Developing a growth mindset requires one to read, to pursue knowledge from unfamiliar arenas and to keep pace with changes in the modern context. We had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career by Amy C. Waninger. Amy asks many key questions, perhaps the most pointed being, “How diverse is your network?” Expanding your perspective will enable you to broaden your network which will unlock pathways to opportunity that you would otherwise miss. Through personal stories and some very practical tools, Amy helps the reader to navigate areas that many are uncomfortable with. Network Beyond Bias is a significant resource for growth minded professionals who want to thrive in the modern economy.
The benefits of reading on broad topics as a growth minded professional
We all know that we should read more, but with so many items competing for our time reading often draws the shortest stick. The benefits of reading have been told to us over and over. Harvard Business Review has a catchy title, For Those Who Want To Lead, Read, in which the author challenges that the history of success is full of, “Business leaders who believed that deep, broad reading cultivated in them the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations.” When selecting content for personal and professional growth, the material we choose should inform, challenge and expand our resource capacity. Author Amy C. Waninger provides an opportunity for those in a position of leadership to broaden their understanding and ability to navigate the complexities of diversity.
The necessity of understanding the modern context as a growth minded professional
While diversity in the workplace is not a new reality, the modern context has brought to light broader perspectives. Amy asks four key questions in the introduction, one of which sticks out as pertinent to any person who wants to develop themselves and their ability to reach their potential in any industry, “Is your professional network as diverse as the workforce and community around you (p.5)?” If we are not aware of where we stand we stand to miss out significantly on opportunities to meet new people, learn new things and open new doors. Networking Beyond Bias helps brings modern topics to light and makes them approachable both by explaining them while sharing personal stories of victory as well as failure. Personal growth starts with a willingness to be a part of the solution and taking time to listen.
The importance of understanding oneself as a growth minded professional
Amy does a good job of walking the reader through confronting unconscious bias as a baseline for opening oneself to embracing diversity. In chapter two we see how our values, sense of self, perception of others and experiences are core to our interactions. “We define ourselves relative to others, and we evaluate others relative to ourselves (p.20).” Operating in this unconscious bias only limits our personal and professional growth. To break this cycle we have to intentionally confront this reality and transform how we think by expanding our information base through networking. Perhaps the two most applicable tools of Network Beyond Bias are two acronyms, first the C.H.A.M.P. network which starts in chapter 11 and the I.G.G.N.O.R.E. test from chapter 32. Networking in this fashion opens yourself to see how many resources you have in your existing circles that can help you develop greater diversity, growth and opportunity.
Developing a diverse network as a growth minded professional starts here and now
Network Beyond Bias creates the case that diversity is the key to unlocking your potential and advancing your ability to navigate the modern economy. “Just as you wouldn’t put all of your financial eggs in one basket, you also need to diversify your professional relationships (p.93).” Whether you need to be convinced that your current network needs to be more diverse or need help in finding ways to expand, the C.H.A.M.P.S. test is a good place to start. This acronym stands for Customer, Hire, Associate, Mentor and Protégé. Chapters 11 through 16 break down these categories with practical insights to help you identify and build a more diverse network. Start with who you are and where you are. If you are willing to confront these two realities then the tools Amy provides in this book will serve to accelerate that process of growth. Opening yourself to new opportunities, asking questions of people you trust and listening have great power in further unlocking your potential.
Awareness leads to understanding and action as a growth minded professional
The sub-title for Network Beyond Bias is Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for your Career. Diversity is a complex issue that extends through many sub categories from the primary segments that we are familiar with in relationship to discrimination such as gender, race, age, ethnicity and religion. Our willingness to understand is directly proportionate to our ability to succeed. “Invest in people and ideas outside your own norms to create opportunities for yourself and others (p.95).” In chapters 17 through 23 Amy walks through these categories with practical insights for professionals at any level. Chapter 21, Gender Identity: A Primer for People Who Just Don’t Get It, goes into greater detail on this topic including a lexicon, questions to avoid and ways to show respect to individuals. Amy shares her vision as well as lessons learned the hard way throughout the book. Even if you set out to understand and impact these issues, you will make mistakes, it’s how we deal with those events that makes an impact on our personal and professional trajectory.
Honest and ongoing assessment is required to continue your success as a growth minded professional
We discussed the C.H.A.M.P. network as the starting point for building a diverse network. In Chapter 32 Amy provides a grid that will help anyone answer the questions, “How diverse is your network?” Once you have your CHAMPs list, we can plug in the data to determine where we stand with regards to diversity by cross referencing with another acronym, I.G.G.N.O.R.E. To expand and develop a diverse network we need to understand where our CHAMPs fit into the categories of Industry, Generation, Gender / Gender Identity, National Origin / Native Language, Sexual Orientation, Race and Ethnicity. The final E in IGGNORE is for Exchange, this is where we determine the depth of these relationships. Exchange measures how deep we have shared personal stories with these persons, “Do you know the values, challenges and worldviews that make your CHAMPs who they are (p.198)?” Knowing your network starts the process of being able to expand your network as well as your pathway to long term success.
