What do you do when you want leadership to take action but they’re being complacent? What do you do when you’re asking for them to take a stand and they say nothing?
In 2020, we saw people asking for change to happen. We saw people who were looking for organizations to step up and be better leaders and role models. In 2021, accountability for organizations will be the focus. Organizations will need to show that they are taking the action that they said they were going to do. With the recent events on Capitol Hill, our team members are feeling so many emotions. As leaders, it is important to address uncomfortable conversations especially when it is a human rights issue. People are looking to leaders to lead the way through the conversations and to take action. The level of safety people are needing right now is at utmost importance. Individuals are looking to be seen as their foundation is shaken. This safety and security can look like connecting with team members as individuals and creating a compelling future vision with them. The future vision will help to create hope and provide direction and focus.
People are impacted by a multitude of world events happening around us. These events include farmers’ protests in India that are impacting people who have Indian backgrounds especially from a farming family. Their ancestors and family members are standing at the front line asking for justice. Yes, the situation is in India. However, there may be team members who are distracted and feeling different emotions as their family members are marginalized there.
As a leader who may have team members who are impacted, ask them how they are doing. Ask them what is happening with the situation and if their family is safe.
All of these events have an effect on people’s emotional, physical, mental and spiritual body and we need to realize the impact it has on your employee’s and how it might bring back old emotions. Questions such as “do I belong here?” and “what does this mean for us and what does it mean for me” may be coming up in your employee’s minds. It is so important to create a safe place for your employees to be themselves, feel accepted and that they belong in the organization. They need to feel as though they are in an environment where they can share their points of view on subjects and feel safe about it.
How can your organization get involved?
There are different ways your organization can get involved in eliminating systemic racism. Things such as signing pledges and taking part in challenges can help guide your organization and create a safer environment for your employees. These pledges can also serve as conversation starters amongst your teams of ways to make your employees feel more accepted.
The BlackNorth Initiative and the 50-30 Challenge are two ways Veza Global is implementing equity, diversity and inclusion practices into the workplace.
This pledge is committed to removing anti-Black systemic racism in Canada and moving towards an equitable future where all Black Canadians and other underrepresented groups will achieve their full potential, free from systemic barriers. The BlackNorth Initiative is composed of senior leaders from all Canadian companies and organizations-both from the public and private sectors.
Why be part of the BlackNorth Initiative?
The persistent inequities across our country underscore our urgent, national need to address and alleviate racial, ethnic, and other tensions and to promote the elimination of anti-Black systemic racism wherever it exists. As leaders of some of Canada’s largest corporations, signatories manage hundreds of thousands of employees and play a critical role in ensuring that inclusion is core to their workplace culture and that their businesses are representative of the communities they serve. Moreover, it has been proven that true diversity is good for the economy; it improves corporate performance, drives growth, and enhances employee engagement.
To learn more about the BlackNorth Initiative and ways your organization can get involved, click here.
This initiative is bringing together the Federal government and organizations, researchers, corporate partners and equity seeking groups to advance gender equity and diversity in leadership across Canada.
The challenge’s meaning refers to two aspirations: 50% gender parity and 30% representations from under-represented groups ( Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ2+ community) on Canadian Boards and senior management.
To learn more about the 50-30 Challenge and to participate click here.
As leaders, we need to see everyone we work with as humans. The need to connect with them should be greater than the fear of saying the wrong thing when events happen both locally and around the world. We need to be able to create a safe space for people to discuss how they’re feeling and ways they can be supported. Speaking up and shedding light when situations occur shows that you care as opposed to leaving it in the dark and not even giving your employees a chance to speak about how it’s affecting them. It’s better to say the wrong thing rather than nothing at all. It at least shows that you care and have the right intentions.
It’s about creating an inclusive environment for your employees. We need to make them feel like they are supported and they belong in the organization. As a leader it is your responsibility to give people a safe space to express their thoughts and opinions. Learning from your employee’s experiences is what creates the diversity of thought in the workplace. Connecting through phone calls, emails and team meetings are ways you can reach out to your staff and start the conversation about current issues that may be affecting them.
Remember, your need to connect with humans should be greater than your fear.
We’re asked to put our lives into silos. Create separation between work life and home life. Between our bodies and minds. Between our hobbies and our careers. Even within our very personalities.
Boundaries are incredibly important, but this is different. You set boundaries for yourself based on what gives you the most peace of mind.
Silos form when we try to mold ourselves to fit society’s expectations. We can’t for one second believe that stress or conflict at home doesn’t affect our work performance or vice versa. Besides, trying to maintain these separations leaves many of us feeling exhausted and unfulfilled. The silo approach doesn’t recognize that individuals live full, whole lives that need to be nurtured to have healthy, productive, well-adjusted people thriving in our society.
