Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
So much is out of our control. This includes what is in the “head and heart space” of employees when they come to work, what the economy is doing, and even the way your customers think about your product. Aligning your mission and vision – and courageously having conversations that acknowledge people for who they are and what they bring to the table – equate to real conversations about equity. Host Jess Dewell talks with Leslie Short, Founder and CEO of The Cavu Group, about what DEI looks and sounds like.
Your awareness of the paths employees are on, what accountability looks like in your company, and how you approach problem solving influence the way everyone does work in your organization. If you have DEI initiatives, listen to The Cavu Group Founder and CEO Leslie Short talk about how to look forward with what we have today.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guest: Leslie Short
What You Will Hear:
You have what you have, and you get what you get.
Power of a pause.
Stop and think about what is happening right now in this moment.
Reinvent something new based on what you already have.
DEI is not an add-on.
Be accountable to yourself, your customers, and your employees.
Become more comfortable what you do know.
Don’t judge too quickly.
Identify the facilitator for each meeting and know what role that person plays.
It is BOLD to shift your awareness and decide what inclusion looks and feels like for your company.
Leslie Short 00:00
So we need to look at systems, and how do we rebuild them, not fix them. Because they're not broken, they need to be rebuilt, to have a diversity of voices along the way.
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your business has many directions it can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today's program, we delve into one idea. The idea will support you as you work on ever-present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20-year track record of business excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place. Your unique True North. Now, here's Jess.
Jess Dewell 01:08
I'm so glad to have you back at the Bold Business Podcast, Leslie short is with me today. And you know, there's always a conversation about Dei. And that in itself is like this great big focus this great big buzzword. If you think about it, though, we've always had the opportunity to include and to search for diversity in every area of life. And it's not always been Dei, but it has always shown up in our life if we are willing to look for it and work for it. So some of us might be going, Oh, this is such a big topic or others of us are going we know but we don't know what to do. And you know what, that's okay because Leslie and I keep talking about having a conversation. And this concept that we're going to bring to you today, this organic conversation that we're going to have is based on her four decades of experience. And she's created the kaaboo group to advise companies and organizations about how to expand beyond their current culture, through the diversity and inclusion lens. Because even though we've always had it in our past, this is what it is today. And it's great. Whatever work we did in the past, we need to look at where we're at today to be able to move forward. And I have to say, all of you that are listening in you know, that's all about me. I say it all the time, just start where you're at, start where you're at. So Leslie, welcome to the Bold Business Podcast where we get to start where we're at.
Leslie Short 02:36
Thank you so much. Yes, I'm happy to be here. I'm all about starting where you're at meet where they are. Yeah.
Jess Dewell 02:43
And okay, so and that's more than the golden rule, isn't it?
Leslie Short 02:47
Well, it shouldn't be, that should be the golden rule. And that comes back to what you said before, who are you? What do you know about yourself? And then be willing to let someone be in their space as well? Yeah.
Jess Dewell 03:01
And that's hard, especially in times of stress or tension, isn't it? Sometimes you just have to say,
Leslie Short 03:07
You know what, that's so was not about you. That was about me? Yeah, I'm having a moment. You know, I had to do it today as well, I had to send an email to a client. I was like, oh, today is not one of my better days. And I'm sorry, please disregard the last email. Here's exactly what I wanted to say to you. And, and if it causes you extra work, we will deal with it at a later time.
Jess Dewell 03:30
Okay, so you stopped, you reflected, you took a pause, and realized that there was more to say, and then as cliche as it as it is, you did the right thing and reach back out, and you created crazy. Are you crazy?
Leslie Short 03:49
I sound like crazy. Today. I saw it in the way that I wrote that email. You saw the people that will see seed on it. And I just went stop doing too many things.
Jess Dewell 04:00
Who, who woke it up?
Leslie Short 04:04
Where, what is this at this moment? Stop. Because if we don't stop ourselves, sometimes we will get caught in an I shouldn't maybe call it crazy. But today, it felt crazy for me just running. I was running, running and trying to get things done. And you know, it was the tech, the tech universe wasn't working with me and the tech universe for my insurance wasn't working with like, there were so many things that was just going I was like, Okay, one thing at a time.
