The Power Shift Podcast – The Power of Alignment with Shahana Banerjee

Sharon:

My guest today is Shahana Banerjee. She is the founder of Just Human, Not Resources. She’s an inclusive leadership expert, business leadership and career coach and an avid writer. She’s got 23 years of experience across business contexts. Whether business transformation, accelerated growth startups across the pharma, medical devices, consumer products, and tech industries. She has seen it all and grown multibillion dollar businesses. Most of these across Fortune 500 companies. Shahana has lived and worked, lead and managed diverse teams internationally. I’m so excited to have you on the Power Shift Podcast. Shahana, just get us started here. You have been in a corporate context for many years. Just tell us to begin, like how did you come into your power?

Shahana:

Thank you so much, Sharon. It’s a pleasure to be with you. It’s an honor and a privilege to be with you and your listeners today. It’s a great question. As I think of my journey of coming into power, I think it begins actually with being powerless. I lost my father very early in life and if you talk to anyone who’s ever lost a parent, I think it comes with this feeling of powerlessness, but also a feeling of insecurity. You’re always almost afraid to be happy. You’re almost waiting for the other shoe to drop. That feeling of insecurity is a difficult one to handle. My mother actually is the one who is a force of nature, I have to say. In many ways she is relentless, but as exhausting as she is relentless.

Shahana:

I think she is the one who instilled hope and courage in us. I think hope is about being able to go on when the things are at the worst possible point, but you sort of still cling onto the fact that it can be better. Courage is about saying that you have urgency, you can actually make a difference. You can stand up for yourself, and that’s critical. I think the third piece that she taught us, which is perhaps even more important is the fact that you have a choice. She gave us the gift of choice. Through our entire life she never made a single decision for us. She actually empowered us to make our own decisions no matter what age we were.

Shahana:

I remember as a kid, once during an exam, I was like, “Oh my God, I can’t. I absolutely cannot go for this exam. I’m not prepared.” So I told her, “Look, I have this stomachache, I cannot go for this exam.” And she was like, “Okay, don’t go. It’s fine. As long as you’ve thought through the consequences of not going, you are free to make the decision.” That was horrible because it would be so much easier to put it on her rather than to take ownership and face the consequences of my own decision.

Sharon:

Yeah, I hear that [crosstalk 00:14:00] a lot. That, that’s really a theme, actually, of being in your power and you really recognize where that came from, from your early experience.

Shahana:

She gave me the gift of urgency. The fact that I can determine my own destiny. Of course there is luck and all of that, but I have the power to actually do something positive to make a change, which I think is really what has shaped my career over the years. There have been millions of moments where I’ve had to make a decision on, do I pursue the path of least resistance or do I question status quo? That’s really what power is at the end of the day. Which is that being able to make that choice and being able to live with the choice that you made in terms of whether or not you sort of stand up and make your voice heard, give your ideas of oxygen and really pull it through or not.

Shahana:

Even very early in my career, I remember this. This is an embarrassing story. Very early in my career, I entered the corporate world naive and starry-eyed. I had never [inaudible 00:15:13] at an organization before.

Sharon:

We’ve all been there.

Shahana:

I saw possibilities wherever I went. I was like, “Oh my God we can change this and we can change this. And why don’t we do this, this way?” So, I created this 36-page document, very dramatically called [inaudible 00:15:34] which I said to our CHRO, saying that, “Look, there are all of these things which we need to improve, and here’s what we need to do about it.” Thankfully, he was the kind of leader who… He could have chosen to be dismissive or patronizing or just discount the ideas, but he was somebody who chose to see potential, not arrogance. He said, “Okay, you have so many ideas. Why don’t you do something about it?”

Shahana:

He asked me to create this rewards and recognition program as somebody fresh out of college for an entire organization. I was so excited. I don’t think I realized it by then, but worked day and night, read everything I could, talked to every person I possibly could, to be able to do something like that, which was so inspiring to me. It also gave me a view of how, as a leader, you can help somebody blossom versus be soul-crushing and not give any oxygen to their ideas. So that was an interesting sort of… And I think it shaped me in my career as I have gone on to be a leader myself.

