00:05 Joanne Lockwood
Hello everyone my name is Joanne Lockwood and I'm your host for the inclusion bites podcast in this series I have interviewed a number of amazing people and simply had a conversation about the subject of inclusion belonging and generally making the world a better place for everyone to thrive. Like to join me in the future then please do drop me line to Jo dot lockwood a SEE Change Happen dot co dot uk that's SEE Change Happen dot co dot uk you'll be able to catch up with all of the previous shows on itunes spotify and the usual places so plug any headphones grab a decaf. And let's get going today is episode 48 with the title equality is not just a nice to have. It's a must and I have the absolute honor and privilege to be joined by niels breant niels describes himself as someone who helps managers to become better leaders. By making them master the concept of sustainable leadership when I asked neils to describe his superpower. He says it that it is leadership and sales hello nails welcome to the show.
01:10 Niels Brabandt
Hi Joe great to be here. Thank you very much for the invite.
01:14 Joanne Lockwood
Yes, it's actually a pleasure I think I guessed it on your show a few months ago and it's been really good to have you back on this so you can talk talk to my listeners as well. So thank you so tell me what st nails tell me.
01:23 Niels Brabandt
Thank you very much.
01:29 Joanne Lockwood
We called we titled this s episode equality is not just a nice to have. It's a must. What's your take on that.
01:34 Niels Brabandt
Well many companies treat equality diversity inclusion as something where they say we have to do it but let's face it often when you have requests from department where they talk about? Yeah, we are in for. Diversity inclusion and equality and the next trace often is and we want you to speak at our event but we don't have much of a budget and that tells you a lot about how serious especially corporations are about diversity and inclusion. You would never hear. Oh we don't have a budget for our sales team or we don't have a budget for marketing. Or we don't have a budget for the compliance department because they know how important it is and unfortunately still many approaches in the corporate world are more driven by we have to do that and we have to take a box here and we have to take a box there. So no 1 can attack us on a formal level but when you. It's always a very easy question when you look at the the the top 3 leadership levels and then you look at the amount of women and minorities. There. Not even talking about the quality just the quantity which is the very first step. You often find diversity and inclusion in places where you say people have very little budget. Very little influence. Not much to say and. Even when you try to get into the diversity areas you often have the approach. Okay, we have gay white ti gender min here. Of course that's a good first step but that is not what diversity is about so I must have when you look into science and mckinsey and let's face it. Corporations listen to Mckinsey and studies for mckinsey. Um, Mckinsey conducted studies about the productivity about the result you deliver as an organization that forty 3 percent of the organizations who are diverse result have better results than the ones who are nondiverse and. These are scientifically proven results of of course it is not the most noble motive to say oh we can make more money with diversity. Yes, yes, you can, but that shouldn't be the main motivation. However, we often see that especially also in the uk that careers are based on Networks ah, where did you grow up. What are your circumstances which families did you know which part of the city did did you grew up in um, elementary school high school college university basically predetermined where you can end up either in free enterprise politics or Society social mobility is still very low and that of course stands in the way of putting real diversity. Into the workplace and that's something we have to address because when you are not diverse and you as and as a leader you accept that you are actively harming your organization and on not only have you not only you have to be dealt with accordingly.
As a leader you have an accountability towards the organization actively harming. It is the opposite of what you should do.
04:19 Joanne Lockwood
It Very true, Very true when you talk about this tick box Exercise I I see a lot of organizations still relying on this unconscious Bias E learning. Um and I I kind of got some some sympathy or empathy with this because we talk about sales training. But very often training a very small proportion of our workforce when we're looking at edi inclusion belonging training. We're we're trying to if you like cover. All of our people and as we can probably appreciate. That's a lot that's very expensive in terms of time and money I'm sure you find that the effectiveness of this type of type of training.
04:57 Joanne Lockwood
Doesn't work when it's tick box a online elening it needs some experiential. It needs some lived experience. It needs some ah building, empathy and compassion for different people and I think that's the the challenge we have How do you see organizations solv that yeah.
05:09 Niels Brabandt
Um, absolutely absolutely. Also when you have an e learning. So let's let's face it in most cases when people say we have an e learning for diversity and inclusion. It is simply the cheapest offer they took some sort of standard. Yeah e-learning training where people basically click through a test at the end if they have listened or not they can figure out the answers in attempt number 8 or whatever and then they they tick the box and move on. And every single time. So as you said we need empathy. We need interaction. We need the opportunity that that people can ask honest questions in a safe environment where they probably are aware I might ask a question which is inappropriate but I want to know why it is inappropriate to do better in the future. We need these live circumstances for it. Also when organizations tell me they don't have a budget for it. Let's face it diversity and inclusion. It's a human right? So when you say we don't have a budget for it. The statement you make is we don't have budget for human rights is that what you want to have on your website. Hey focus on the people open Bracket. No budget for human rights close bracket. No you but you don't want to be connected to that statement but actions speak louder than words as we all know and when you say diversity and inclusion we go by the cheapest offer do not be surprised that things that go that that things might go very bad I mean what. We we just saw in the recent past that a major financial consultancy firm that chairman had to step down after he publicly said during a townhole meeting that. So First he said that people should stop whining about covered nineteen he gets his life sorted so they should get their life salted. Maybe as a chairman you have different means. Could be due to your financial situation but not only that he said unconscious Bias doesn't exist and the supervisory board of that organization which is an international consultancy company that is heavily criticized in many ways at the moment they did the right step and basically told that person you can choose what your future will be but we will take. Countermeasures when you don't decide the right way. So I think that's the very british way 2 days later the chairman said his position became untenable so he steps back as steps down and basically they told him either you step down or we fire you that was what they basically said so you have. And international brand which you build up for millions of pound and you harm that by such a statement so severely for years and years to come at next moment you say oh sorry diversity and inclusion training. We don't have but but we don't have a budget for that. You get the results you you seed it in the first place when you don't.