Jess Dewell 04:33
Right. And it's hard to it's hard in the middle of something to go, oh, maybe there's more than one thing going on here. Oh, maybe it's me. Oh, maybe I could pause. Maybe I could look at this a little differently. And so you, it sounds like for you there's an energy or a momentum that shows up and you're like, Okay, now I know it's the time to pause.
Leslie Short 04:55
Jess Dewell 04:57
It's not always fun. So you were very self-aware today, I learned that.
Leslie Short 05:03
But yes, there, there are times where you just know, things that were happening. Some of them were out of my control. So I couldn't fix the insurance company's tech issue. Even though I was standing at the pharmacy, it wasn't going to happen today, right? Because it didn't need to happen today, then drop that and go to the next thing.
Jess Dewell 05:25
Yes. Yes. Ah, okay. So even more than here's what my pattern is, it's, uh, can I even do anything about this right now? Yeah, and if we're starting with that, one of the things that, you know, as we've been talking, we've been talking by email we've been had, we had a conversation like this before we ever hit the record button today. But we also had a conversation like this before we ever hit the record button a few weeks ago, as well. And in that, one of the things I keep hearing you say, over and over and over again, is to know who you are. And to me, all of the things we were just talking about are only possible, if you know who you are, yes,
Leslie Short 06:05
I always hold What's in your bag. Yeah, need to understand what you're carrying. And not only at the surface, but underneath the middle, and the yucky part at the bottom where the old tissues are. And, you know, everybody found the hand sanitizer, we're looking for all this stuff that we just carry around and don't even know it's there, understanding that, but also, on the top, knowing when it's about to overflow, knowing when you have too many bags, you know, on your shoulders or on your back and just going, I don't need this today. Or I can't do anything else at the moment where I am the place I am. But I can go back home. And I can let the phone plug in the phone and let it ring for a half an hour to someone picks up. And then I can answer an email at the same time and not be frustrated that I feel like I'm not accomplishing something. Mm-hmm. And then stopping the focus, and then realize there's no, I can't control what's going on over there. So I'm gonna leave that. I'll revisit that later. What can I control at the moment?
Jess Dewell 07:14
Very unloved layer. What's in your bag?
Leslie Short 07:17
Yeah. Because if we don't understand what's in our bag, we don't understand anyone else. And we can't accept others that are carrying bags. We are a human species that always sometimes want to pick up somebody else's bag, when you got your bags back there that you drag it along.
Jess Dewell 07:36
That's right. Oh, and let's just take it on face value, the amount that live in my closet cake, and we're gonna, we're gonna just cut we're going to come out of, out of what we're talking about here, we're going to be like, let's just put this in the real world, the amount of facts that I have, in my closet, my husband doesn't understand the people that I work with her like, I haven't seen that one before. And I'm like, Oh, that one's been in the back of my closet. Right? The purpose, we all have a purpose for them. And to the point of, we might have too many, we might have the one for the right occasion. But until we've taken stock and take that, you know, let's take it out of our head, let's take all those layers that you're talking about. And literally put them on a shelf and look at them all. Everything that's in that bag, it allows us to take an inventory. So when we're putting it back in, I know some people follow, you know, they set up a meeting. And what do they need to do? It's got to go agenda point by agenda point. And it's very time-oriented. Other people set up that meeting and they're like, Oh, well, so and so can't make it today. And that means we're not going to be able to do this. So what do we do, we're gonna have to adjust a little bit because we have everything else in the room and everything else they are that we can cut the time short, fill it with something different, whatever needs to be done, we can adapt better. And then there's the, the element of that I'm going to bring this out. It's like the experience of it. Well, whether we're regardless of what we're doing, and how we're showing up, I have the right framework, I have the right structure. So what are the actions that I want to take in here? And all of that is showing up for me in this concept of well, what if I were to just empty out this bag and look at what was inside of it?
