Tag Archives: accountability


By Tammy Ramos

Leap Solutions Group is pleased to welcome guest newsletter author, Tammy Ramos, J.D. [Click here for Tammy’s LinkedIn profile]. Tammy is an affiliate of Leap Solutions and is well known as a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Executive, Latina Lawyer Leadership Coach, Virtual Facilitator, Keynote Speaker, and Writer. Tammy presents an effective strategy for creating a sense of belonging is by empowering staff and leaders to understand the skills necessary for effective Allyship. 

 

In this issue of our newsletter:

  • Create Your Own Allyship Playbook
  • The Four A’s of Allyship
      • Awareness
      • Accountability
      • Advocacy
      • Action

     

     

    In the past two years, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and strategies have become urgent in organizations who have been confronted with their lack of diversity, especially in their most senior leadership positions. Smart organizations are beginning to make the investment in Unconscious Bias training, to develop Diversity Councils, to create Employee Resource Groups, to establish new policies for advertising job openings, and to redesign processes for recruiting, hiring and onboarding diverse talent. Organizations with more mature, established DEI programs are creating intentional Executive Sponsorship programs for their diverse talent, strategizing on solid Succession Plans and providing inclusive leadership training and coaching for its senior executives.

     

     

    Today, the term DEIB – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging has become popular as organizations realize that the end goal of any DEI initiative or program is to foster a company culture where everyone feels the psychological safety defined as Belonging. A growing body of research suggests that when people feel psychologically safe, they are more engaged, more productive and more likely to stay. An effective strategy for creating a sense of belonging is by empowering staff and leaders to understand the skills necessary for effective Allyship. To create your own Allyship Playbook, implement The Four A’s to Allyship: Awareness, Accountability, Advocacy and Action.

     

      

    1. Awareness: First, allies are aware of their own unconscious biases and remain mindful of what their own unique triggers for bias may be. They also understand what Allyship means in the workplace. The Harvard Business Review published an article in December 2020 entitled “Be A Better Ally” and defined Allyship “as a strategic mechanism used by individuals to become collaborators, accomplices, and coconspirators who fight injustice and promote equity in the workplace through supportive personal relationships and public acts of sponsorship and advocacy.” It’s important to note that this definition states “individuals” are allies and not corporations, government entities, or educational institutions. Allies are individuals who create a company culture of inclusion and who understand that they have the ability to affect positive change. It is also important to note that one does not necessarily have to be in a position of power or influence to be an ally. However, those in leadership positions certainly have more responsibility and opportunity to use their roles to promote allyship on a greater scale.

    Build Your Awareness: Every quarter plan one action you will take to elevate your awareness of DEIB issues and trends. Consider reading a new book, watching a TedTalk, or listening to a podcast. Last, it’s important to keep diversifying your professional network. Reach out to someone who is not like you to get to know them and broaden your understanding of different perspectives, cultures, and lifestyles.

     

     

    2. Accountability: Second, allies hold themselves accountable. Allies commit to be a part of the solution of ensuring no one individual or group of individuals are excluded or left to feel like they don’t belong. When allies witness or become aware of microaggressions or microinequities, they speak up. They don’t allow biases to persist without taking ownership to do their part to correct them. This may entail a simple, private conversation with the person responsible for the microaggression or a conversation with the person who was the target of the microaggression. Or it may require something more. The ally will take ownership to correct actions and behaviors that hinder a sense of belonging.

    Create Accountability: Every quarter document what you have done specifically to hold yourself accountable to be an ally on behalf of others and celebrate your success. Seek out an accountability partner and explore ways you can plan every quarter. Perhaps you make a commitment to pay attention during meetings and ensure that no  one person is being excluded from the conversation, or you commit to reaching out to your accountability partner to discuss how to handle a situation where you witnessed a microaggression.

