The Corporate Diversity Challenge

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The issue of diversity within America’s corporations has been a focal point for years, but never more on fire than in the current political climate.

According to a February 28, 2017 article in the Deloitte University Press: 

DIVERSITY and inclusion has become a CEO-level issue around the world. The digital organization of today, which operates as a network of teams, thrives on empowerment, open dialogue, and inclusive working styles. Leading organizations now see diversity and inclusion as a comprehensive strategy woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle to enhance employee engagement, improve brand, and drive performance. The era of diversity as a “check the box” initiative owned by HR is over. CEOs must take ownership and drive accountability among leaders at all levels to close the gap between what is said and actual impact.” 

This summer,  Red Table was hired by a major American national bank. The objective was to unleash the creativity of 200 employees, motivating them towards a deeper involvement in the bank’s diversity networks. 


Because of client confidentiality and legalities, we cannot tell you the name of the bank, the specific content of the event or the names of the execs, managers and staff who gave us wonderful feedback and comments. (It’s a small price to pay for having a client like this and we hope to have more of them.)

The bank owns the content. So what we can only tell you is about the Red Table process and how it unfolded. This specific Red Table continues to receive rave reviews. The bank even wrote about it in their employee publication. 

 

The Red Table Works. 

The Red Table team, Gary Wexler, Heba Gibani and Chris Agutos, have again seen proof of concept how the Red Table can host and facilitate powerful business and social issue conversations resulting in the on-the-spot discovery and unleashing of creativity. Even inside of corporate America. 

All in less than two hours. 

Creativity, as you will read more about in a future blog, has been identified as the Number One needed skill in a new economy. 

 

A Dynamic and Moving Experience. 

An actual Red Table was surrounded by a participating audience of 200 bank professionals. 

  1. A short piece of performance art began the event and set the tone. 
  2. Two sets of voices were seated at the table. Seven on one side. Seven on the other. 
  3. 30 Minutes: Commonality. The two sets of voices were facilitated to find the human and professional commonality and shared visions between them. 
  4. 30 Minutes: Tension. The two sets of voices were facilitated to jump into the tension between them regarding the issues at hand.  
  5. 30 Minutes: Create. The table participants and the audience rose, joined forces, broke into pre-determined creative teams and were facilitated discover and unleash their creativity, evolving fresh, new ideas to change the status quo. 
  6. 15 Minutes: Each team presented for 60 seconds
  7. 5 minutes: Through a design thinking methodology of pasting colored post it-notes, the group voted, choosing their three top ideas. 
  8. The outcome leads to action—real ideas for change. 

 

The Magic of Diversity.

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The diverse Boomer-Millennial alliance between the three of us founders, immediately demonstrated the creative potential and possibilities of working across boundaries at every turn, and inspired our bank participants to do the same. Gary is the Jewish Boomer creative businessman and professor. Chris is the Christian Filipino-American gay pop online sensation and social media maven. And Heba is the female Muslim Libyan-American designer and finance whiz. 

The audience experienced our love and respect for one another, our excitement to be working together, our uniting spiritual belief systems, our creativity and our New Communication knowledge. And they also saw our USC Trojan spirit, as an adjunct professor and two graduates of the USC-Annenberg Masters in Communication program.

And they learned to unleash their creativity, which is the purpose of the Red Table. 

 

The Rave Reviews: 

A Senior Vice President
"The Red Table event was an incredible collaborative experience for our panelists and table participants. The freedom of expression built such creative energy in the room that the ideas exploded from the tables onto the easels which were then shared with great enthusiasm to everyone. Never have I seen and felt such participation among a large group of people in a strategic, nay, creative event. Thank you Gary, Heba and Chris for guiding us and showing how creative we can be together."

A Vice President
"Excellent program... a lot of tenured employees did not expect it. All three of you got the employees out of the comfort zone and made us leave the bubble of the bank. It took the most talented people in the bank and made them more talented."

Another Vice President
"The Red Table challenged us to think differently. It helped us to become more collaborative and motivated us to actually execute the ideas created. The program also challenged leaders." 

A Senior Relationship Manager
"The Red Table encouraged us to think creatively…it got people involved in a creative process."

A Market Manager
"They pushed us to think outside the box and come up with ideas in a creative way.. very innovative."

A Workflow Coordinator
"The creative process was the best part.. it started small and grew into something great."

One more Vice President
"This event in particular got people reenergized.. it built creativity and helped people collaborate."

And another Senior VP for good measure
"I loved the second session—the tension and the creativity got people talking and more expressive. In the banking world there is no creative planning so The Red Table bought a different side."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Wexler