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Viewing entries tagged with 'diversity'

Day of anti-silence

Posted by Philip on 11 June 2015, 6:41 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 June is the "Day of Silence", "a day of action in which students across New Zealand vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, name-calling and harassment in schools."

At Epsom Girls Grammar School, however, 12 June will be a day of anti-silence. Students who are part of DIVINQ – a process targeted at senior students that I co-created with Jeannie Grant, which uses philosophical inquiry to explore the ways our identity is limited by assumptions, labels and fear of difference –will be taking a different tack.

We'll be shouting about bullying all over the school at lunchtime.

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Gender neutral education recommendations a huge step forward

Posted by Philip on 1 June 2015, 11:13 am in , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Ministry of Education's new curriculum guidelines released last week, aimed at improving sex education and diversity for students, seem almost too good to be true. Actually they are, because they are not mandatory.

Recommendations for non-gendered uniforms, same-sex partners at school balls, reviewing toilet spaces and making sport less gender-specific are no-brainers in our day and age — actually they've been no-brainers for decades.

These guidelines show surprisingly courageous change leadership from the Ministry. But there's always some right-wing plonker, who purports to represent the moral majority, ready to go into bat for the status quo (as I posted about recently).

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Leadership vs representation

Posted by Philip on 27 May 2015, 10:10 am in , , , , ,

What is the distinction between leadership and representation? If I were to draw a diagram it would be a triangle with leadership at the pointed end and representation at the flat end.

I'm not sure which way up the triangle is – it may change from time to time and from situation to situation, with the point being at the top, bottom or even on the side.

It seems to me leadership has sharp focus and works best with fewer people. The more leadership becomes representative, diversity increases, the softer the focus and the more people, issues and opinions there are to accommodate.

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When everything goes wrong rightly

Posted by Philip on 24 May 2015, 11:25 am in , , , , , ,

"Incorrect" with "in" crossed outKathryn Shultz quotes Ira Glass in her excellent TED Talk, On Being Wrong. She does so to add another example of how we go through life in "a bubble of feeling right" when, in fact, we seldom are.

"I thought this one thing was going to happen and something else happened instead. And the thing is, we need this. We need these moments of surprise and reversal and wrongness to make [our] stories work." — Ira Glass, Host, This American Life.

Leadership, diversity, complexity and change, the spaces in which my work most often falls, are bastions of wrongness.

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Should entrepreneurs close things down?

Posted by Philip on 9 May 2015, 11:37 am in , , , , ,

closed signThe easiest way to define an entrepreneur is "someone who starts things". I've been given the mantels of both creative and social entrepreneur (it's one of those things you are recognised for – you don't decide for yourself). Entrepreneurship might be explained as "start-up leadership".

So as a creative and social start-up leader, I've started lots of things – organisations, projects, websites – in the realm of creativity and social issues or change. Many have concluded of their own accord (projects, for instance, because they have a beginning, middle and end); and others I've walked intentfully away from (organisations where people have taken them in directions I've disagreed with, or I've realised I with my penchant and skills for starting things, need to be replaced by someone who can maintain and grow the entity).

In 2005 I started Diversityworks Trust Inc., the only start-up I have stayed with (as trustee and Executive Director) since its inception. I originally started the Trust to fundraise for Momentum'09, an international symposium on creative diversity. Due to the financial crash in 2008, we lost critical funding and had to downscale from the planned four-day event at SkyCity to one day in Royal Oak.

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Flying with wheels – a uniquely common event

Posted by Philip on 6 May 2015, 4:30 pm in , , , , , ,

I fly a lot. More often than I'd choose. But I fly when the need beckons – though seldom, even never, unless I'm issuing an invoice.

Last Monday saw me fly from Auckland to Wellington and back in a day – relievedly, an almost unprecedented phenomenon. I was with Sam and Kylie again (about whom I wrote a week or so back). It was Kylie's first time flying with me – or anyone using a wheelchair I believe – so Sam and I created a list of common occurrences for Kylie to "check off" as we went from airport to plane and plane to airport. Twice. In one day.

The list went something like this:

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5 ways to avoid assumptions

Posted by Philip on 18 April 2015, 9:14 am in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We all do it. See someone new and, within seconds, our brains start making up stories about them. Or we meet them, exchange a few words and before we know it, we're filling in the gaps with our imaginations. The result? Assumptions.

I did it recently, ironically right after running a workshop on accessibility and confidence for health staff. My colleagues Kylie, Sam and I were about to get into the car when an elderly gentleman approached us.

"As always happens in hospitals," he said, "I'm lost."

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Individual vs collective impact

Posted by Philip on 14 April 2015, 6:23 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today at a hui of one of my regular clients I was reminded of an important tension and interesting phenomenon in organisational dynamics. It's blogged about ad in finitum.

The tension is the value of meetings over that of individual productivity. The phenomenon is the power of "collective influence" (Alex Smith).

Meetings get a bad rap these days. Particularly online businesses favour virtual teams, online collaboration etc. Alex reckoned 90% of meeting content is irrelevant. People are busy. Time is precious.

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Kids, meaning and agility

Posted by Philip on 4 April 2015, 1:03 pm in , , , , , , , , ,

Recently I spent an hour at Rosebank Primary School in Avondale, speaking as a Duffy Books in Homes Role Model. It’s something I’ve done a couple of times each year since connecting with Linda Vagana, Duffy’s GM, when we both did the Leadership New Zealand programme in 2012.

It’s a tough but rewarding gig. Primary-aged kids pull no punches as an audience. I’m not the usual and as I begin to speak, the giggles start.

I resist the urge to ask, “What are you laughing at?” To begin with anyway. Instead I ask all 500 to introduce themselves to me – their name, where they come from and a secret about them – all at once. The hall erupts with noise and laughter.

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What loos need to lose

Posted by Philip on 6 March 2015, 5:21 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My friend Jeannie over at Bikes for Fish posted an article from Huffpost Gay Voices about "bills [that] have been filed in three [US] states to prevent transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity." Described as "last gasp attempts to hurt LGBT people", legal acts like this illuminate a more deeply entrenched assumption about dunnies:

That they need to be gender-specific at all.

I'm not your average bloke, but I've always wondered why public toilets are separated by gender. And what's with urinals? We don't have either in private dwellings.

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