     

     

    3. Advocacy: Third, allies take on the role of advocates. As stated in the “Be A Better Ally” article, “Allies endeavor to drive systemic improvements to workplace policies, practices, and culture.” Advocates ask the hard questions about policies that may be outdated, cause inequities and unfairly disadvantage certain individuals or groups. Advocates confront these practices and advocate for change.

    Build Advocacy Skills: Every quarter take at least one company policy and ask, is this policy equitable? Does this policy have unintended impacts? Does it exclude a specific group of people? Does this policy help foster a culture of inclusion? Bring the policy to the attention of the right leaders to have it changed, modified, or eliminated and replaced.

     

     

    4. Action: Last, allies take action. Allies do not wait for others to affect change. Allies look for opportunities to be agents of the change they seek. Mahatma Gandhi said it best, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” To create a company culture where diverse employees of all backgrounds, generations, ethnicities, gender/gender identities, feel like they belong, requires proactive actions to develop policies and practices that nurture belonging while at the same time challenging the “business as usual” mindset. Organizations who will remain competitive, profitable, and innovative are the organizations that are able to attract, retain and promote the most qualified, diverse talent.

    Plan for Action: Encourage all employees to develop their own Allyship playbook. Share with them these four A’s to Allyship. Ask them to document one action they took or plan to take per quarter to be an ally. Remember, allyship is not reserved for those in leadership; allyship is the responsibility of each individual. Make it an integral part of your company identity. Consider creating a company Allyship pledge that goes into the employee handout. For free templates, please contact Tammy Ramos at tammy@inclusion-inc.com.

    Thank you, Tammy, for your wonderful thoughts to support our clients to create Belonging through Allyship. 

     

     

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    Leap Solutions is a diverse group of highly skilled management, organizational development, and human resources, and executive search and recruitment professionals who have spent decades doing what we feel passionate about helping you feel passionate about what you do. Our HR specialists can help you get a handle on the ever-changing COVID-19 guidelines, programs, and legislation that may impact you and your employees. We are available to work with you to develop practical solutions and smart planning decisions for your organization’s immediate, near, and long-term needs.

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We always love the promise of a new year, but 2020 isn’t just any new year—it’s a Leap Year! And we at Leap Solutions want you to make it count.

Here, from our staff to you, we offer reflections, inspiration and hopes for making 2020 your year of opportunity and fulfillment.

 

Planning Supports Change

Chuck McPherson, Partner

In every facet of our lives, we must deal with changes, and we each experience and cope with them in unique ways.

Many lives changed during the 2017 Tubbs fire. We were woken up and had to flee from our homes without time to think. My wife was in Spain at the time, so I fended for myself (and our dogs) and managed the evacuation, eventual return, and cleaning and putting back together of our home alone. For the next two years, my wife and I had periodic discussions about planning and packing for the possibility of another similar disaster. An eternal optimist, I assured her there wouldn’t be one.

Along came 2019 and the Kincaid fire. We still had no plan. Panic set in, and the “I told you so’s” flew. Things got tense, however, this time there were at least hours to gather what we needed and leave. We did, and after evacuating twice from two different locations, we were safe.

When I think about the difference between the experiences, two things hit me: one, there was more time to react during the 2019 event, and two, I wasn’t alone in dealing with it. There was another brain, another perspective, another person to listen to and negotiate with about what to take, when to leave and where to go.

After the fact, we appreciate that two heads, while challenging and frustrating at times, allowed for more strategic and thoughtful decisions. We’re also now committed to better planning to potentially alleviate stress of possible future change. Further, we are thankful for the enormous efforts of our first responders and the planning of our cities and county to evacuate people well ahead of schedule so they could focus on putting out fires. Now, our hope is that PG&E follows suit!

 

Don’t Worry—Be Happy!

Teri Lohrmann, Office Manager

Have you ever noticed that people who seem truly happy, and those who exemplify the most gratitude, are those who rarely worry? Do you ever lie in bed in the middle of

the night, unable to rest peacefully because you’re worried about something? I tell ya, when it happens to me, I’m not so happy the next day having lost precious sleep to worry! I’m working to intentionally exchange “worry” for “think,” so instead of allowing worry to subconsciously, passively compound my stress and anxiety, I’m actively using thought to stay positive and productive.

