It's back to work today, but not business as usual.
If you were like the rest of America, you watched the picturesque town of Charlottesville, Virginia, encounter a horrific experience this past weekend. It's the kind of scene that you only see in the movies.
Many of us were astounded at the misplaced boldness of white supremacy groups. They entered the town blatantly defiling the quaint college town with their hate rhetoric. They came forth and established a presence in the face of fierce adversity.
They came to confound.
As a person with a background in Human Resources, it's always been a part of my job to ensure that people are treated equally and fairly no matter the color of their skin their race religion or preferences, so I was on high alert as the situation unfolded. I could feel the pain of the community being turned upside down, and I began to wrestle with some of my key values that were being stepped on.
How did this evolve?
I found myself thinking about specific instances where signs of discrimination were present and obvious. The times when biases came through in decisions that impacted people's careers, or impacted their life in the daily workplace. The comments from friends, families, that indicated they held beliefs that weren't "politically correct".
Could those beliefs lead to something like this?
In this case, the truth can't be denied.
Composure was lost, boundaries were tragically crossed, and lives were the cost.
Isn't it strange how people can drastically change when the circumstances become real and dangerous?
It was frightening to watch the loss of composure on both sides in Charlottesville. I lived there for two years and knew it to be the ideal place to raise a family. The culture was the epitome of diversity; an eclectic group of people who were accepting of one another no matter who you are or what background you come from.
I observed people that I knew, loved, and trusted become unraveled as they faced the possibility of danger and even death. One colleague posted on social media every 2 minutes as if in a panic. Another person shared graphic photos of accident scenes and violence over and over. Political parties took the opportunity to attack each other. A civil war erupted as the once serene city was now divided and bleeding. The ugliness of human nature and survival was clearly visible.
The image I had of Charlottesville changed forever. It made me pose questions:
How would I respond to this situation?
What beliefs might surface for me?
How would I personally stand up for other people?
Would I be composed or confounded?
What about you? Were You Composed or Confounded?
We are getting to the place where we can't just turn off these kinds of events, show up to work on Monday, and it be business as usual. These threats are invading our workplaces, our businesses, and our homes. In fact, treating people less than others is already present...everywhere.
I want to point out that composure is NOT:
Trading insults with one another
Throwing out threats of violent retaliation
Bullying people to take one side or the other
Bashing others because they don't believe like you, look like you, or have been through the experiences you've been through
The days of separating politics, business, and life from each other are over. However, your approach going forward is everything. You have the power to shift from confounding the world to composing the world, one person at a time. It starts with you. It starts with me.
Is It Time To Do Something? Be Something? Speak Something?
If so, do it with COMPOSURE!
I was happy to see a few people finding their mission in different ways.
Some people found it was their mission to help someone who had been injured, others found a mission to fight against immoral wrong through communication and encouragement. Yet others engaged in prayer vigils.
A question that I ask people in business all the time is this: what is your mission? What is it that you are meant to do so that you can live a life of meaning?
Is this a time for you to stand against these biases?
Is it time to speak out with positive courage?
Can you do this in a composed fashion?
I know this post isn't like my usual business posts, but I believe my mission today is to speak transparently and candidly about the increase of these attacks on our people while affording you the opportunity to share your own thoughts.
Thank you again for being a part of this composed community.
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Angela Nuttle is an author, speaker, talent remodeler™, and consultant in talent and organizational development. As founder of The School of Executive Presence, she teaches business people how to show up with executive presence. She also works directly with CEOS, Business Leaders, and HR Teams to develop people, potential, and processes that create productive and profitable business environments. To learn more about her experience with Fortune 500 companies and relevant solutions, visit
www.corporatetalentexpert.com or www.schoolofexecutivepresence.com.
To learn more about her organization, visit www.corporatetalentinstitute.com