Do Significant investments in not only the human rights meta here but diversity inclusion in quality raise unconscious bias anything connected with that. Your organization will be harmed and the question is not if it will be harmed the the question will only be when will it be harmed. So It's your responsibility and accountability as a leader to make the right decision which means invest to train people properly. Yeah yeah.
08:10 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, we had an ah incident with the the football association in the Uk I don't if you heard the story but the the Chairman gave a speech and he used I'm going to be faired and say clumsy language I doubt that there's any malicious intent. It was very clumsy. Which showed a lack of understanding of contemporary language around racism or aboutund black people and brown people and given at the time the the football association the fa in this country are hyper focusedcused on racism in the game. It became his position became untenable because knowing.
08:31 Niels Brabandt
Yeah, yeah, yes.
08:49 Joanne Lockwood
The the issues that racism is in the football he should have been well aware of his responsibility to learn and be aware of correct Language. So I think we can forgive people for making mistakes so because I never want to penalize someone for good intent for trying for for for engaging. As long as they can be accountable and understand their impact but I think in this particular case this person should have invested their time and effort into becomingcompetent culturally competent in in the language he was using and I think that's perloki became incomptent. It became untenable but I don't I I often hear people.
09:15 Niels Brabandt
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
09:26 Joanne Lockwood
Scared to engage for fear of getting it wrong and what I really don't want to do I don't want people to be afraid of talking to me talking to a black person talking to a person with a disability because that doesn't help anyone so we got a really by by. We got to create education that allows people to overcome this fear and and be constrained by.
09:31 Niels Brabandt
Historian Yeah I not.
09:45 Joanne Lockwood
By their own lack of knowledge and that's the danger. How how do organizations build on this to to help people become culturally competent.
09:51 Niels Brabandt
When you see these incidents so first it tells you and we all know football was very focused on we we all remember when when we had the european championship and certain penalties didn't go the way they they should. We saw the the ramp and racism that is still very omnipresent. It's. Ubiquitous in in certain sports especially in football and when senior leaders of these association make these remarks. It simply means that everything they claim we care about communication overcoming racial barriers. We care about diversity and inclusion then the senior leader of that organization makes these remarks. You simply know it was all talk no trousers because often people say I am afraid to say something wrong. Well here's the trick get the education and then people say I don't have the time for it and that simply means I don't want to take the time for it which means I do not care. So. You have to address in your organization that you have to be properly prepared for being able to to communicate properly because when you are unable to communicate properly. Someone will make a remark that will lead to loss of business. It will lead to a pr ah disaster and it will especially lead to talents not being interested. In working with you and it takes years and years to come to get away from that from that reputation because people always remember these negative moments may more than the positive moments especially when you look at football. Um, I'm I've been a professional referee for for quite a while and when you look into football and the official positions are basically held by by white straight men and often when they say these are the most qualified people. I still want to see the proof that being a good football player qualifies you to be in charge as a manager director or executive to to to manage millions if not billions of pound in no organization, you would have any career close to that. Only because you did well on the operational level so they get a bridge from the football pitch straight into the executive lounge and then they do moves like that I have I have very little empathy for these people because they help us available knowledge is available. science is available the only thing you need to do is to. Do the investment take the money and the time and then you can learn it. It is it is a skill that can be learned when when people simply deny to take the time. It's their fault and then you have to face the consequences. I.
I try to be nicer for years and years and years and yes people will take the time when the time is right? No, we have a different project now. Yeah in the future we will. These are all excuses and it goes on and on and and until some major catastrophe happens I can only strongly recommend organizations train your people train them early train them quickly. So you can be sure that they do it properly and this needs refreshing because society changes it changes quicker than ever so language develops as well and it only needs 1 bad phrase to harm your organization for 1 decade and I think you have no interest. In committing any of these aspects to your or doing any of these aspects to to harm your um employer' brand the reputation of your leaders your whole organization because the the the consequence often is higher employee you turn over recruiting becomes way more expensive. The employer's Brand has to be fixed so when you say you don't have the budget. Once the damage is there. You have to spend probably millions to repair the issue. So the way wiser more wise investment is to do the training in the first place
13:30 Joanne Lockwood
I 100 percent agree with that that sentiment you touched on something there which is 1 of my bugbears this bullshit of meritocracy this perceived who is the best person for the role and we've seen it over over generations that we tend to promote technicians.
13:39 Niels Brabandt
Um, if if yeah.
13:49 Joanne Lockwood
Into leadership roles. You're good at your job therefore we'll make you senior when we make your senior will give you people responsibility So you're doing less technical work more people or expect them to do both be technical and manage people what we don't do is train professional leaders in our organizations and promote people.
13:56 Niels Brabandt
14:07 Joanne Lockwood
Their leadership values rather than just their technical skills and I think that's what you were touching on. There wasn't it.
14:11 Niels Brabandt
Absolutely and we still see so in in in germany it was for a very long time. It is still in many organizations. It is common that the best engineer suddenly becomes the team lead or the department lead but that person is probably interested in having more complex engineering issues to solve. That person is maybe unable or not even interested in dealing with other people's issues problems ideas change projects suddenly work on ah on a meta level of the organization. It's the same with salespeople often when salespeople become sales managers. They fail in their role because when you are a sales manager your job is not to sell to clients your job is to empower other people. What you have done before but often salespeople want to be sitting down with the clients want to close the deal by themselves want to get the praise the award the applause. But that's not your role and you have to see when you promote people. So First let's let's just put it straight meritocracy doesn't exist for a very simple reason meritocracy only exists if we ah if if we all start in the same place in the same situation then we have meritocracy. Do we all start in the same situation. Absolutely not. When I moved to the uk I realized the power of something which is not even existing in germany the power of people judging you by the post code in which you live. So if it's e c 1 or w 8 where I lived or it's e c Fourteen which is canary wove and people judge the quality of your business based on. A number of letters. So that shows you how random the aspects are people are often judged on and when we see these aspects still happening. Please don't tell anyone. It's all about meritocracy and you work your way up. We all know these stories and people often leave significant parts out. Of course when I look at my own history. My personal history I think my life would have been very different if my parents would not have been so keen that I go to university in my family. It was not very common to go to university my father studied law which back in the days when he did it after being. Born in nineteen forty s it was not common at all less than ten percent went to university but then he saw he does better with a university graduate job so they decided our children have to go to university they sometimes were a bit pushy. And let's face it. My marks my a levels were something in between a by my b minus and the straight c if my parents hadn't pushed me towards university I probably had gone for vocational training and my life would have taken a really different turn from that. So when you talk about Meritocracy and you think when.