Often, we worry about what someone might think of us. However, as self-help author and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer famously said, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” While it’s advantageous to be likeable, we can’t please everyone or make everyone like us. Plus, if someone doesn’t like you, there’s a good chance they don’t like themselves. The best thing you can do is be the person your dog thinks you are, or your kids, or your mama! Be grateful, be honest, be humble, be true, be selfless and be considerate.

In the words of Bob Marley, “In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double, don’t worry, be happy!”

 

Evaluation Matters

Susana M. Morales, Organizational Development Consultant and Coach

We are all evaluators. We evaluate whether we want espresso or tea in the morning. We consider the fact that espresso might be too strong and could make us jittery; perhaps caffeine-free tea might be the better option. We systematically analyze and assess everyday and larger decisions. We weigh the pros and cons, we consider what we already know and what we could learn, and we aim to make things better. This vital process is evaluation.

Evaluation can be used to improve the decision-making process, leverage data, gain new knowledge, build capacity and develop stronger organizations. At Leap Solutions, our evaluation work supports organizations locally, nationally and internationally. All of our current evaluation projects are community-focused, culturally specific and bilingual.

Evaluations can also lead to stronger and healthier communities. For example Humanidad Therapy and Education Services is part of a statewide project to reduce mental health disparities in historically unserved, underserved and inappropriately served communities. As we work with them, our evaluation question explores whether a culturally known and valued practice can be adopted as a prevention and early intervention treatment approach for the Latinx community in Sonoma County. We’ll release our preliminary findings in early 2020.

 

Showing Up

Cassie Forman, Office Assistant

Finding a job can be an overwhelming task. These days, most employers insist that prospective employees submit a resume online, which takes away the chance to effectively and memorably introduce yourself as a candidate—to express your personality and represent yourself positively. That’s why job fairs can be such great opportunities. You can dress your best, show off your confidence, and speak to face-to-face with potential employers. If you get lucky, as I did, you may just make a lasting impression that could land you an interview and even a job!

 

A Culture That Thrives

Tracy Emmerich, SPHR, Human Resources Consultant

The past year has brought lots of change to my life—weddings, first grandbaby, a move to a new town after living in Santa Rosa for 47 years, and a new job. Well, maybe not such a “new” job…after a seven-year hiatus, I returned to Leap Solutions! My #1 reason (besides the fact that Chuck and Scott are the best bosses!) is flexibility.

With unemployment at a 50-year low, attracting and retaining employees has become one of the most challenging issues for employers of all sizes. You need to know your industry and offer a relevant, competitive wage and benefits. You also need to know that salary is not always the biggest motivator.

A thriving company culture should be one of your top priorities. Does your culture encourage a healthy work-life balance? Are employees happy when they come to work? Have you clearly communicated your expectations and then given employees the freedom to excel? Are you having those tough conversations and holding employees accountable when they miss the mark? Are you letting them know in a meaningful way when they genuinely did a good job? Open, honest communication is a sign of a positive company culture.

The employees you want to hire and retain are the ones who do great work because they love coming to work, and they want the company to thrive because it makes everyone, including themselves, successful!

 

 

Serving on a Board

Bianca Rose, Recruiting/Human Resources Coordinator

About a year ago, I joined not one but two nonprofit boards of directors (thanks, Leap Solutions, for the flexible work schedule!). Despite the time commitment and challenges that have come with these incredible responsibilities, I’ve had the opportunity to grow significantly as a young professional. Here are the top benefits of joining a nonprofit board:

