What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

06/12/2020 CHRC

What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

Obviously that it’s hard.

It all starts with understanding. And understanding begins with listening. We’ve been doing a lot of listening, a lot of reading, a lot of absorbing. There is a lot of listening, reading, and absorbing still to do before this country reaches better understanding. 

Here are three articles that we think might be helpful.

The first is from a managing director at Goldman Sachs who has opened up about his experiences as a black man; perhaps because he feels like people are finally listening. In 2011, Frederick Baba had an incident with the police because he “matched the description of an individual who had reportedly stolen from a residence in the area. The description was of a black male in shorts and a T-shirt, with no other details. No color for either article of clothing, and in a city with just under one million black people, I was obviously the culprit.” 

The second is an article from the Harvard Business Review about what makes a good listener. Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman describe good listeners being more like trampolines rather than sponges. “[Good listeners] are someone you can bounce ideas off of — and rather than absorbing your ideas and energy, they amplify, energize, and clarify your thinking. They make you feel better not merely passively absorbing, but by actively supporting. This lets you gain energy and height, just like someone jumping on a trampoline.”

The third is a letter from Tim Ryan, US chair and Senior Partner at PwC, outlining the firm’s continued steps to addressing the injustices that too often occur to Black Americans. Ryan states, “It is my responsibility as a leader to not only stand with [Black colleagues] against racism to condemn these killings, but to use my privilege to be a part of the solution and take action – to help dismantle the racism and injustice that has become so pervasive in our society.”  From the time Mr. Ryan co-founded the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, PwC lost an employee, Botham Jean, to mistaken identity and police violence, PwC has gone way beyond a fancy ad campaign and is committing their people and hours—and applying peer pressure to other corporations to do the same. 

I can’t help but think of the lyrics to the Nick Lowe song that Elvis Costello made famous. The song asks, “So where are the strong and who are the trusted? And where is this harmony, sweet harmony?” Perhaps if we all do our homework, we can be strong and the trusted for one another and bring some of the much-needed harmony to one another, our workplaces, and our world. Read More Here