At Veza, we reject the idea that our lives can be chopped up into discrete parts.
We know that we all carry with us at least some trauma or insecurities from our childhoods – whether that was a bad home situation, trying hard to please our parents, or being excluded/teased at school. We have internalized ideas from our cultures about what our lives should look like. We have to heal these aspects of ourselves, because even when we think we’ve moved on, those beliefs (i.e.: inadequacy, feeling unlovable) still linger under the surface. Rising up when we are under stress or get triggered. Influencing our decisions at a subconscious level. Influencing whether we believe we belong at the table and whether we have anything meaningful to say or contribute at all.
We see the greatest success when our lives are balanced. When we care for our bodies and spirits, we are more creative and focused. When our relationships are strong and healthy, we feel more supported and confident. When we turn our passions into careers, we feel engaged and fulfilled.
The point is: all aspects of our lives are connected. The leaders who have the most impact and seem to be going at it effortlessly have often managed to integrate all aspects of themselves. They have built careers that allow them to operate in their strengths and are based on what they truly believe and care about. They prioritize time for themselves that keeps them functioning well, whether that’s a meditation practice, making art, or exercise.
We’ve created a framework for this process that we’re using in our upcoming Connected Leadership Incubator. Over 6 months, we will look at 6 pillars of leadership – the first 3 focused on our internal selves, the next 3 focused on how we connect out in the world. The goal is to unlock not just your potential, but you as a person.
The program is offered entirely online with an in-person leadership retreat at the end. We will have online lessons you do on your own time, one-on-one coaching, and group calls every two weeks. By joining in on the mastermind coaching calls, we see how much our journeys overlap with others’. We get to supercharge our own growth by learning from each other’s wins and challenges, while building a deeper sense of community and support.
As we set off in the new year (and new decade), many of us are in the reflection and goal setting mode. We are looking at what our life was like over the past year and what we want to create now.
However, we can often get distracted from what we truly need when setting our goals. Even when we are using a great methodology (think SMART goals), we might end up reaching externally, focusing on things that will bring validation, or ignoring our inner wisdom in favour of what we THINK we should do. Or for some of us, what we think others want us to do.
To get yourself on track for being your best self and doing your best work, you need to tune in to all aspects of your life. Examine your blindspots. See where you are out of balance. Understand why you want what you want and ask whether that is in service of who you are becoming.
We use the Veza Wheel of Life with our coaching clients to support them in this reflection. Download it and mark it up based on the level of alignment and satisfaction you have in each area of your life. Not only will it give you a benchmark for how you are starting this year, it will show you the areas of your life you have been neglecting. We recommend setting inspired actions or goals around the three lowest scoring areas, so you can bring balance to your life. After completing this exercise, you can begin your annual goal setting from a place of understanding what you truly need to grow.
Wishing you on one of the most creative, fun, abundant, loving years of your life.
Want to set 2020 up to be a year of alignment and growth? Join us for our free webinar 2020 Vision: Creating Aligned Goals for the New Year on January 8th to get coached through your visioning process. Attendees will also receive a free copy of our Goal Setting Guide (usually exclusive to our coaching clients).
I have a love/hate relationship with the coaching industry and coaching in general. Having been a coach for over ten years and been coached over eleven years, I have seen the impact first hand of what coaching can do for you.
My gripes came in when the industry took a turn where it fed on the fears and insecurities of individuals rather than focusing on their strengths and potential for growth.
We saw that the industry was constantly telling people how they were somehow “wrong” if they didn’t easily make 6 figures (without talking about the amount of work and back end is takes to make that happen), living the laptop lifestyle (again having a marketable skill, automation, support and delegation are an important part of the success of this lifestyle) and everything that was “wrong” with you was based on energy, feelings, and belief systems.
I fell into it too. I went through a phase of trying to fix myself because I felt that I wasn’t good enough. I was reading all the marketing that was constantly telling me that in order to make me buy solutions so I wouldn’t feel that way. I worked with experienced coaches and newbies – I let all these people into my energy and my consciousness. I would get off a coaching call, feeling a little less like myself since I had taken on the energy of yet another person who was trying to get in my head. Who wanted to frame what I needed to solve in myself and why I needed to work with them.
The kicker really came to me in January this year, when I finally figured out the real reason why I would feel overwhelmed or feel a little depressed. It wasn’t because I didn’t believe in myself, there was something wrong with me, or that past trauma was impacting me. It was because I had side effects from concussions that I didn’t realize were impacting me. My brain would become overstimulated in crowds, computer screens made me exhausted and unable to function, and fluorescent lights were energy suckers for me.
It was a sigh of relief knowing this was a concussion issue. What angered me was that I had invested heavily in the coaching industry thinking I had to fix something within myself when in reality, it was a physical challenge from past injuries.