Sharon:

What an inspiring story. So how did it shape you? As a lesson of how maybe a young person full of vision and enthusiasm can see that, actually, they have so much more power than they think?

Shahana:

Yes. That’s exactly what my takeaway was. Even though I don’t think I realized it quite then, I just took it for granted at that point that, “Of course, [inaudible 00:17:21],” but he had no reason to. I think it just showed me how differently you can impact as a leader. Actually, finally I did create this entire program, which by the way, exists even now, 23 years later in some shape or form, still with the organization. I think it just helped me realize that when you question status quo and you are doing it from a place where you’re thinking, not of yourself, but of others. You’re trying to lift others, you’re trying something to do something good for everyone, that it’s something everyone can benefit from, I think that’s where you make the biggest difference. I think that’s why, in so many situations, people give you a chance because they see that what you’re trying to do is not just in service of yourself, but it’s in service of others.

Sharon:

Yeah. That’s beautiful. That’s so in alignment with the kind of work that I’m doing in the world, helping women executives to be change agents and it’s very much a theme, what we’ve talked about on the Power Shift Podcast. It sounds like in your example, you said that people gave you a chance and they encouraged you. I think that’s right that, that does happen sometimes. Especially when you can make the business case for it, or when you’re a passionate advocate and know how to enroll people in your vision. But let’s get into it because many of the clients that come to me are executives who have a vision that would be in the best interest of all. And they’re trying to propose this within their companies or their communities, but they’re getting that resistance from the “powers that be.”

Sharon:

So my sense is that it was so much success in the corporate world for so many years. You’ve been there, done that many times. So, I’d love to hear, first, how does power work in an organization? What should somebody know when they’re approaching to try to make a change? Then, maybe we can hear from some of your stories about what worked and what didn’t.

Shahana:

I think power is the ability to drive positive change. It’s like positive impact and change, I would say. But it can be a double-edged sword. Because when used well you can do incredible things when you merge individual and collective power. But it can also be extremely polarizing and politics and paralyzing and debilitating when power is used adversely in so many situations. I think what happens is that which end of the spectrum you land on depends really on who has power? Why did they want power? What, or how they choose to use it? Do they use it for uplifting themselves or do they use it to lift up others? I think that makes a big difference in essentially how… And this is like, if you peel away all the layers of the idea, I think that’s the core of what you finally get to.

Shahana:

When you use it to uplift yourself, I think it leads to a lot of, often leads to, I think politics. If you think about politics, politics is all about how do we retain power in the hands of those who have it, bottom line. If you look at the other side of the spectrum, when you use power to uplift others, I think it really can transform an organization. Think of any organization that’s gone through a mega turnaround that has accelerated growth. These are the places where you see that people are pulling together despite all of their individual differences, because they are bound together, for example, by power of purpose, and they are able to really merge their individual bar and bring it into a collective sort of a way as a force to bear on what they want to impact.

Shahana:

So I think that’s really the dynamics at play, but as you then look at… So, the question really becomes, “How do you therefore, or can you even harness power at different levels?” So, if you look at an individual level, for example, or team level or a leader level, or for that matter, organizational level, what are the ways that power comes into play? Because power’s an interplay of many, many, many factors in an organization. From market dynamics to policies, systems, procedures, organization structures, the way roles and responsibilities are decided and fixed, the kind of matrix you have. So, many other factors actually determine the interplay of power in every organization. It leads to so many different permutations and combinations that are possible.

Sharon:

Think about it like that actually across the different levels, like you’re saying. So could you give us an example, maybe, of how you used power and leveraged the energies and buy-in of people at any one of those levels. And then if you’re willing to share another embarrassing story, but not so embarrassing, but just a learning opportunity, maybe, of how it did or how didn’t work. [inaudible 00:23:16] story.

