“We don’t talk about Bruno.”

“We don’t talk about Bruno.”

Let’s rethink NDAs.

Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) have long been utilised as a legal tool to protect sensitive information, trade secrets, and proprietary knowledge. 

However, NDAs are also employed to silence victims and anyone else that has become aware of the incidents, and consequently, cover up the wrongdoing of ‘Bruno’.

‘Bruno’ may have lost his job as a result, but he is free to start elsewhere in the industry without his reputation following him. If he gets away with a warning, then given a few months or years of staff turnover, the only record of the incident will be hidden in the depths of his employee file.

The victims aren’t so lucky. Bruno’s behaviour stays with them, and in many cases has a significant and lasting impact. 

When an organisation says they have zero tolerance for certain behaviours, why then do they choose to maintain a culture of secrecy when such behaviour occurs? 

By not talking about ‘Bruno’ so we inadvertently enable a cycle of misconduct, harassment, discrimination, and other harmful actions to persist unchecked.

We may think it’s about protecting reputations, but we have priorities wrong. Rather than giving Bruno the opportunity to start afresh, we should be more concerned about the victims of Bruno’s behaviour including those who might not have come forward yet.

We should be recognising now, thanks to Grace Tame’s advocacy, that victims should be able to talk about ‘Bruno’ rather than try to repair themselves in silence.

Imagine if organisations took the bold step to say they won’t do NDAs. If findings of misconduct or other inappropriate behaviour are made, there will be an organisational-wide apology. The perpetrator, ‘Bruno’ will be named, additional victims will be encouraged to come forward, and the organisation will reinforce its position that breaches of conduct, and acts of harassment will not be tolerated.

That speaks of true ‘zero tolerance’.

Think of the impact on Bruno and other potential perpetrators. Maybe they would seriously reconsider their actions?

Think of the staff reading that email. All of a sudden, having too many drinks at a work function and then feeling up a colleague doesn’t seem as innocent. They stand to lose a lot if they don’t keep their behaviour in check.

Even if they think it’s consensual, maybe they would think twice if the other person is noticeably intoxicated, or maybe has impaired decision-making. Perhaps we’d be inclined to think let’s not act on this.

Are you being equal with the Me Time?

Are you being equal with the Me Time?

Or is ‘ME’ time really short for ‘MEN’ time?

We have all heard the idioms:

– Fix your oxygen mask first, before helping others.

– You can’t pour from an empty glass.

– You need to have ‘me’ time in order to be your best self.

This is all true, however, a lot of men I talk with tend to be quite generous with the ‘me’ time they give themselves.

Perhaps overgenerous. And I wonder about their female partners, who are usually looking after the kids whilst this me time is enjoyed.

Some play sports or go bike riding. Some have regular nights out. Some frequent the gym. Some like to work on their cars, or in the garden. The list goes on.

None of this is bad.

Recently I was talking with a good friend who rides regularly. He has a young family – same as me – and I was lamenting about how I would love to join him for a ride or a run, but I was finding it so difficult to fit the time in.

He responded with something along the lines of “You just need to make the time. It makes you a better dad, husband etc.” And then he used the oxygen mask analogy.

The reality is though when he is out for a ride (often 2-3 hours each time), his wife is home with 3 young kids.

There is no equivalent ‘her’ time – at least not as visible or structured.

She has often joked that she should tally up the ride time and cash it in for a couple of months in Fiji. Whilst she jokes, I sense she may still really want to cash in a bit (or a lot) of the time she has earned.

And this is a common occurrence amongst the fathers within my network. Regular – perhaps excessive – ‘me’ time at the expense of their partners getting some time for themselves.

The large majority of these men are employed full-time, whilst their partners may work part-time hours, and almost all of these men out-earn their partners.

By contrast, I hear from women that their ‘me’ time often includes doing the grocery shopping alone – 30mins of child-free time at the shops is cherished.

Compare that to the ride every Saturday morning that goes for 2-3hours. Or the round of golf every Sunday. Or the regular Friday night out with mates.

Does bringing in more money, give the entitlement to more ‘me’-time?

Yes, fix your oxygen mask first, but make sure you aren’t taking all the oxygen.

True, you can’t pour from an empty glass, but that doesn’t mean your glass needs to overflow, whilst your partner is running on empty.

Being your best, whilst your partner is struggling, isn’t really you at your best.

Equality starts at home.

Whatever ‘me’ time you are taking, make sure that it is equal to the ‘me’ time that your partner is getting.

With research consistently showing that mothers take on the lion’s share of caring and household duties, it is worth taking a deeper look at where both of you are spending your time each week.

Maybe it’s time to do an audit.

Are you watering down your DEI Initatives?

Are you watering down your DEI Initatives?

𝗔𝗿𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗱𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗗𝗘𝗜 𝗶𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲𝘀?

There is a difference between compliance training and real development.

I don’t work in compliance training, but unfortunately, many organisations mistake DEI as another compliance topic.

At the heart, many organisations want to be seen to be tackling the issue and are looking for options that can tick boxes.

Unconscious Bias Training has become a go-to option for organisations wanting more than just EEO and anti-discrimination modules, but in reality, it is not doing what you think it is doing.

Whilst Unconscious Bias is now a fairly well-known term, very few people take any meaningful steps.

Most people think ‘greater awareness’ is a suitable outcome or takeaway, without actually challenging what this awareness is or how it will inform their actions going forward.