When people work hard. They will get exactly what they what they deserve Basically you're saying and let's talk that on an international level when you say people have to work hard and they get what they deserve. Do you think that any developing country is just too lazy to work what kind of arrogant statement is that they say certain position. Working yourself out of that position because you're so heavily judged by unconscious bias confirmation by society standards, educational standards university labels especially in the uk depending on which university you come from even when it's a great lecture and you did the best. These is ever written when it's the wrong university they simply say sorry we prefer to hire someone from and then they always name the same five universities in that country so you really have to look for the skills and promote people for their skills. However, you really have to check if people are interested in being a leader. I Remember when I talked to someone in the insurance industry who changed jobs from the aans a really large and a large employer in germany to a quite small insurance company and I asked him why did you go with the great payment and the job and the great package they offer you. Why did you go from that corporationation to this mid-sized owner let business. And he said and I quote sorry for the words now but I just quote him because I didn't want to deal with the bullshit of the people just standing at my doorsteps saying oh I have that issue and that issue I simply wanted to sell insurances and that was the reason why he changed to a different job. Being a leader simply means you must have a strong interest in leading people developing people retaining people your applause is when other people are successful and that is something many people cannot deal with very well because they want to have the applause by themselves and as a leader that's not your job.
18:33 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, and I often think that leaders forget they have to lead themselves as a leader you have to be a self leader so you should take pride leading yourself in in the in the way you want to lead others and even if you don't have staff responsibility. You can still influence because leadership is all about positive influence in motivation.
18:53 Joanne Lockwood
And that may you may not have a leadership role but you may be influencing customers. You may be influencing the product design so you're taking this personal responsibility to lead by example, ah bring people along but we still we still have this this mantrain in in organizations that pass performance.
18:55 Niels Brabandt
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
19:12 Joanne Lockwood
Is indicative of future success and we hire for this experience we hire because we've done it before and I've I've had debates with senior leaders at board level around how they've got to have somebody as you said, but with with the top five university with this qualification store. They must have worked for this organization and that that propagates his. Bullshit meritocracy where it means that anybody who who hasn't had that opportunity through being from ah an oppressed or marginalized community hasn't had that social Network hasn't had that that that route route to Market. They're never going to be able to enter those those those those rooms. So. That's that's where society that's where business and commerce is falling back is relying on this past performance and we know we we know that an interview a cv are going to get you in the door. We know that maybe it will be indicative of your first 2 or 3 weeks and then everybody is is and the same. Yeah, they've got to. Got to learn about the organization. They'll learn about the culture. They've got to learn about the differences of the job and most people can pick up and be trained in the technical side of their role but the empathy the compassion. The leadership is the bit we've got to look for as a core. And that is far and it's the potential. We should be seeking the adaptability the knowledge acquisition that this person can do rather than just have they work for somebody else and then believe that they could do the same job for you but better. That's that's that's the challenge isn't it.
20:32 Niels Brabandt
Um, yeah, yeah, absolutely and often people think that leaders are still legitimized or receive their legitimization on a formal level. And that might have worked in the past and I remember when I had my first job after uni at the end of the Ninety s unemployment was record high in germany anyone was happy when you found a job so when they asked me suit and tie I didn't ask why I only said which color which brand any preferences. So. You were very obedient towards someone who has a title as a director or anything which sounded very important when you look at generation x y z or the generation alpha which is going to enter the first ah work work experience polly and in 5 to 1010 years time they don't care if if you went to Oxford cambridge you are a director or whatever else your your title will be or is either. You are able to do the job properly then they will follow you and if you're unable to to do the job properly then they won't follow you and also when we look into different other areas. People simply see that having a degree from certain universities and very important here I really don't want to talk down on Universities. University knowledge is very important. Science is what should lead society and should lead us very important. Everything must have a foundation in Science. However, the university label. Doesn't make you a better person, especially not a better leader I don't want to say look into u k politics but that's really where you can see that having a university label definitely does not say that you have the best of interest for society in mind and that applies by the way to absolutely any party in the u k. In germany you don't see that any mp is coming from predominantly the same university we don't even have that predominant university in politics while when you look at the u k you can look at different studies and no matter depending on how you want to weigh and measure it between seventy to 80 percent of all your mps either come from Oxford cambridge. Or graduated from there so you're creating a political class which expects to be perceived as more skilled due to university label and that is formality is the worst choice when it comes to creating leaders because. People who are properly legitimized people who are accepted as leaders people who have opinion leadership in an organization are legitimized on a social level when you do your job grade when you are able to be accepted amongst your peers when people follow your advice that is the point where we can see that you have leadership skills.
Just stop sticking to these formal labels. They might give you an indication of a certain knowledge level in theory they might give you an indication that people can approach problems in a certain way and they might give you an indication that people are able to properly write down different aspects and problematic situations in a scientifically proper way. But they don't tell you if anyone in the meeting is going to follow. You. They don't tell you if anyone is going to follow you in real world practice and they they especially don't tell you if anything what you tell people to do they will actually do because when people don't follow you. They will find a reason and a way not to do what you expect them to do and that is what needs to change. Leaders are legitimized on a social not on a formal level of course knowledge science Very important, no question about that. But as soon as you want to lead people. The social aspect is the important 1.
