every day for about 3 months and then come back. My spouse did this and it helped.” My takeaway from that interaction was, “You need to learn about Carol Dweck and the growth mindset.”

Carol Dweck wrote a Mindset: A New Psychology of Success. In the book, Dweck says that those who see learning as an ever-evolving and fun process have greater life and career satisfaction. They aren’t expecting life to be easy so they aren’t easily frustrated when life becomes challenging. I discuss Dr. Dweck’s research in my programs and I use it in my life. I notice during performance discussions that those who are expecting work to be challenging are more open to feedback.

Now on the court I say to myself, “I don’t serve consistently, YET.” It’s helped my game. What growth mindset phrases have helped you in your work and life?

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