Shahana:

I might have to be a little foggy on the details but I [inaudible 00:23:26]

Sharon:

Oh, sure. Absolutely.

Shahana:

A few years ago, we had an interesting situation where essentially, I think, the organization was really struggling to work together in a seamless way. The original hypothesis was, “Look, we have a culture thing. Let’s go figure out what the full culture issue is.” As we started looking at what is the culture issue, basically people told us, “Look, we have way too many meetings and these meetings are really ineffective.” In the past, a lot of work had been done around just trying to figure out how to make meetings more effective. But as I came into this particular project, I was like, “Look, is meetings the issue? Why are we having these meetings?”

Shahana:

I think the question why leads to a very different sort of analysis as compared to how do we improve the productivity of meetings, because that just presupposes that you need to have all of these meetings. When you look at why you need to have meetings, you realize that perhaps you need way too many levels of approvals. Why do you need too many approvals? Is it because we don’t trust each other? Is it because our goals are not aligned? So then as you peel the onion you sort of realize that the core of the problem is something else. What I did was pull together a group of very senior leaders and we had this group that created a movement. Because I think change can’t happen by one person trying to do something small in a contained environment. I think change has to be a movement that touches everyone.

Shahana:

What we essentially, we analyzed in terms of what were the three biggest things that would move the needle. We went after it with all our might and that really led to a significant transformation in the organization. But it was this core group of leaders coming together from different walks of life and a diverse set of leaders as well representing different functions, different kinds of roles in the organization that came together, and because they were tied by this common goal or a common purpose of really landing on the root cause of what would really have the biggest impact, we were able to get to that core and then create the right kind of processes, systems that would help the organization move forward with this mindset of being able to work end to end, being able to see the impact of the work that you’re doing. Being able to work towards common goals rather than all of our self-serving goals and objectives in the organization.

Sharon:

What’s very empowering, so to speak, about this story is that you came into the situation and one of the ways that you have power from the very beginning was your perspective. And interestingly enough, you actually had an outsider perspective because you sort of came into the project. I want our listeners to really get that because an outsider perspective is really helpful. Actually, you sort of brought that beginner’s mind, that fresh perspective, and were able to ask why. You were able to see beyond business as usual. You shared a powerful truth from your perspective and that set up what later became an influencing process and you got buy-in from across leaders. But I think I want listeners to really get that actually, that it really came from your own smarts and your own strategic perception and your own outsider perspective.

Shahana:

To add to what you said, I think there’s also the power of obvious questions. I think we really underestimate the power of obvious questions sometimes. It’s almost like we all operate saying that, “Okay, this is the paradigm, and how do we move forward?” Without often questioning some of the foundational realities that we take for granted. It’s almost like we have to be questioning really fundamentals to get to the root causes, to get to the truth often. Your earlier question on resistance, we had a lot of resistance initially, especially from, like you said, the powers that be. I think the question for us is, why is there resistance? I think without understanding why there is a resistance… Because it’s not that people mean bad, right? It’s not that people don’t want to do what’s right. It’s that they have a lot of worries, insecurities, fears and concerns about the work that we are trying to undertake.

Shahana:

So it’s about finding ways to understand why they have a concern and then addressing that head on, because ultimately we all want the same thing, which is we want the organization to be successful. We want it to grow. We want to do meaningful work and be able to contribute towards consumers’ lives in a positive way.

Sharon:

So again, this is kind of fun to even ask you this, but you’ve been at quite senior levels of Fortune 500 organizations along the way. So, we could even consider that some people have considered you a “powers that be.” Or you worked with other people who… You probably never thought about it that way. You worked with people who were really at senior levels and who were setting policies forth. So, I’m just kind of curious, what have you observed? Because you were just sharing, I think a very important observation. It’s not like people are deliberately trying to be defiant of your ideas, but is that what you’ve observed that maybe there’s a personal insecurity or… if so, what is that? I know this is a generalization, but maybe just think of an example or two that you think is really common or is it that they’re just not aware of kind of the benefit of this change that will take place or they don’t see that they have the power to do anything about it? What have you observed? You’ve been on the inside.