23:58 Joanne Lockwood
I agree completely and I think what you were touching on there. It comes back to a point you were making earlier about these networks that people build through their life at the affinity groups the tribes the the cliques that we have um.
24:10 Niels Brabandt
24:16 Joanne Lockwood
And what we often find is that leaders will come from be be bred and born out of these networks and again people from a oppress marginalized underres into communities. Don't even know the network exists and how to have a knock on the door and that's the big problem about trying to create equity in society.
24:27 Niels Brabandt
24:33 Joanne Lockwood
There's this privileged view almost blinkered view of we're in our network. We know what we're doing we we all speak the same Lingo We. All we all big each other up and anybody who's not in our network. How can they have the same kind of knowledge and depth that we have. We've thought about this for years. I Think that's there's a kind of misnomer that we often have about people who are not part of the in-group. We We see them as other we see them as less valuable which is why sometimes I get really frustrated when people use the term diversity we need to have diversity hiring. It almost makes people sound like other makes people sound like not not the default choice.
24:54 Niels Brabandt
Um, yeah, hire some outsiders. yeah yeah I mean exactly exactly I I remember vividly when I moved to the u k it happened during the first six months.
25:10 Joanne Lockwood
And yeah or we tokenize tokenistic or we want you want to bring you.
25:21 Niels Brabandt
And a a of of course then you get in contact with the economy you try to network your way through that's how it works in the uk in germany when you have a quality offer you can approach companies and it's more based on what do you offer? not who you are and in the uk. It's very different so a business club at pa mall. Invited me over and we were chatting if I would give a speech there and at the entrance they said it's it's a male only club and I said are you serious so there are no female members. No, it's a male only club. Thank you very much that's it I'm not going to speak for an all male event because. Maybe I jumped into a time machine on the tfl but I didn't think I did so when you think that it is a remotely acceptable that I talk about leadership to an all male audience problem number 1 is you you exclude people based on their gender based on their biologic Basically you ex. Exclude people based on your perception of a of of of a social construct and biological organs which you think you can guess but that's something they would not and um, ah understand at at that that point. However. We had a ruling in germany now that for example, clubs who exclude people based on their gender. So for example, saying it's an all male club they by definition cannot gain charitable status and anyone who still does so loses charitable status at at the end of the year so suddenly they have to open up. And the reason why they are so afraid is because these closed Networks of course, no 1 talks about that openly the main goal is someone of us will be in a privileged position and they will hire us to get us into other positions. So we hire each other the letter upwards to build our career not based on skills. Not based on qualification but based on I know that person and that is something which needs to come to an end because you don't have to tell people that anyone can make a career in your organization when when people see that the top leadership level. Ah, people from the same background same university same network. No 1 believes that you care about diversity.
27:25 Joanne Lockwood
And this is part of the problem for making change because the people who make the change are locked into their belief system that the way that's working now is working. Why should we change if what we've done before is working. Why do we need to change and that's that that.
27:28 Niels Brabandt
27:44 Joanne Lockwood
It's almost like I don't if you had this expression in in Germany but Turkey's voting for Christmas What we're asking people to do is people with privilege to so to see their privilege and enable others to come forward and the government in this you know whether we love the government or hate the government I'm not here to be political.
27:47 Niels Brabandt
28:02 Joanne Lockwood
The current sort mantra is leveling up where it's leveling up in terms of the the geographic location in the country providing resources. Yeah for me, that's equity good old fashioned equity bringing people forward. So It's recognizing that. It's not about yeah often people we see people with privilege scared of losing something. Inclusion to them means so giving away their rights whereas if we can get the leveling up message right? It's about bringing people forward. You know if you watch the privilege rates if you watch all these things. It's about bringing people up to the start line at the same point to give everybody a fair chance.
28:23 Niels Brabandt
28:38 Joanne Lockwood
But that's not how the meritocracy works is it. The meritocracy is all around using my advantage and using that as a multiplier not as just a purely additional and that's the Challenge. We've got is we've got to get the privileged ruling class the political class people are white people are straight whoever they may be to recognize that. By bringing other people up to the start line. It doesn't cause them less advantage.
29:00 Niels Brabandt
Um, yeah, but it's the same in in pretty much any situation I can tell you just 2 examples. So 1 I came out. Um when I was 19 years old as as gay and I was. On the way my career as a professional referee went very well and as soon as I came out I immediately realized there's a difference in behavior from the leaders that suddenly support me less because I think they saw a disadvantage with that towards the next higher level and their career. And just another example from the world of and academia my sister studied to become a teacher which in Germany is a completely different job than is in the uk because in germany it's well paid lifetime hiring very good package. Very good payment unlike in the uk where you have teachers struggling making ends meet when they live in London for example and. Certain aspects. For example, when when she studied um a part of the jewish culture and suddenly they told her well according to the rules we have at this university and these rules were made in 75 you now have to learn ancient greek and hebrew to now be able to read the Torah in its original form which. When you look at what you do at schools probably is not the level you teach later and I think translations are available but the only people who could decide to get rid of that would lose their job because they teach hebrew they teach ancient greek and when they decide to take it off the exam list. Simply they would lose their jobs so they of course will not vote for any change in the rules for studying these subjects and it's the same in a corporate world people know that they have an unfair advantage based on their networks. So when they say we get down to the true quality of who is the best for the job. They know many of their network. Are not the best pick and suddenly you lose privileges but people simply have to say when when people honestly say it's going. Well so far, let's just look at what did we have ninety ninety 8 ninety nine. We we had the birth of the I t but which which was completely pumped up by Banks. Mostly led by by male strier. So 2000 8 once more major cri led by insane risk mostly decided by the same group of people. So but when people say it's going. Well so far. Um, no, no, it's actually not going. Well so. It's not going well at all last time when we had a financial crisis we were on the brink of the global collapse of the financial system. So saying that it's going. Well it really is not and when you look into studies and again as I reference before Mckinsey shows when you are more diverse.
