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Reflecting on Weather, Diversity, and Leadership: A Potpourri of Thoughts

Looking west to Cerro Pedernal, New Mexico.

Introduction: The scorching heat of the desert Southwest has prompted me to seek refuge in the cool comforts of air-conditioned spaces or retreat to nearby mountain ranges for a breath of fresh air. As I contemplate recent events and draw from my experience as an executive coach and organizational consultant, I offer to you a diverse collection of thoughts in this blog.

Weather and Vulnerability: The Independence Day weekend brought about a somber incident involving some relatives who tragically misjudged the impact of heat during a mountain hike, resulting in the loss of their beloved dog. Many in the U.S. and elsewhere are facing weather-related challenges with much more serious consequences, due to severe thunderstorms, historic flooding, tornadoes, as well as extreme heat. All these events serve as poignant reminders of our vulnerability to extreme weather conditions due to climate change in today’s world.

Diversity in Higher Education: Another topic that weighs on my mind is the recent U.S. Supreme
Court decision to ban affirmation action in the college admission process. While it will undoubtedly
take time and concerted effort, I remain optimistic that our highly selective universities (which admit only 2% to 20% of applicants) will find innovative ways to continue to create diverse student cohorts. These institutions are driven by a commitment to both learning and positive societal outcomes, recognizing the high value of diverse perspectives, experiences, and contributions in maintaining social stability, fostering innovation, and securing a competitive position for our society in the global marketplace. As most college applicants apply to much less selective colleges, the impact of this ruling on the large majority of students will be less significant. However, ensuring economic mobility for many will require raising the quality of education at the colleges the vast majority of students attend.

The Significance of Diversity in Organizations: Having worked extensively as a coach and consultant, I have witnessed the great importance of diverse talent pools in successful organizations. These companies thoughtfully select their new employees with an eye toward diversity and invest in their development. By fostering an organizational culture of dialogue centered around growth, support, well-being, accountability, and performance, they embrace the understanding that sound judgment and effective decision-making require considering diverse perspectives, constructive dissent, psychological safety, and feedback. Organizations benefit from the advantages afforded by a diverse workforce, especially those that rely on technology, science, and innovation.

Navigating Complexity and Superpowers: As I engage with a wide range of clients, I have had the privilege of coaching Asian-Americans from various national backgrounds, many of whom are first or second-generation U.S. citizens. I also work with African Americans, individuals of Hispanic and Latinx backgrounds, as well as others from diverse backgrounds. These individuals often possess unique professional and personal experiences that are sometimes overlooked by their colleagues in the workplace. Due to their diverse backgrounds, their decision-making processes, self-presentation, and even the choice to voice their opinions become more problematic, demanding extra energy. However, I have observed that these challenging experiences contribute to their “superpowers” in understanding power structures, leading organizational change, and skillfully navigating the complexity of their ecosystems. Nonetheless, they may require coaching to fully comprehend the extent of their leadership capabilities and to harness them to achieve personal and professional goals and benefits to the organization. Unfortunately, depending on the organization, these individuals may face fatigue, disillusionment, or worse due to the realities they encounter.

The Power of Collaboration and Leadership Development: I am deeply grateful for the trust my clients place in me, enabling our collaboration to accelerate their development. Together, our shared goals revolve around reducing stress levels, enhancing leadership effectiveness, and increasing their growth in the workplace. In my practice, I transition from a focused coaching model to thought leadership, leveraging my background in business, science, and the arts to help individuals and teams grow into strategic leaders. This approach equips them to effectively address the complex challenges and environment in which they work and live.

Looking Ahead: In the coming months, Fénix Leadership & Development will be launching a new
website. Despite the disruptive weather of summer and early fall, our dedicated team is diligently
working to present new ideas and perspectives that will better support our clients. Stay tuned for the exciting release!

Conclusion: This blog has delved into a variety of topics, from the impact of weather-related vulnerabilities to the importance of diversity in higher education and organizations. It has also
emphasized the challenges faced by individuals from diverse backgrounds in the workplace, highlighting the significance of coaching and support. Through creating collaborative relationships
and fostering leadership development, we strive to empower individuals and teams to navigate the
complexities of their professional lives successfully. As we forge ahead, Fénix Leadership &
Development remains committed to providing valuable insights and support to our clients, even amid the challenges posed by changing seasons of weather and political culture.

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eileen O'Grady
6 months ago

Beautifully written and great to read your work. you are saying the truth!

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