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The secret to having Courageous Conversations

The most significant changes in life are on the other side of any Courageous Conversation.

These past few weeks, with increasing coverage of Floyd’s death and the fatal shootings of unarmed Afro-Americans, from 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery out for a jog in Georgia, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor killed in her Kentucky home by police.

It hit me when people consistently started asking me for advice, guidance, and leadership on how to have difficult conversations, that my silence against what was going on in the world was hurting the cause. I felt that my silence from the “hard conversations” wasn’t an option anymore.

Breakdown of R-A-C-E to merely having “hard conversations” to help create a healthier culture in the workplace:

R- Reduce ANXIETY and FEAR behind Race / Inequality
A great way to reduce fear and anxiety behind Race/Inequality issues is to have “safe and open conversations” with people facilitating dialogue where employees and team members can feel free to express themselves without fear of being judged. You must set ground rules for these conversations, and your facilitators must stay alert and aware that the rules for the talks are properly followed…
A-Accept how people see RACE
One way to do this would be for the leadership team to share some of their experiences around race. Then, the Leadership team can invite employees to do the same.
C-Create a Team of Diverse individuals to overlook the Diversity & Inclusion of the company
Leadership teams can also encourage employees to develop a diverse network of internal and external allies and lean on these individuals for help when needed.
E-Expect that you will have to provide ANSWERS/RESOURCES/TOOLS to back the brand’s stance on equality
Leadership teams will want to develop a “How To” plan which will allow each leader to handle “hard conversations” according to the companies policies and procedures

It is usual for Leadership team members to question whether they are doing “the right thing” when addressing issues of race and equality in the workplace.

The Leadership Team needs to empower its employees and provide them with resources for having productive conversations about race. Backing these conversations with experiences, evidence, and good intentions are better than not having the hard conversations about race/equality in the workplace. We are all in this together, and with healthy dialogue and strong inclusion, we can start to create real change on the other side of the “hard conversations.”



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Marques Ogden

Marques Ogden/Speaker

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