We will address:
- A Quest for Unity and Understanding
- Chesapeake News
A Quest for Unity and Understanding
He pushed my new book towards the center of our table and said, “This systemic racism stuff is all garbage and is politically motivated. All of this is stirred up and fanned by the media and they have a political agenda.” He elaborated and spoke with passion for about five minutes. He is an excellent orator as it is a job requirement for him. There was an uncomfortable silence. This was supposed to be a group that focused on empathy and unity. I was thinking to myself that we were not off to a good start.
However – anything that is worthwhile, that you want and currently do not have lies outside your comfort zone. Improved racial harmony surely fits the bill – it is worthy, we want it and we currently do not have it.
We got the uncomfortable part down pat so we must be on the right track. We were all uncomfortable. The makeup of our group was five white men all over 50 and one black man who was 25 – young enough to be the child or grandchild for the rest of us.
One of the other white guys who is the leader of a large manufacturing facility seemed to validate the first man’s point by telling us of an incident at his facility. A few years ago, his facility was going through a union negotiation that turned into a nasty racial incident with lots of name calling that we are all too familiar with. What should have been a business-like environment had turned emotional and people’s feelings were hurt and on edge. Both men had facts and data to back up their assertions that some of what was being claimed with respect to racism simply was not true; numbers have no color.
When it came time for the young black man to speak, he looked the first man in the eyes and said, “I appreciate your passion. I agree with a lot of what you had to say. Thank you.” The young man played wide receiver at the University of Alabama and dealt with Nick Saban as a coach and Ruben Foster who loved to deliver vicious hits on young wide receivers running a slant pattern. Several church going old white guys were not going to ruffle his feathers. He oozed confidence and fit into the group well.
Each person in the group was comfortable with at least several others as we had all been in some sort of a group together before and four of us were members of the same church, which includes the young black man. The bond and trust that we had prior to our meeting trumped any temporary tension that might have occurred. We were all good.
The session ended in calmer discussions, swapping of prayer request, prayer and an excitement and anticipation about our next week’s meeting.
The meeting did not go away and stayed on our mind all week. The young black man has made two trips to our office to just sit around and shoot the bull and dialogue. We are learning and growing.
Being somewhat of a geek, I wanted to see if I could diagram the dilemma we were facing. At one time in my career, I spent a lot of time with the “thinking processes” that were developed by Dr. Eli Goldratt and his colleagues in the Theory of Constraints Community. One of the tools used was an “evaporating cloud.” In the cloud you tried to develop a logical diagram of a core problem. Behind any connection in logic there is at least one underlying assumption and there are techniques for exposing the assumptions. Once they are exposed one may prove to be erroneous or you could do something to make it invalid. The first step is drawing the diagram and the technique I have always used is to define the conflict. A conflict is “on one hand I want to do this. But on the other hand, I want to do that.” One assumption is that you can’t do both (if so there would be no conflict).
When I go back and reread the answer to the question I asked my black friends to begin the book; “If you could snap your fingers and make it happen, what would you want white men to understand about racism?” I embrace every word of what they had to say. It is truth.
So, is the conflict “on one hand I want to embrace what my black friends say about racism and by doing so I am being empathic; but on the other hand I want to insure what I am embracing is in alignment with the facts and reality and by doing so I maintain personal integrity.” If I am empathetic and embrace truth I have a confident and defendable approach to racial harmony.
Does the above paragraph capture the dilemma? I don’t know. However, it is a start. You, the reader are watching the process unfold. I do not know where this small group of guys is going to end up. I do want to honor the fact that they have entered the arena – and that is admirable and rare. Most do not enter the arena on such an uncomfortable topic. These are men I really admire.
My intent is for this year’s blogs to be focused on unity. That may change down the road but for now, that is the intent. We would love for you to join us in this ongoing conversation. You can do so by:
- If you don’t have peace, it isn’t because someone took if from you; you gave it away. John Maxwell
- Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols. John Calvin
- Learn to say “no” to the good so you can say “yes” to the best. John Maxwell
- To many a world without dogs would lose a considerable amount of its charm. John Blackie
- The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one. John Maxwell
- Idolatry starts in the heart: craving, wanting, enjoying, being satisfied by anything that you treasure more than God. John Piper
- Question for God every morning: What is the main event today? What do you want me to focus on today? John Maxwell
- Emotional intelligence is the ability to make emotions work for you, instead of against you.
This year is starting off a lot better than 2020. We have already closed more new business than all of 2020.
We are adding a new dimension to our leadership development suite – emotional intelligence. We already have the capacity to test for EI and we plan to add training programs to improve it. We are excited concerning many of the ways we can help our customers with this new product.
Leigh and Dan have completed two of John Maxwell books with regard to supplying video education to go along with the books. Contact us for more information.