Shahana:

I think the most important thing is the why, which is that I don’t think people align on the why. That I think is probably the one that is the biggest one to get right. Solutioning comes later, otherwise we’ll end up creating solutions, looking for problems. But we have to have clarity around, “Is there an issue?” Then, what is the issue? I think the difference of opinion is usually on, “Is there an issue? What is the issue?” Then, how urgent or how imminent is the problem. Should we be investing our resources right now in trying to fix it or do we just kick the can down the road for a little bit and wait? I think those are the three things that you have to… I often think that the difference of opinion between leaders and their teams are on these three things.

Shahana:

Once you have an ability to show to the leader that, “Look, here is what the issue is that we are seeing. Here is why, we have talk to all these people in the organization. We have conducted surveys, focus groups. This is what people are telling us.” That you think the strategy is all set and perfect, they don’t know what it is, for example. They don’t know how their work ties into the strategy that we have. There are so many layers of that we could perhaps be. Then the second is, if people don’t know what they’re supposed to do in order to really achieve the strategy, then is it not urgent? Of course it is urgent. So, I think when you’re able to really explain to the leader, who may not always have a feel for the conversations at the ground level. I think it really helps them to understand the seriousness of the issue, why it is an issue. Because I think what happens in a lot of cases is that leaders take some things for granted. Take it for granted that my team is going to work together. Why? They may or they may not depending or various factors.

Shahana:

I think as a leader, you’ve got to understand whether they are actually indeed working together. Whether they are truly pulling their might towards common goals or are they pulling their might towards self-serving goals. So I think we have to be able to help the leader to really get an insight into some of these areas. That helps you get them on the same page, because change really isn’t possible unless your top management is truly behind it 100% and they’re active sponsors of the change.

Sharon:

So that’s really helpful advice for someone who’s trying to make change or get buy-in in a company. I think it’s really valuable insight what you shared because I would say most of the women executives who I work with, when I first meet them or getting some form of a no, or a non-response or non buy-in, which is frustrating for them when they feel that they have a vision that would be in the best interest of all. So, what we’re saying here is that you have to be really effective in your influencing approach. Then, this is a lot of what goes on in our coaching is to help change agents be strategic and to really think about that alignment. To really take off your own head and think about it from the point of view of the executive. I think your advisement on that is really valuable.

Shahana:

I think the other piece of it is that the leaders or the powers that be, need to know why this is so important to you. Often, I think we don’t necessarily always talk about it in terms of why is it important. I used to work with a leader, with a CEO, many, many years ago now. But his first 20 responses would be no, no matter what you went to him with, his responses would be no and he would ask you a hundred questions. And I think part of it was to just test how strongly do you feel about this. How strongly do you feel? Are you giving up or are you willing to fight for it because you truly believe that this is the thing that will make the most difference? I think that was his way of testing. I would not recommend it but it was certainly his way of testing as to whether someone was truly passionate about this topic and whether it was important enough for them to keep going back to him because they felt that it was the right thing to do.

Sharon:

How did you ultimately have power with him, which is, I would have bet on you. How did you ultimately have power with him?

Shahana:

Oh, I convinced him of a whole lot of things, but I think part of it was just learning how his mind works. He was one of those ridiculously smart individuals and it always felt like he knew more about the topic than anyone else did, no matter what the topic was. Which was then, I think, more of an indication to me that the kind of prep that I needed to be able to talk to him was a different level. I would think of all kinds of variables. I think we do this often, where our frame is so small that we are only looking at the problem and the solution. We are not looking, we are not widening our aperture to be able to look at all of the variables that impact a particular decision and what kind of an interplay of factors could there be. What scenarios could emerge?