Then you simply bring better results to the table and you can see that even investors who come from very non-diverse countries investors from Saudi arabia or russia they demand very strict diversity quota because suddenly when they put their money into a a company. They know diversity gives me a better return. So I'm up for diversity in that organization just not in my country because I want to keep the unfair advance I have there so we see that people are aware of what is wrong, but they deliberately ignore it as soon as it comes to their own position and that is something why I don't let people. Off the hook when they say oh it was running Rel so far was it really when they have a good trek record and and the organization was doing perfectly. Well then we can talk about that. But in most cases it is not going well the issues were there. The issues were addressed. And often the issues were solved by paying people money to leave so they just shut up and move on and often when you have that 1 person that goes to public with a certain issue suddenly you have hundreds of people joining and say well I have the exact same issue with that organization and then anyone says oh. How could that happen? Well it happened because you didn't care about the issue in the first place so the whole argument of it's going. Well so far first it isn't second no emperor would get away with saying I don't want change because it's going. Well any leader would say we have to change we have competition we have to adapt to the Market. So. Why suddenly on senior leadership level. They can say it's going. Well let's not change complete nonsense and third when you do not change you deliberately ignore science and if it's only that maybe only that 1 reason if you deliberately ignore science. Then you really have to rethink your approach to leadership. We have enough people who deliberately ignore science and I'm not going to be political here or talk about the vaccination process. We are now being in but deliberately ignoring. Science is never a good choice and it's especially not a smart choice.
33:42 Joanne Lockwood
No no, it's not but the facts don't change people don't they we we know that mckinsey have produced this report. There's been all of the top four global accountancy firms have come up with similar studies. We can quote.
33:50 Niels Brabandt
33:58 Joanne Lockwood
The benefits of diversity The benefits of Inclusive Networks The benefits of inclusive leadership the benefits of training and culture and values. We know this So Why doesn't it permeate through all levels of Organization. It may well be a desire at the board level. They they have this rose-tinted view of the organization about. Yeah, their view is it's all going Wonderful. We Want to be Inclusive. We want to treat our people right? But somehow that that dilutes through the organization and then the reality is when you get to the lower lower tiers of management that message is almost lost and that they're they're feral that they're just not think about how to how do we match the the aspirations if you like of leaders.
34:29 Niels Brabandt
34:37 Joanne Lockwood
To the reality of the employee experience.
34:39 Niels Brabandt
So First we need to tell people that when they don't when they are unable or unwilling to change on their free will we have to set very strict quotas. It's it's always the last option and I'm not a friend of quotas because. Immediately create the next problem that people say oh that person is only in that position due to a certain quota which was set by h r or the board or the supervisory board. Whoever but I can give you a perfect example when we addressed for the first time in germany that not enough women are on boards. Then the economy said free enterprise. Ah we are going to change the process is running already 20 years later angela merkel said and she said that word. By word, you had 20 years time and the share of women on board is still way below ten percent so now we're going to put in a quota because. After not changing anything for 20 years you now have to face the consequences that you and then of course she chose different words but what she basically said was you were deliberately lying to us for 20 years and here you are with the quota which you now have to meet the quota as always the last result you have to go for when no change is possible in any other way. However, unfortunately many people only listen to you when you for example, say diversity has bar but ba ba bar and more profit and then they say excuse me. What was the last aspect again was it more. Profit. Yes, and then they suddenly start to listen to you when they realize there is more profit in there. However. Some people still see that diversity might harm their own position. Their personal income their personal situation or their personal team. Their personal network and they're going to protect it at any at at any price and these people simply have to be replaced when you see people that deliberately act against obvious common sense. The scientific evidence we have and of course but you could you can always um, convince people more when you use emotions the emotional aspect needs to be addressed as well. People are afraid of change and we need to address that. That's why we have professional training for people to create a safe space to tell them how they connect in the future. So. We can address these emotions proactively we can't address them with an e-learning course that people click through for forty five minutes that's simply not how it works. However, the main issue remains that when people ignore facts they often do it to protect their own networks and to stay in their own. Bubble of advantage unfair advantage at least until they either retire um, be be a bit become a pensioner or go somewhere completely different and do something completely different in another industry we have to be very aware that some people simply deny facts because they know when we look into facts I shouldn't be in the position I am.
So I'm simply putting the problem somewhere else to create a bit of smoke and mirrors around the real issue and say oh we should look at this. We should look at that that that's a legal issue here. We have to talk with compliance about that and the h r need to set a project here. So you're just gaining time. By putting up another smoke mirror smoke mirror smoke mirror when you see people acting the wrong way deliberately and that's what this financial consultancy firmed it right when you have a senior leader saying unconscious bias doesn't exist then we unfortunately have to say you have to be removed for the best for the organization. Saying something like that disquallifies you as a leader at least in the position you are now. So at this point that was the right decision to do many people who now still think well. But I have built up my network and I put so much effort in there. But. I can understand it might have been a lot of effort and you put in time and poorly money as well. But putting in time and money to gain an unfair advantage is neither noble nor helpful for an organization so that cannot be the reason for not making a change that you say. I prefer to keep my personal unfair advantage because I invested so much in it. You probably should rather question yourself if that was the right move to do and if it's not wise to now change to the right side and say we need to look for qualified people and the best fit for the job. Not for some sort of network clique-ish decision because people realize when these decisions are made people are demotivated and not motivated to to walk the extra mile as many organizations say why should anyone do that when they know I'm not part of the network. So I am not. I'm not going to to be picked for any promotion anyway and that is a major issue. In addition, we have a cultural aspect as well. 1 of the reasons why people often defend people in very high very privileged even very wealthy. Positions is often people think. When they are obsessed with optimism people think I could be the next 1 who is in that position I want to have the comfortable position they have as well. It reminds me of people who go on the street protesting against a billionaires text and these people make 20000 dollars a year billionaires for sure are very happy when that happens and of course. When it comes to taxation a very complex issue and as an entrepreneur I am in for less regulation and lower taxation. But everything up to a reasonable amount simply believing in the next anyone can make it racks to richs motivational inspirational meme. There's a very nice quote.