  • Contribute to a cause you’re passionate about. Whatever your passion—animals, children, the environment, you name it—you can find a place to serve in a way that is truly meaningful to you.
  • Be a key player in the decision-making of an organization. From overseeing legal and/or financial decisions to championing the organization’s mission and vision to organizing philanthropic efforts, you get to influence the current and future state of an organization.
  • Expand your network. On a board, you will be working alongside and ultimately forming relationships with professionals across different stages and walks of life  as well as diverse industries. Additionally, you’ll enjoy networking opportunities as you attend community events and activities.
  • Develop your business acumen. Whether it’s operations, fiscal oversight, board governance, marketing, fundraising, event planning or outreach, you’ll gain insight, understanding and firsthand experience in what it takes to run a successful organization.
  • Strengthen your communication and leadership skills. Since you’re collaborating with people from many different backgrounds, there will be plenty of times when you and your fellow directors will disagree on important issues. This valuable experience will develop your interpersonal communication, public speaking and diplomacy skills.
  • Gain valuable mentors. You’ll be exposed to inspiring and insightful mentors who generously share their knowledge and wisdom, coach you and teach you invaluable personal and professional lessons.

Serving on a nonprofit board is a win-win situation: nonprofits make a positive difference in our communities, and your service enriches your personal and professional life.

 

Why I “Leaped”

Judy Coffey, RN, MBA, Senior Consultant, Leadership Coach and Mentor

On Thanksgiving Day in Chicago, many years ago, my eight siblings and I had the opportunity to join a service organization in feeding about 600 family members/individuals who came very hungry and cold. We not only fed them, we gave each one who needed it a coat donated by community members. I felt firsthand the pride in a community coming together to help those less fortunate, and I saw in action what it means to give to one’s community and be of service.

When my own family relocated to California, I knew the way to meet new people was to involve myself in community work. My career in nursing gave me further opportunity to share, care, show compassion and offer support for patients and their families. The philosophy of Kaiser Permanente matched my passion and values and gave me a deep understanding of the importance of internal community. Today I serve on numerous community and national boards, including the one that endears me the most, the American Heart Association (AHA).

As an executive of Kaiser Permanente for 15 years within the Marin and Sonoma area, I had the opportunity to engage with Leap Solutions. I saw that their goals and values were similar to mine: they have a spirit of service, and they continually give back. As a new member of the Leap Solutions Group, I am proud to hear, see and contribute to the many ways Leap Solutions commits time, talent and treasure to our wonderful community.

 

Accountability: 2020 Challenge

Scott Ormerod, Partner

2019 is nearly history, and 2020 is full of opportunity, hope and imagination. One of my favorite holdovers from 2019 will be my discovery of author, consultant and change guru Cy Wakeman. A client shared her book No Ego with me, and I became a Cy fan. Why? It’s about accountability. I have embraced her equation:

Engagement – Accountability = Entitlement

In our organizations, we talk about accountability, but we don’t often recognize how entitlement can hold us back from accountability. For instance, say one of your colleagues is a solid team member, but you find her repeatedly driving her shiny red convertible BMW—Bellyaching, Moaning and Whining—into your “open door” environment. You want to help and support her, but you don’t want to be a passenger in that BMW of hers. Instead of allowing her entitlement to drive her relationship with you, keep her in the accountability zone as a solid, engaged team member. Let her know your expectations, and make sure they are clearly defined, incorporated into performance and tied to her outcomes. Turn that conversation from BMW to “what could make this great right now?”

Cy also talks about team “buy-in” to company vision, goals and outcomes. She recommends “working with the willing.” While the bought-in are still looking for their entitlement (gift with purchase!), the willing move the company forward by being actively engaged and holding themselves accountable. Seek the willing in 2020, and let the non-willing go in peace.

If you want 2020 inspiration, join fellow Cy devotees and move to the accountability state. Cy Wakeman: www.realitybasedleadership.com

 

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Positivity, adaptability to change, spirit of service…these are some of the values we find ourselves returning to as we reflect on our blessings and celebrate and support the continuing health, vitality and strength of our clients and community into 2020 and beyond.

 

Happy Holidays, and Happy Leap Year!

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