Shahana:

So just being able to think through all of it. Actually, I think I learned a lot from that particular experience which was just being able to expand thinking in terms of making sure that you’re going through with the most robust proposal. I think the number of no’s started reducing over time, and certainly his questions reduced over time because the answers were already there.

Sharon:

Right. He really came to trust you. In hindsight, what incredible training. He really put you through your paces. Now, it probably comes as second nature to you when you are coming to get buy-in.

Shahana:

Yeah.

Sharon:

Is there anything that you’ve observed in your experiences about how different people use power or come into power? There’s one thing I was just following up on, something you said earlier, kind of having that outsider status. I know that my very first podcast, actually, the Power Shift Podcast, we were talking with two women who are helping to get more women into the electoral process around the world. They were saying that women often bring an outsider perspective. That as an outsider, they said that they have less to lose when it comes to the status quo. They’re not as “attached” to it. I thought something that you said a few minutes ago just sort of reminded me of that. So, I’m just wondering, is anything in your experience, if someone is underrepresented on the leadership team or like you yourself here in the United States are a woman of color. Is there anything that you’ve seen about how different people have a different approach to coming into power? Or whether you’re already in power or whether you’re underrepresented, just anything that you’ve observed.

Shahana:

That’s a good question. I think there are some small differences in when you look at gender or when you look at representation and different ethnicities, different races, etc. But I think the bigger issue often is that we all work towards a certain norm afar. That norm is defined, it’s like a mental framework. It is defined by those who were in those particular situations and roles before. That, unfortunately, in many, many, many, many, many cases is a single demographic. So, what happens is that our norms are often defined by a single demographic. What does leadership mean? What are the leadership qualities that are really critical in organizations? All of that, I think, is really a difficult piece because whether men, women, whatever your race might be, whatever your ethnicity might be, you end up having to conform to some of those norms in order to get ahead. Which is a challenge because are you really leaning on your natural style or are you really changing your style in order to be able to move forward in the organization? Is that doing you justice as a leader?

Sharon:

So anything [crosstalk 00:40:26] your own experiences of that?

Shahana:

I’ve had coping mechanisms, but I think early in life… Maybe I’ll share one. So pretty early in life, like I said, I made a decision that I would sort of question status quo and that would be, I think, my… I think there’s a lot that my brand is about, which is about unconventional thinking and sort of bringing in perspectives that are often not main stream into a conversation. In the initial years, I remember being in this one meeting where I brought up this idea and it was completely glossed over. When a male colleague made the same idea, everyone was like, “Oh my God, what a brilliant idea.” I’m sitting there went, “Hey, didn’t I just say that?” But that happens often. So my way of coping with it was that I would be the ideas person. I would come up with so many ideas that you would not be able to ignore me. Each of those ideas would be equally implementable, equally transformational and they would be equally out of the box.

Shahana:

It’s almost like I started to work on a brand, which I think has perhaps helped me in my career. Because then you start becoming known as the ideas person, as the person to go to for various things because people see that you are the one bringing… And even now there might be ideas that I raised which other people are credited for, but you can’t ignore the fact that there are so many ideas coming that at the end of the day, you will sort of get credit for some of it for sure. But I think what happens is that it happens often in organizations that, especially, whether it is women, whether it is underrepresented folks, minorities when there is ideas, those ideas aren’t heard in the same manner as the dominant groups often. How do we amplify those ideas? How do we make sure that they are heard?

Shahana:

If you’re getting credit for somebody else’s idea, it’s okay to say that, “Hey, it was not my idea, it was Shahana’s.” Or Sharon’s for that matter. I think people feel really awkward about doing it, but the more you do it, the more you ensure that people are not getting glossed over. Their ideas are being heard and they have a voice.