It's never your successful friend posting the motivational quote on social media and there's a reason for that being obsessed with optimism does not change reality.
40:03 Joanne Lockwood
No, and we see a lot of dream Salespeople don't we on on social media. Get rich quick 6 figurere coaching business zero investment. We know who the yeah and the people who are making the money are not the people on the program. They're the people who create the programs and.
40:06 Niels Brabandt
Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, 7 steps to this eleven steps to that? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, yeah, basically often when you have of course not everyone but many so-called Inspirational or motivational speakers. They are selling hope because and that's often used also by different industries you.
40:22 Joanne Lockwood
Selling the dream the this sort of snake oil salespeople isn't It's a.
40:38 Niels Brabandt
We all know the story when you look at music labels. You have someone who grew up in a very poor part of london and they were in jail and then they had this amazing music career and they all see when you work hard with your music career then you can become a billionaire by just making good music. What they miss is. The board of 20 white men sat there and said you we picked you to jump out of the mud and tell anyone that's what's considered hard work. No, it was a random decision they they could have picked probably 10 other artists who had the same career but people think that this hard work pays them awful. Of course when you invest more money into education more time or effort into education and your job you get better result but everything when you look at your starting point. It takes time and it's not very realistic to say that when you start in a very bad environment that you are going to be the next prime minister there that was a. Great documentary about and and it was called on the bbc was called um, will we ever have a black prime minister and I think the conclusion was it is more likely that a german gets naturalized and becomes prime minister in the u k than a black person would ever become prime Minister. So welcome to reality. We need again. We need to look into science and facts motivation and inspiration is not what drives a business a career on income or anything in your life forward. It just feels good. It keeps you. It keeps you going for another day but it is nothing that substantially helps either. You. Your career your family or anything in your life I don't want to be too negative here. Maybe I'm just the german in the round here. But when I moved to the u k and looked at it from a german point of view I very quickly saw and these random aspects played in my favor as well. I talked to u k businesses.
42:13 Joanne Lockwood
I Yeah ah no.
42:28 Niels Brabandt
Of course due to my charming accent. They realized german and immediately they assume oh great quality of work. Great work ethic always on time delivering projects and always being the hardest working in the hardest working person the office first showing up last to leave these are just stereotypes. About germans of course not every german is like that. Maybe I am a bit like that that can be true, but suddenly I have an advantage I immigrate to a country and based on the completely random category of my passport I have an advantage towards other people. Who probably immigrate as well. But because they are french they would say oh no, not you because french are difficult. You know so and that is completely random, but it's still happening a lot.
43:14 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, and I mean as much as I um procrastinate and talk about and and ah advocate for equality diversity removal of Bias or questioning bias I notice when your your yeah your your. Your superpowers is leadership and sales sales is about positive Bias. It's about creating affinity. It's about creating a brand. It's about selling an opportunity a dream a hope whatever that may be so I often have this sort of like paradox of of emotions when I think we're actually whilst on trying to. Be I advocate about removing bias I actually want positive bias towards me I want people to say actually Joe's fantastic Joe's good this I want this bow wave of reputation which is affinity bias. It's that yeah hey no effect I want I want to use the biases in a positive way and.
44:02 Niels Brabandt
Um, yeah, yeah.
44:12 Joanne Lockwood
Often Think when when you're applying applying for a role or a job with the cv you want that cv to sell you and then what what we're doing now is we're we're we're blind or we're we're anonymizing Cvs we're removing all these details so people are just becoming almost like cold facts and that. Almost stifles. The people's ability to sell which is a very human nature when you're trying to go for roles. But then we often end up hiring the best salesperson. Not the best manager or leader or technician if you're not careful.
44:34 Niels Brabandt
Yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely and um, so first sales is a skill which anyone needs to master for a very simple reason. No matter what your idea is if you have an idea or a concept or you want to have a certain project or you want to be hired somewhere you are doing sales all the time. The worst phrase is when someone says oh. I don't have to do sales I work in and ah accounting or compliance or hr you always do sales when you're unable to sell you won't be able to get your ideas across and let's say we do anonymous cvs when you look at my cv and I study at the university of Hamburg a university which is ranked on. And 1 hundred whatever rank. So not a prestigious university at all. But when you print my linkedin cv and you take my name off. So no 1 knows who ah no 1 knows who I am the education starts with. 3 classes harvard university 2 classes mit and that alone will so heavily influence people in my favor because they see oh harbor that must be a good person mit. Oh he he he must be skilled. Well. Probably I have the knowledge about that. It doesn't tell you anything about my leadership skills. But for sure you will invite me to the next round because otherwise you might face criticism. How could you not invite the harvard person. So and when I say my superpower is leadership and sales in the beginning. It was only leadership I learned sales I was never a naturally born salesperson I was actually very opposed to doing sales until I realized when you can't sell your ideas or what you want to get in place in an organization just having the facts is not enough anyone who wants to get something across which actually gets done afterwards. Needs to Master sales. Whatever position you have in life. No matter if you work for the public hand free enterprise science politics for accounts no matter where you are. You must be able if if you want to have a career and you want to have your ideas getting done then you must be able to do sales I know this matter this. Now might sound horrible to many people but doing sales is not being chatty and and and offering nonsense ah products to people who don't want them and you just talk long enough until they finally give you their money and you just ran off with it and they are sitting there with a really bad but that's not sales that's scamming.