Growth minded professionals see the value in engaging diversity and inclusion
If you feel like the world is changing, you are correct. One of the few constants is that everything is changing. The rate of change is increasing exponentially. Professionals at every level can lead at any level, which is also the name of Amy’s organization (see more at leadatanylevel.com). This organization, “Promotes in-the-trenches leadership, diversity and inclusion, and career management through mentoring, public speaking engagements, and other offerings.” Understanding the evolution of diversity enables professionals to engage the marketplace and leaders to navigate the workforce with success. Chapter 31 provides Seven Questions for Self-Reflection which should be referenced on a regular basis as well as a guide to Recovering from Honest Mistakes which again includes a personal story from Amy. Network Beyond Bias reminds us to recognize the value to ourselves and others by engaging diversity. In writing this book, Amy has provided a roadmap to personal and professional development through the rewarding subject of workplace inclusion.
Resources for professionals wanting to learn more about diversity and inclusion
1. Review our interview with Amy C. Waninger
2. Invest in a copy of Network Beyond Bias
3. Connect with Amy on social media
4. Follow the Lead At Any Level Blog
To cultivate and maintain a healthy growth mindset, one must continue to listen if success is going to be achieved.
Coach John Wooden, widely respected as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history thought it was essential that leaders continue to listen and learn. On the paradox of success and listening as a leader, Coach Wooden remarks, “One of the reasons it’s extremely difficult to stay at the top is because once you get there, it is so easy to stop listening and learning.”
We will discuss the dangers of a false sense of accomplishment, how to build real success and the essential nature of listening to developing a growth mindset as a business leader.
A false sense of accomplishment is a growth killer
Many entrepreneurs feel successful but they do not have any hard evidence to support their confidence. Like going to the dentist, they fear collecting financial data and allowing those numbers to tell them the truth. For most business leaders, if they have money to burn then they are successful. Keeping up with the Joneses is the common metric but it is not a true valuation of growth or achievement. Those cultivating a growth mindset understand the value of truth, regardless of how harsh it may be.
Looking successful is not the same as being successful
Achieving a level of success typically creates two extremes, either the extreme of comfort that will quickly lead to business death in the modern economy. The other extreme success can create is the insatiable desire for more at the sacrifice of everything else. Comfort entices us like a warm blanket and then smothers us as we give in to its deception. Businesses are dropping like flies, even large names that our posterity will never remember like Blockbuster . There is no room for comfort in the growth mindset.
Your prior success cannot be your metric for growth
Blockbuster used to be an industry leader and thought to be untouchable, now the only store remaining is in beautiful Bend, Oregon. Not only does their business no longer exist but neither does their industry. Companies like Netflix and Redbox have to be aware that the rate of decline is exponentially faster than it was for Blockbuster. If these new companies do not continue to listen and adapt they will be out of business quicker than Blockbuster’s three decades. A growth mindset will not allow us to rest in our former glory.
How do those developing a growth mindset keep listening a priority?
The growth mindset starts with what comes in through your ears. Growth is a discipline that must be cultivated by allowing the right information to infiltrate your mind as well as educate your perspective. Proverbs says, "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." If you want to develop a growth mindset as a person in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) then you need to receive good information regardless of where it originates from.
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
Your growth mindset tells you that you need a business coach, but what kind of consultant do you need?
How do you identify the right kind of consultant to align with your growth mindset needs?
Searching for a business coach can be like shopping when you are hungry. We all know you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry. The grumble of your stomach can override your better senses and you soon find there are items in your cart that you don’t need. Hiring a consultant has similar dangers.
Be clear about your vision for your business
Everything starts with vision. Vision at times requires us to get clarity on who we are and where we are going. Effective shopping starts with a list and a purpose. I want to make a delicious spaghetti dinner so I go to the store for noodles, sauce, meat and a side. Effective shopping to execute on this vision requires:
Clarity in hiring a business coach
Your grocery list does not need to lay out the menu for every day of the rest of your life. Unless you are only buying canned and frozen foods, this is implausible. What do you need in the next month or quarter to help you move towards your personal or professional goals?
A consulting plan requires some thought
If you hunt for a business coach or consultant without a plan, you may be writing a blank check. Don’t leave yourself susceptible to scam artists or under performing professionals.
The importance of vision in hiring a business coach
If you have put your short term grocery list together, you know a few key areas that you need help. Rather than leaving the list open to your hunger for change, compose a list of potential partners that can help with your specific needs. If you need a financial specialist, don’t hire someone in the legal niche.
If the coach you are interviewing cannot tell you what they specialize in, they likely are not suited to your needs. Rather than leading with your needs, as questions to draw out their abilities. Fast Company identifies aspects of legitimacy in consulting which includes identifying specialists.
Questions when screening a personal or professional consultant
Structuring accountability in business coaching
Get some references from your potential consultant. Ask to speak to a business leader that this consultant has assisted from your industry. Ask to speak to a professional who is working through the same challenges you are working through.
Key perspectives when hiring a consultant
Arriving home with a trunk full of groceries when you left home for a gallon of milk may be amusing. In business, these habits and mishaps can cause long term damage to your business. A strong growth mindset includes discipline to maintain vision is executed consistently. Hiring a personal or professional coach can set you forward or hold you back.