Sharon:

So I definitely want to just reiterate what you said about amplifying voices, because that’s a way of sharing power. I love your story about how you just kind of… That’s a way of being in your power. You kind of took control over your brand and I love it. It’s like you were so abundant and valuable with your ideas that you couldn’t be ignored. I just love that. I want everyone to aspire to that. You’ve shared a thousand reasons already in this podcast interview of why I could see how you’ve been successful and gotten so much buy-in and brought so many people along with you. I want to hear about your latest idea. Another one that you’re taking action on and showing courage around. You’re the founder of Just Human, Not Resources. Okay, so this is like too good of a statement as a moniker and as a movement. So tell us what you’re up to now.

Shahana:

I think in my 23 years, I’ve worked with some of the greatest organizations, but the one thing that I’ve realized is that we often talk about people being our greatest asset, but we rarely act like it. We rarely act like it in so many different ways. If you look at global engagement surveys, whether it is Gallup, whether it is ADPRI, depending on what report you’re looking at, people who are fully engaged range between 14 to 20% of the population, that’s terrible. When you look at resilience, 15% of people are highly resilient in the last survey that came out in 2020. If you look at levels of stress, when you look at between 40 and 60%, again, depending on which report you’re looking at, people have experienced daily stress. Which means that it’s not the one-time stress of having a big project come out or anything like that. It is the fact that you’re experiencing stress on a daily basis.

Shahana:

When you look at what people think in terms of leadership, on one hand leadership can surely help you blossom and come into your own as a person and be effective and be meaningfully contributing. On the other hand, you look at all of these survey data, whether it is you look at the Monster survey in 2018 that talks about how over 75% of people either currently have, or have recently had a toxic boss, that’s just terrible. Whether you look at other surveys that talk about some 84% of people saying that their people managers are poorly trained and therefore cause unnecessary work and stress.

Shahana:

Half of them feel that they would be more effective in their performance if they had a better leader or their leader was better trained. So the world of work is a little broken. It is not sustainable what we are doing to ourselves. So, I think it all started with saying, “Look, we’ve got to do something about this.” it is hard to do something about this. Can we do something about this at a larger scale, is really what we started with. Now, obviously there is so much to do and so little time. So we said, “Alone, we cannot create a movement but this has to be a movement at the end of the day.”

Sharon:

A lot of listeners are saying Amen as they’re listening to you so keep going. Amen.

Shahana:

The first two things, and this is just been two months, we left two months ago. So this has been two months in the making. Our first thing that we are working on is that we realize that there’s actually a dearth of resources which are practical, actionable, and simple for people to use on a variety of topics related to people at work. Whether it is DNI, whether it is change management, whatever you call it. Whether it is how do you transition into a new workplace? There is a real dearth of resources which are really practical and useful. We have realized that over the years, we’ve created a lot of those things for our own use because we did not find what we were looking for.

Shahana:

So, we want to be in a place where we can share some of these practical tools, techniques, playbooks, tool kits with people for free. Use it as you will, of course don’t plagiarize, give us credit but use it with your teams for educational purposes, for yourselves, as you sort of are looking for some of these things. So I think that’s one thing that we are doing. The first one of that, which is coming out soon is going to be our DEI, so our diversity, equity, and inclusion playbook, which is about how to be an inclusive leader. Simple, actionable things that we can do. The second one is this whole thing…

Sharon:

[inaudible 00:48:44] every day. Very good.

Shahana:

Yeah. Because being inclusive is a choice. You make that choice every day in terms of whether to be inclusive or not. Our conversation around diversity and inclusion has been really hijacked by targets and unconscious bias. This is a classic example of power actually, if you look at it. Consolidated power versus dispersed power. The reason why we have really not made as much progress as we could have on the DNI is simply because the power is so concentrated in terms of organizations, 20 years ago deciding that unconscious biases that they were going to focus on and targets.

Shahana:

The thing is individual diversity happens one decision, one moment, one conversation at a time. How are we empowering our leaders to be able to move the needle? What happens to someone who chooses not to? In most organizations today, nothing. So I think it’s really about shifting that focus from just power being concentrated and these mega organizational mandates to really focusing on our frontline people leaders. Empowering them with clear, simple tools, techniques, and actions that they can do to be able to move the needle forward. That’s kind of what we want to do.