The training ticks a box. And then people wonder why it hasn’t produced any meaningful change.

We may have crossed our arms, and committed to #breakthebias2022, for International Women’s Day 2022, but how has that been going for you?

We get kudos for showing up. We applaud commitments to champion change.

That’s the end of the story.

Next time, pay attention to the subtle use of words used by a program sponsor or a senior leader that has been through unconscious bias training.

“WE need to address this” or “WE need to do more about this.” or something similar…

Whilst sharing accountability through ‘WE’ (and getting everyone’s heads nodding) it actually also serves to negate personal responsibility.

Which means nothing changes.

Better leadership looks like:

“I am going to fix the problem by….”

“I am going to change the way… “

“I know that I’ve been getting it wrong”.

Unfortunately, we often fall into the trap of thinking it is other people’s biases that we need to break.

This mindset leaves us to overlook our own prejudices.

This mindset evades the uncomfortable truth that we are contributing to the problem.

Some more than others.

Our discomfort is worth others feeling more comfortable.

Discomfort is where learning happens.

Discomfort motivates real change.

You don’t need more unconscious bias training.

We don’t need more slides or e-learning.

We need a better intervention.

#blokecoaching is an uncomfortable program.

And we make no apologies for that.

Clients get upset.

They cry. They argue.

Through the program, we help everyone to understand their privilege, the patriarchal system and their individual prejudices, and those topics are going to stir up some big feelings.

But that is part of the process. And our clients are better for it.

My Hands Are Full

My Hands Are Full

For the last 18 months, I’ve been, and still am, the primary carer for my daughter on at least two days of the working week (plus Sunday).

My wife and I have split responsibilities so that we both do paid work 3 days a week, 3 days a week we are the primary carer for the kids (we have 3), and Saturdays we are all together.

It is not easy to coordinate. And starting and running a business during this time has been particularly challenging.

Both of us realise though that the person looking after the kids on a particular day will, on balance, usually have the tougher day, and needs the ‘hunter/gatherer’s support from the moment they have finished ‘gathering’ for the day.

This is a promise we make to each other, and we try our best to leave our other work at work so that we can be there for the other person.

Personally, I have found it particularly difficult to manage my own expectations of what I can commit to regarding my business.

I’ve been thinking “I only work 3 days”.

Through coaching, I realised that that simple phrase was actually making me feel inadequate. An unconscious narrative that I should be working 5 days in my business, and was subsequently putting pressure on myself to make up the other 2 days outside of standard hours.

I wasn’t logging off, and I was trying to do work when my daughter slept or was otherwise distracted. I was working at night when everyone slept (and I should have been sleeping too).

I then transitioned to thinking “Actually, I work 3 days”. And realised that I needed to contain my work commitments to these days. Having this bleed into home life, wasn’t an option.

But again, through coaching, I began to appreciate that I was still actually devaluing my domestic/caring duties because they weren’t ‘paid’. I still felt the pressure to think about work, when I wasn’t at work. And my other job suffered.

Despite my recognition that caring responsibilities are, actually, the harder job.

The reality is “I’m working 7 days. I have 2 jobs.”

My new personal narrative is that “I’m a father and husband first. My second job is as a business owner, coach and facilitator.”

And, with this in mind, and looking back at the last couple of years (which admittedly have been the hardest of my life), I’ve never been happier.

AND, I think I’m better at being a gatherer.

There is a lot of pressure that we, and society, place on ourselves to be the hunter/gatherer, and to be the best hunter/gatherer.

The difficult lesson I’ve learnt this year is that we should instead perhaps focus on being the best partner and father first (or whatever this other ‘job’ is for you).

In the scheme of things, no one really cares how good of a hunter you are. But the important people care about how good you are at your first job.

Intention Bias vs Judging Behaviour

Intention Bias vs Judging Behaviour

There is a hypocrisy most of us struggle with.

Intentions and behaviour are legitimate ways to evaluate human conduct.

The problem is that we are conveniently biased towards intentions when considering ourselves, and towards behaviour when evaluating other people.

We trust our own intentions – because we know ourselves pretty well. Not perfectly (but that’s a whole other topic).

Because we can’t see or feel the inner working of another’s mind, then we judge someone by what we can see – their behaviour.

Both intentions and behaviours are important and so the challenge is we need to apply them more uniformly.

Rarely would someone intend to reverse into someone else’s car. But focusing on our intent can limit us from taking responsibility for our behaviour. Despite my intentions, I did reverse into their car. So I’ll take responsibility, apologise and pay for the damages rather than drive away.

While intentions are important, they don’t atone for all behaviour.

“I didn’t mean for that comment to be sexist.”

Does our intention matter? Yes, but again rarely would someone intend to be sexist.

Even if we get feedback from the world – “That was a bit sexist” or “that was very sexist” or “We only have 27% women in leadership roles”, we have a tendency to place undue emphasis on our own intentions.

This limits us from taking responsibility for the ‘impact’ of our behaviour, or how these behaviours are contributing to the problem.

BlokeCoaching is a program for male executives within organisations to understand more about the behaviours that perpetuate gender inequality, take responsibility, and work to fix the system.

For most of us, we do not intend to be sexist. Yet it’s difficult for us to ignore that there is a problem that hasn’t gone away. The feedback is that there is still a lot of work to be done.

We all need to start taking responsibility.

And not drive off.