And these are the people who sell you the online class how to get rich in 4 weeks and you have to admit and see that no 1 when they disagree with you? No 1 will simply agree with you based on facts alone because they have their perception of the world. You have your perception. But. And by the way I don't want ever because some people say you have your truth and they have that truth that's a horrible statement when it comes to the truth. We have a factually proven truth and truth is not up for negotiation we have different points of view. That's what we have when you want to convince someone who is strongly opposed to your point of view. You must be very good with sales. You must have sales skills because simply repeating your arguments will not work and sales skills include of course the factual side of the emotional side. How to do proper sales pitch. How to conclude how to get commitment from someone how to build report all these needs to be learned I had zero sales skills. When I left university I learned sales from the scratch and I can only recommend to anyone to do the same.
47:59 Joanne Lockwood
I again I'm I'm agreeing with you here I I I would never consider myself a salesperson but naturally I'm an entrepreneur I'm a business person I run a business I I sell I'd like to think I like to think people buy rather than I sell but that's creating a brand alignment. It's.
48:09 Niels Brabandt
48:18 Joanne Lockwood
It's identifying need and for being to fulfill a need and that's all part of the sales process isn't it. It's identifying qualifying and then delivering a product or a brand or a service I think we we often confuse sales with the car salesman the estate agent The the fly by night and the mistrust that that has whereas.
48:31 Niels Brabandt
48:38 Joanne Lockwood
I Mean you've just said I think yourself the the best salespeople don't sell overtly. It's about building that relationship and identifying what the what the person in front of you actually needs and then helping supply that and ah known when you can't deliver actually being honest enough. So actually that's not us. Um.
48:48 Niels Brabandt
48:57 Joanne Lockwood
You might want to try them instead and that's the authentic side of sales and I think and it doesn't just stop at at the deal. It's about that relationship. It's building that long-term relationship with people and bringing this back to an inclusion sort of concept that it's around making sure that you're you're creating accessible solutions for. For all people not just people like you and that's that's the other thing we're we talk about inclusive design making sure the products or the service is representative of of all people inside or at least the market you want to select.
49:25 Niels Brabandt
Yeah, and when it comes to sales. Also when you now try to change something in a positive way when it comes to diversity and inclusion often. You will have people facing the fear that they think I will get replaced and I won't get a chance anymore say and and and and you might have heard that line. You have no chance today when you're a straight white man. So first nonsense. So second when people normally they add the phrase anyone is offended about anything today. No no, we just don't allow racism and any any racism anti-semitism xenophobic state no no, we call you out. that's what change and that's what you don't like. But diversity is never about replacing a certain group just for replacing them. We simply have to see that some people are in places where they shouldn't belong where they simply should not be where they got due to an unfair advantage and of course yes these people will not be seen again in these positions which is good for any organization. Because when you see that even senior leaders of large corporations where you can assume they were properly trained when they make such unacceptable statements as we heard from this consultancy firm and finance or from from premier league you you simply have to admit this comes from a certain. Not only mindset but from a certain attitude toward this is this is how life in my opinion is so black people are like that white people are like this and when you still have that attitude after all the training you received probably your time might be over but there is no reason to fear when you are on the good side. Diversity and inclusion. No matter who you are there is no disadvantage for you. The only thing we take away is the unfair advantage of people who got the aren't unfair advantage only based on the completely random fact which family which country which place were you born into because that has nothing to do with skills. That is just a completely random fact that has no value added to society to auto organizations whatsoever.
51:27 Joanne Lockwood
I amen I yeah completely and ah, really it was interesting. You you picked up on yeah straight white men feel. They're under attack I'd actually written that on my pad that was 1 of the things I was going to talk to you about I was ah a reunion a couple of weeks ago I was in the Royal air force in the u k back in.
51:47 Joanne Lockwood
Early eighty s eight nineteen 1 and we had a Fortieth reunion last way equal to bit last month and so I was I met with a a cross-s sectionction society from 40 years ago who are predominant but they were all white men or mainly white mainly white but all men and I was talking to.
52:06 Joanne Lockwood
1 of my previous ah colleagues Ahf Colleagues and he knew what I did and and there's a lot of comments around oh politically correct woke or Joan Here. We've got to kind of watch our language on this and then he then he said I haven't had it easy. You know I'm a white man I'm under attack. My father worked in a coal mine I came from a working class Background. We didn't have money I had to fight and work for everything I had and this this was a genuine ordinary white man who handled these beliefs and it wasn't that I wanted to attack him or telling him he was wrong. And yes, he hadn't had it either. Yes, he came from a working class background but he wasn't receptive to the fact that it wasn't the color of his skin that held him back. It wasn't the fact he had a disability that held him back. It wasn't the fact he was gay or or queer that held him back. It was the fact that he he came from a working class background.
53:05 Joanne Lockwood
And he has obviously exceeded that programming because he is relatively wealthy has a sustainable business that that he may not have had had he been black had he been disabled had he been gay so to try and to try to persuade people that privilege is not about what the the structures you've had.
53:23 Joanne Lockwood
It's about the struggles you haven't had and that's that's the kind of nuances and and I was at another event again with a group of men previously friends for my my previous life and 1 person was pontificating around how this seems to be this vendetta against statues pulling down statues of great leaders from the Past. And I just said oh come on. Don't you think in a multicultural multiracial society. We should have representation of all communities. He said well I can't think of 1 famous black person that I want on a statue. It's like okay, but but that yeah yeah, yeah, yeah.
53:51 Niels Brabandt
Yeah, look into history then you know why because you enslaved them and colonialized the countries and probably you don't make them heroes that could be 1 answer to these sorry for interrupting you.
