Megan’s guest today is Jeff Meade, founder of an agency for agencies called Meade.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the subsequent global protests, Jeff wrote an article on LinkedIn called, “How Agency Leaders Can Support Black Employees”, with 6 practical tips for agencies….or really any organization. As an advisor to small agencies, Jeff understands deeply how challenging it can be for agencies to ensure they’re aligning the strategies on which they counsel clients with their internal practices. Being an advocate for racial justice and working to eliminate racial bias can be one of these areas.
The 6 Tips For Agency Leaders To Support Black Employees Include:
Listen: No one’s looking to be rescued by a “white savior”. Listen on their terms and be sensitive to the trauma that recent events may have caused your black employees.
Education: Employers, this is on you. There are scores of excellent articles, podcasts, books and documentaries on racial justice issues. Take the time to educate yourself but don’t look to your employees to educate you.
Measure What Matters: Similar to anything else in your business world, you’ll need to find ways to establish metrics around issues of most importance to your agency when it comes to eliminating unconscious bias.
Rooney Rule: An NFL rule that states teams must interview at least one person of color for senior positions can also be used (or at least considered) in agency and other settings.
Benchmark: You benchmark your organization against a variety of metrics for other performance measures. Why not for racial justice?
Empathy to Engagement: Prove to your employees that their trust in you is well deserved. Most employees aren’t looking for instant perfection from you as an employer, particularly if you’re just now starting to educate yourself about the importance of these issues. Remember to keep empathy and belonging at the forefront of your conversations.
Jeff and Megan talk through these tips in much more detail, ranging from education to the Rooney Rule.
More than anything, Jeff and Megan both agree that one thing we can all do to continue this important conversation on racial justice is to “keep your foot on the gas”. It’s easy to become a momentary activist. It’s much more challenging to continue to keep the emphasis on a topic that can often be heavy and uncomfortable. The tendency is to make a grand (and often public) gesture and then get fatigued and walk away without making much of a dent. This conversation is one small way to do exactly that: continue the conversation, keep the momentum moving in the right direction. If you find this episode useful, please share it with someone!