Tag Archives: challenges

Conflict Resolution - Diversity and Inclusion - Leadership

How Do You Handle Hillbillies in the Workplace?

In order to create a respectful and inclusive 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? 

Caroline worked as a professional in an office in Charles Town, West Virginia. Once day when talking with a client, out of the blue the client said, “… and those stupid West Virginian hillbillies.” Caroline, who was actually from rural West Virginia, could feel her face getting red. Without thinking, she immediately stood up, looked at him and said, “You know, you’re looking at someone born and raised in West Virginia right now. I’m very offended by your statement, and I think this meeting is over. Have a good day.”  

The client walked out, rather stunned. The organization lost the account based on Caroline’s comment.

Questions:

  • What should happen to Caroline?
  • What factors might have allowed the client to make the comment?
  • What should Caroline’s manager do?
  • What should the HR director do?
  • What should the CEO do? 

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 situations 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 culture.

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Leadership - Performance Management

No Question is a Dumb Question

I helped my son’s friend prepare for an interview last week. We started out talking about common interview questions, which evolved into a discussion of which ones are more and less effective. Below are some of the questions we agreed were interesting, some from the employer perspective and others from the applicant’s point of view.  

What is a career-related accomplishment you are particularly proud of?

As an applicant, I encourage you to have an answer to this one ready. It’s not so much about the accomplishment that you select, but about the hurdles you had to overcome to achieve success or completion.  

Also as an applicant, demonstrate a lot of enthusiasm when you answer this question. If you aren’t passionate about your accomplishments, what will your energy be day in and day out on the job?

Explain something you know a lot about to me in two minutes or less.  

As an applicant, this is another opportunity to share your passion. It could be how to wind surf or bake a seven layer cake. It could be how to simplify a code or deconstruct a sentence. Whatever you select, you should be able to explain it so the interviewer understands and becomes interested in your topic.

As an employer, this is a chance to see how the applicant speaks, how they organize their thoughts and again, how they demonstrate their passion for something that they know well.

Have you witnessed racism, and how have you worked to eliminate institutional racism in previous jobs?

As an employer, it’s important to know if the candidate will talk candidly about racism and it’s also important to know if they will be an advocate for observing and eliminating racism in your organization. Do they notice and challenge the status quo? Even if the candidate doesn’t have a proven track record of improving inclusivity, any defensiveness is, well, defensive and will not be helpful in your organization’s quest to create an inclusive culture for all.

What have you done in the past year to enhance your skills related to your career?

Organizations are constantly evolving and changing. It’s critical that applicants make the time to learn and grow in their field. The candidate should have a list of things they have learned.

As an applicant, prepare a list of work-related articles you read, meetings you attend, podcasts you regularly listen to. You can even cite ideas you have learned on the job from your mentors and colleagues.

Tell me about a time when you have helped or mentored someone in your previous organization.

Organizations need people who help others. If the applicant’s focus is entirely on their own accomplishments, you may not be hiring the team player you need.

When I was in school, a long time ago, sometimes teachers would say, “No question is a dumb question.” For employers interviewing candidates, I am not so sure this phrase is true! Asking questions that could be discriminatory or lead an applicant to short, one-word answers aren’t so smart and could be illegal. 

Preparing for an interview is equally important for the employer as it is for the applicant. For the best interview experience, both parties parties benefit from being well-prepared. Employers should truly think about the qualities they are seeking in their next employee, and applicants should be ready to show their best self.

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Mindset - Performance Management

One Day at a Time

After graduating from college, I had no interest in going back to school, yet I knew most of the careers I was interested in required more education. One day Johns Hopkins University sent me an advertisement for a class taught by a famous author, and it looked awesome. I signed up for the semester-long class, although since I had not applied for a graduate program I wouldn’t receive credit.

I loved the class. It was stimulating, engaging, and thought-provoking. I decided to write the assigned papers just to see how I would do. I did well and I was hooked on being back in the classroom. Within 6 months I had completed the necessary paperwork, taken the appropriate tests, and enrolled in a two year graduate program. My graduation was the same day our first child was born, so I missed the ceremony, but I didn’t miss graduating.

This time of year, when there are goals for weight loss, financial planning, marathon training, learning a new language, and meditation, I say, “bah humbug.” I have never liked big goals and I sometimes find them to be more intimidating than helpful.  

Consequently, I subscribe to the “one day at a time” method. It worked for me in terms of my graduate program and continues in many areas of my life. It may work for you as well. Here’s a sample of “one day at a time” goals that will help you make new habits easily. The key is just do one or two at a time, not more than that.

  • I will get up as soon as the alarm sounds, and not hit snooze repeatedly.
  • I will do 10 minutes of stretching.
  • I will smile and say something kind to everyone I pass in the morning.
  • I will make one egg and eat a healthy breakfast before I start my day.
  • I will put $10 away each day and save $50 a week.
  • I will pack my lunch each day and save the money toward a car fund.

My “one day at a time” goal this year isn’t even a day at a time, it’s just twice a week. I am going to try to start holding my plank a little longer.

What about you? What’s your small “one day at a time” goal?

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