54:01 Joanne Lockwood
Yeah, yeah, that ah, but but again there was little little reception on why can't we celebrate black art black culture. It doesn't need to be a statue of a person I think maybe we've moved on to society. We don't need to. We don't need to glorify people on statues so much anymore. But glorify.
54:19 Niels Brabandt
54:19 Joanne Lockwood
The cultures of the civilizations and and I said how how do you think it feels if you're a black or a brown person walking down the street and all you see are colonial ancestors or or colonial messages or or celebration of whiteness again that that's a kind of a yes exactly? yes.
54:27 Niels Brabandt
Yeah, and there is a place for these statues. It's called Museum that's where you put these statues in a museum. Yeah, yeah, exactly? Yeah yeah.
54:38 Joanne Lockwood
With with the history with the why what happened at that time telling that white history. Yeah.
54:45 Niels Brabandt
There' is 1 very important point here and that is something which even many people where I come from get it wrong people often say so let's look into german history the the history of germany is um, the the history of the worst crime in the in the history of humankind. And every german and that is a statement now where people will start to disagree every german is guilty of it including me I could easily say because I'm in the position for that. My family is a holocaust surviving 1 my grandfather wasn't resistance organized the resistance and concentration camp wolf and but survived years in concentration camp helped the allies to organize everything when they arrived they named the street after him so I could easily say I was not 1 of the Nazis we were a good family. However, national identity is nothing where you can cherry pick. what you like and what you do not like I arrive in any random country on this planet. No matter if it's in Spain and france in the uk and the us and canada in Bolivia in Brazil and australia I say hello I am german and anyone immediately believes I am qualified intelligent hardworking on time. Brilliant project manager and most people ask me if I'm an engineer and no I am not because we are not all engineers. However, when I have all these positive aspects I cannot say I ignore the history that comes with my national identity and say that's nothing off me none of my business. Please rub that off me I only take the positive aspects. It is a strength when you are able to learn from history at Mider so you can see when certain tendencies happen again like a far right-wing party in Germany's like the the afd sitting in the parliament you can act early on these things happening. Call people out who join these parties call people out on racism on wrong Behavior on unacceptable behavior unfortunately in many countries it is not only not well taught in Schools. It is also not socially accepted when you say. We have a past that is not as great as we pretend it is when we look into the history of the uk let's face it so at point in time fifty percent of the world was under the empire and I don't think they signed up by a by a voluntary subscription. So and we have to address. What impact does this have on society what impact does a Royal family have what impact will it have when we have a transition of power within the Royal family which will probably happen within the next 10 years or so but when this is not addressed and you only say I am proud to be x y z let's face. It.
We never work for becoming a certain nationality. This is not meritocracy that I I could have been born in a completely different country. Let's face it if I had been born as a black gay man in Senegal my career wouldn't have been anywhere near money probably nowhere where it is right now and you have to address. That privilege but often people don't like to talk about that and then they say white men are under attack and we are we are tearing statues down. No no, we are addressing inequality we are addressing 1 wrong representation of history and we are addressing that this needs to change the sooner. The better. We tried it the nice way for decades and decades and decades and there is always the tipping point where people say it is enough. We tried it the nice way and it didn't work. So now we simply take down the statues and simply tell you this line will not be crossed again and I fully support these actions because the nice way didn't work. Ignored every issue for decades and now you simply have to face the consequences of ignoring the issues in the first place and the same applies to organizations often when you have issues about diversity equality or when you have issues about compliance or you have issues about your investments. 2008 when we deconstruct what happened it was not that out of the blue from 1 day to the other magically all these credits became faulty no for years and years before people looked away and said just keep it going it works well and when you do that. You have to expect a certain escalation and isn't it the better way to address it early and I think diversity and inclusion training is the way how to address early how to become a better organization how to become a more sustainable organization and how to pick. Ah, best leaders you have available to make your organization a better and more sustainable 1 including excellent leadership.
59:11 Joanne Lockwood
Fantastic I think that's an excellent point to leave our audience on today. That's an excellent summary and nails. It's been an absolute wonderful conversation I can't believe the hours passed so quickly. Um I loved your candor I loved your perspectives so many of them.
59:17 Niels Brabandt
59:28 Joanne Lockwood
Ah, making me smirk because I had so much agreement I was making notes. So thank you so much for your time and I'm sure our listeners will want to get in contact with you. How to how do people get in contact. What's the best way.
59:38 Niels Brabandt
Um, yeah, easiest way write me an email n be at nbi hi for networkworks dot com so N be at N b dashnetworks dot com straight to my email. That's an email just which only I read so it goes straight to my inbox. Of course you find me on linkedin as well. Um, pretty much on any social media platform no matter if it's Facebook linkedin the german version of linkedin is Singh or if it's Instagram you find me anywhere and you can can talk contact me on any of these platforms. Easiest way is of course I have my I have my own podcast leadership podcast by luthrubund feel free to listen to that as well. Easiest way to get in touch with me of course is email or linkedin. That's the channels I always recommend to get in touch with me the quickest way.
1:00:18 Joanne Lockwood
Thoughts and I'll make sure that those details are in the show notes. So that people can click on those and follow this through again. Huge thank you and huge thank you to the listeners for for tuning in for listening to the end please do subscribe if you're not ready to keep updated on future episodes of the inclusion bytes podcast That's B I T E s.
1:00:22 Niels Brabandt
1:00:37 Joanne Lockwood
Please tell your friends please tell your colleagues please do share this episode I have a number of exciting guests lined up that I'm sure you'll be also inspired by over the next few weeks and months and of course if you'd like to be a guest if you've got a story if you've got a message then please let me know I've welcome your input and of course I'd also welcome any feedback and suggestions you have to joe dot lockwood at cj chapman. Code at uk how can I improve what more would you like to hear about so my name is Joanne lockwood It's been an absolute pleasure to host this podcast for you today. Catch you next time. Bye.