Flying the Revolution’s Freak Flag

I wish I could remember how I stumbled across Joe Gerstandt. It was likely through the marriage of Twitter and serendipity, and I’m fortunate for that. Joe is a warrior, on the front lines of conversations most of us aren’t having.

Take this excerpt from a recent post of his:

I have very real concerns about whether D&I work is evolving in the ways that it needs to and at the rate that we need it to  I think that diversity and inclusion continue to be the most misunderstood issues in the world of business, organizational, community and individual success today. I think that this work tends to be seen as not relevant, not applicable, or not valuable by most, even by most in human resources work which is supposed to be our one true ally.

Joe held up my smokey mirror and I acknowledged, gulpingly, that I don’t understand diversity and inclusion well enough.

In his next post, he helped me clear away some of the smoke between me and my mirror with a list of core characteristics of what diversity & inclusion work are about:

  • diffusion of power
  • distributed leadership
  • removal of barriers to difference
  • pursuit of value or benefit (individual or organizational) related to diversity and inclusion
  • creating and supporting authentic and balanced connections / relationships
  • increasing the shared capacity for learning and creating

My calling to design and host conversations that help unlock the amazing potential lying latent shares these same characteristics. And for when I need a not-so-gentle-kick-in-the-butt, I will remember these words from Joe:

Somewhere along the way we realized that we had something to lose and we started talking about what was realistic and feasible. I have no time for or interest in what is realistic and feasible…that is driving by the rear view mirror. That is what metrics and metric managers are for. We are warriors and truth tellers and our calling is different.

Somewhere along the way the revolution got put on the payroll and that is where revolutions go to die quiet and irrelevant deaths.

Joe – I’m enrolled. My freak flag waves proudly. No payrolled deaths for my revolution.

But how about the rest of you – have you gotten comfortable? How can you architect your future instead of driving by the rear view mirror?