Read more – what is a consultant
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
In the quest for exponential growth hacks those in a position of leadership ought to be careful not to become entrepreneurial hacks themselves.
News of General Electric being removed from the Dow reminds business leaders to analyze whether their growth mindset is in line with their values.
General Electric is one of the largest organizations in the world with a diverse investment portfolio. When it comes to history, it doesn’t get much richer than GE who was founded by inventor Thomas Edison and banking mogul J.P. Morgan. In 1896 General Electric was one of the 12 original companies to be listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the Dow) which is utilized as a reference for health of the market and investments strategies. GE has grown internally as well as by acquisition and diversified their portfolio of businesses to become a leader in multiple industries to become a multinational conglomerate ranked in 2011 as the 6th largest firm in America.
Recently General Electric was removed from the Dow as an indication of its lack of performance, down 55% over the past year (a net of nearly $100 billion) with is stock being valued at an average of $13 per share in comparison to Walgreens which now replaces GE and has a value of $68. Many speculate that this is another brick in the wall, which the Wall Street Journal notes as, “The unraveling of its finance business and competitive problems.”
If your exponential growth strategy is through acquisition do you reach a point where there is nothing more you can buy?
If you grow by acquisition what is the collateral impact of poor integration of cultures between business units?
Back in 2009, Forbes reported on a $50 million dollar fine issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that General Electric had to pay after, “An investigation into accounting shenanigans that severely tarnished the company’s reputation and helped set the stage for last years collapse in its stock price.” Forbes compares GE’s shifty accounting practices to those of professional baseball players using and covering performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in order to keep up their appearances on paper that they were meeting or exceeding analysts expectations. Chairman Jeffrey Immelt, the hand chosen predecessor to famed CEO Jack Welch, carried practices which many convinced themselves were in the spirit of teamwork where the company would shift money from businesses to reduce or minimize losses in other areas and in this particular case sold locomotives to what appear to be ghost companies to increase sales numbers.
If you focus on rapid growth does the haste have an impact on long term internal systems such as accounting and production with regards to sustainability?
If the accounting goals become the metric for growth, rather than a measure of progress, what consequences are there when an organization begins to manipulate the numbers to see what they want to see?
We can learn a lot from the fall of pyramid schemes such as the $60 billion dollar ponzi scheme pulled off by the now infamous Bernie Madoff in that the glut of growth can cast a wide net. While Madoff took the fall for being the master-mind behind the scheme, something he still seems to believe and relish, no participant in the earnings or the machine can wash their hands in the collective draw from the system. WNYC Studio’s Radiolab created a podcast titled Ponzi Supernova which dug into the story behind the worlds largest con and was able to get feedback from Bernie Madoff himself. In short, Madoff viewed himself as an outsider and refused to be dismissed which started a process of winning by any means and he stumbled across a method for doing just that.
If the accounting goals are the driver for business growth rather than the checks-and-balances of you operation, you can convince yourself – like General Electric, Bernie Madoff, or perhaps more notably the employees and participants in both declines – that what you are doing is necessary. What do we tell ourselves? Everyone is doing it. If you hear yourself say or think these four words then you shouldn’t ignore the historically proven red flags. Like professional athletes, do we tell ourselves, I’m only going to do this to jump start or get back in the game and then I will go back to doing it the right way? Again, our systems have red flags, but if we ignore them we are headed down a path that it is difficult to return from. The gains of rapid growth are alluring but the consequences are severe as in the examples above where building on shaky ground can erodes over a century of performance or shady dealings can land you in prison.
Three simple principles for checking yourself before you wreck yourself:
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
All Accountability Adaptation Advice Analysis Authenticity Awkward Best Practices Blame Branding Business Business Solutions Care Career Change Character Claims Clarity Coaching Collaboration Commitment Communication Community Conflict Conflict Resolution Connect Connection Consistency Construction Consulting Controversy Creative Creative Solutions Criminal Justice Culture Culuture Customer Service Delusion Development Discipline Disgruntled Disruption Diversity Do Good Dysfunction Education Efficiency Emotional Intelligence Empathy Employee Development Employee Engagement Encouragement Endurance Engagement Entrepreneur Environment Equality Equipment Estimating Events Example Experiments Failure Family Fear Feedback Fitness Food Fun Funny Goals Good Cause Growth Happiness Health High Horse Hiring Honesty Humanity Identity Incentives Inclusion Influence Innovation Inspiration Insurance Intelligence Inter Interview Introspective Investing Issues Leadership Lean Listening Loyalty Management Marketing Mentorship Millennials Momentum Money Motivation Music Networking Non Profit Opportunity Opposition Optimization Organization Parenting Podcast Preparation Presentation Prioritization Process Improvement Production Productivity Profitability Progress Project Management Promotion Property Restoration Psychology Publication Published Purpose Quality Racism Reform Relationships Respect Review Risk Safety Scheduling Self Improvement Service Simple Social-media Society Speaking Status Quo Structure Success Symptoms Systems Team Building Tips Tools Training Transparency Trauma Trust Truth Unity Values Video Vision Volunteer Water Damage Website Youth Sports