What happened after is where the magic was. As I recovered from the concussions, I became more discerning about where I needed growth and where I needed compassion. I also became more discerning about what type of coaching I needed, what type of support I needed.
Do I regret all that I invested in coaching? No, not at all. It taught me who I really am at the core. It taught me to recognize what resonates and what doesn’t. And most importantly, it taught me how to trust myself. Yes, I could have invested a lot less and made fewer mistakes, but I have compassion for myself because in the end of it all, I gained so much as a person.
The coaching industry has flaws, but there is a real place for it as well. If I hadn’t wanted to grow into the person I am today, I wouldn’t have invested in myself. I strengthened my leadership skills, increased my productivity, learned to work smarter rather than harder, understanding my strengths and weaknesses, I learned to ask for help with more ease, trust others more when I have delegated, I also learned when I needed to leave a situation and know how to assess when to enter a new one.
Coaching is something I believe in strongly. I recommend everyone have a coach on a retainer that they can bounce ideas off, use as a soundboard, be accountable to, and who creates a container to allow your growth. Sometimes (most times), it is best to have someone outside of your normal day-to-day life provide the insights and shed light on your blindspots.
When choosing a coach, I recommend becoming clear on what your goal with coaching is. Then seek recommendations for coaches from people you trust. Know for yourself what is important for your own transformation- if they use tools, worksheets, emotional intelligence tests, etc. You may not know their tool in and out, but asking about their methods should be a part of the interview process. I encourage you to try interviewing a few coaches to find a fit of style of coaching.
Here are some key questions to ask when interviewing your prospective coaches:
What type of people have you worked with before?
What type of success have your past clients had?
Where did you learn coaching techniques? (I strongly recommend engaging someone who has gone through a coaching program and has a coaching certificate. The ICF (International Coaches Certification) is great as well, but not all great coaches have it. Usually corporates, not individuals, are the ones that look for the ICF certification).
What was their background before coaching? (The industry is unregulated, therefore it is important for you that they bring relevant experience and education.)
What are their fees? (Remember that you are paying for their education, experience, skills, and talent over the years, so their coaching fees should reflect that experience.)
Everyone can benefit from coaching at different points in their career, but as it is a significant investment in yourself, make sure you find someone you want to work with and who you feel can provide the support you need!
If you are considering pursuing coaching with Veza Community, schedule your complimentary coaching consult today! We’d be happy to answer the above questions and anything else you might be curious about.
At Veza, we honour the work of inspiring leaders every single day. Not just the known and notable but rather, everyday women who are drawing upon and celebrating their culture while making a lasting difference in their community using their gifts. From authors and teachers, CEOs to entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors, artists, and more, these women are changing the face of leadership.
These are truly women to watch and Veza Community is so pleased to share their brilliance.
May their stories inspire YOU to rise.
Meet Hurriya Burney
Hurriya Burney is Vice President, Commercial Banking, at RBC Royal Bank. She leads a team of 13 Commercial Accounts and leads RBC’s Healthcare segment strategy in BC. Hurriya holds an MBA in Finance from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelors in Economics & Business and English from Lafayette College.
Tell me in 100 words who you are? How would you describe yourself.
A sales leader in financial services passionate about diversity and inclusion, I am committed to mentoring and supporting others to achieve their career goals. I am also a writer who aims to inspire and motivate others by sharing my leadership, career, and life lessons on Medium.com/@burneyhurriya. I believe in giving back to my community through engagement with organizations such as Veza and Female Funders. An immigrant to Canada, I am proud to call Vancouver home for the last 10 years. I am energized by travel, building new connections, learning from others’ stories, and taking on new challenges.
What motivates/inspires you to get up each morning?
The thought of having a positive impact on someone’s life and contributing to someone’s career growth. I love to spend time with my team in market, solving problems and delighting clients together.
What contribution are you most proud of to date?
I am extremely proud of mentoring a bright, ambitious young woman through Veza and having a material impact on her confidence and self-belief.
What is it that you feel that you teach others through how you act/show up each day?
My goal is to be a role model for minority women, showing them that they can ascend to senior levels in the corporate world. I also aim to be a relatable leader who is not afraid to make herself vulnerable and to share her flaws. I teach others about hard work, perseverance, and the value of being bold and advocating for yourself.
What’s one change you would like to see in this world?
Acceptance of all of the differences that make us unique – but also makes us human. I firmly believe in never judging others when you haven’t lived their lives and in treating everyone exactly the same, whether it is a janitor or a CEO.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
‘When’ by Daniel Pink. ‘The 10X Rule’ by Grant Cardone. ‘A House in the Sky’ by Amanda Lindhout