Shahana:

The second part of it is this whole conversation around return to work. Companies and employees are on two different pages of two completely different books when it comes to return to work post pandemic. When I say return to work, I mean return to the physical location of work as if work is something that we are present in a location for. It’s not where you work, it’s what you do. Unfortunately, we are getting all of those mixed up a little bit. So there have been a million surveys whether it is surveys that say 95% of the people want to work hybrid and this and that. But the surveys are so myopic because they are focused on really asking questions that are in the narrow scope of flexibility. Whereas what employees want their organizations to do is reimagine how work is done. How does work fit into my life? How can it fit in better? How can I be the best I can be at work and at home?

Shahana:

Those are a different set of questions compared to how many days do you want to come into office? So, we want to really have conversations. So, we are creating sessions where we will talk to people and just understand how they want work to be re-imagined. Hopefully, we can bring some of those conversations back to leaders and see if we can open up a few minds.

Sharon:

That’s fantastic. So when you said that power is concentrated in the hands of a few and we should be bringing it to the front lines, anything, any elaboration that you’d like to make? Because I’m sure there’s listeners who are like, “Yes, yes, yes. How do we do that?”

Shahana:

Yeah. I think he DEI conversation is a perfect one. The diversity, inclusion, and equity conversation is a perfect one for that. It’s not that companies did not recognize that we needed to do more on diversity and equity and inclusion. But the part they choose to go down was a very narrow path because they chose to do unconscious bias training, which really, I think, has limited success across the organization, one size fits all. Then, they chose to really put targets to how many people should you have at a certain level. I want to be 50% women, or I want to be whatever percentage African-American and things like that. That’s a very narrow way. Many companies, I think left it at that. Now, it’s not a surprise that 20 years later we haven’t really moved the needle any, because ultimately how does diversity actually work with every new hire, with every promotion that happens, with every decision that we make in terms of how that moves forward.

Shahana:

Those decisions are not all concentrated at the top, the decisions are everywhere, but we are not empowering people to make those decisions in a way that makes sense. So, simple things, for example, how do you eliminate bias in hiring? Or are you an inclusive leader? Actually, your calendar shows you if you’re inclusive or not. Do you know how it shows you if you’re inclusive or not? So some of those things are just insights that help open up people’s minds to seeing and looking in words at themselves and saying, “Okay, am I inclusive? I think I’m inclusive but am I really? I think I have a diversity mindset but do I really?” And just trying to look at, “Are these the actions that I’m taking?” If I’m not, then I know that I’m not very inclusive and I need to do more of it.

Shahana:

When I am empowered to do more of it, then I can make those decisions. Then that, I think, drives diversity and inclusion forward much more than only looking at these two factors, which haven’t really contributed to moving the needle.

Sharon:

Right. The way that you’re talking about it is like then each person in an organization feels a sense of ownership. They’re “empowered.” Shahana, you are a fountain of insights, of ideas, of inspiration. If listeners want to learn more or see how you can help their organizations, what would be the best way for them to follow up with you?

Shahana:

So, my website is called justhumannotresources.com. Reach out to me at the website, connect with me on LinkedIn. I’m more than happy to help.

Sharon:

Just human, not resources. Love it. Thank you so much for being a guest on the Power Shift Podcast.

Shahana:

Thank you so much, Sharon. Thank you for having me.

The Power Shift podcast is all about redefining the idea of “power” and how women use it for good, not with the traditional idea of force. Listen to thought-provoking and practical interviews to help listeners understand power from every angle– how a person gets ‘in her power’, how power works in the workplace, and how power can shift.
Host Dr. Sharon Melnick is a business psychologist who’s a best-selling author, speaker, and sought-after executive coach who helps women executives be an intentional Culture Carrier in their organizations and helps women get promoted to next level opportunities. Because every woman in her power is a Change Agent!
You can listen to The Power Shift Podcast with Dr. Sharon Melnick here at these links:
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