Leslie Short 09:11
How about that? How about that form? And how about not always knowing what's inside, and everything may not have a purpose that's inside, but you still want to keep it um, because it, you know, it has some type of purpose, because he were quick to also with that agenda. Part of throwing things out on the table, it still all needs to line up. And when it doesn't line up, we don't know how to move forward. And that means we don't have the flexibility of understanding yourself or others.
You were listening to the Bold Business Podcast. We will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders unedited and uncut. And we don't just stop there, there are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You'll also have unlimited access to one, hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often, to experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders. Three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, the Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere, you can access what will become your most personal tool in your toolkit by going to Fast Track Your Business today.com. Now, back to Jess,
Jess Dewell 10:49
By the way, I love the things that nobody else sees a purpose in that are in my bag because they've served me in some, some way in the past. And usually, it's not the baggage claim that they say let go of what doesn't serve you anymore. It's usually like, oh, I needed that tissue right now. And how cool. And I actually missed this one when I just did my inventory. Right? Or oh, I didn't know I had a phone charger in here. And thank goodness, because my phone is at 3% left. So it, it sets us up for serendipity in a sense to is what I'm hearing you say?
Leslie Short 11:25
Yeah, there's some surprises in there that are great. Don't you love to put your hand in a bag and find that extra dollar $2? Or that, that winter coat? And you're like, who knows? It's just $10 from here's a treat today. Now there's that and there's the courting, holding on for control. Right? Those are different. And so those are conversations we have to have as well. Because yes, we want the pleasure of being the flexibility of having it or not having it or holding on because we may need it. But there's the holding on to the control of holding on. And that's where we get very lost and ourselves and in business.
Jess Dewell 12:09
Well, and it's because usually okay, I'm going to say it's because and I'm making, I'm making a guess here, so tell me how spot on I am. Because it's outside of us. And we don't understand it. Even if we know ourselves a lot. If we're unable to fully understand where somebody else is coming from, we grasp onto this thing that's supposed to have all the answers.
Leslie Short 12:31
Well, that's the bias that we have. Because that's the comfort zone of bodies that we have. Yeah, okay, we're comfortable with what we know, we're comfortable with what we understand, we comfortable for what we've seen in our environment when we are taken out of our environment. And it may not look like you sound like your walk like you get there may be a lot of similarities. You don't always see them. Because you're so busy being uncomfortable. Yeah.
Jess Dewell 13:02
You know, it's interesting. And I'm gonna use a personal experience here. Because I think it might be an it could be work experience, too. And so maybe if I'm talking and one comes up, just thinking we moved recently, twice, okay, so we moved across the country into an apartment. We've never, we haven't lived in an apartment since we were in our 20s. And so going back to that style of living was, is still a big adjustment nine months later. Now, keeping that in mind, we're like, Oh, wow. Now we know what we need to actually thrive in an apartment. So we made some changes. And we moved again to facilitate that. The uncomfortableness in it was we haven't lived in an apartment since our 20s. Or, and right before that was our dorm room in college. And so So you think about some of those things, it's like proximity to the experience really makes a difference. And then to your point about the comfort level, I like being able to walk down the street every day at whatever time I am, and I can see somebody different. And we can have a ran, I talked to somebody about their shoes today randomly, as while I was waiting to meet somebody, somebody walked by, I was like, I really liked those. The shoes I wanted, and they don't make them anymore can tell me about those. It wouldn't happen. If I had if I lived out of the city. If I lit if I drove a car if I parked in a parking lot and went to a different place. So for me, it's new and it's different. Now, by the way, I do like that, too. I like living out a little bit. I like having the space. I like all of that. It's a different lifestyle. And I have to set up serendipity, if you will, differently. But until I've experienced it in this living situation. It's kind of hard to think about and a lot of people would be like, Oh, just, it's just like going to work for a new company. Oh, you have to learn the new culture. You have to learn all these things. And I'm like, I'm not sure It's exactly the same as that because we're bringing our old expectations to new expectations without fully wanting to know how the new ones work.
Leslie Short 15:08
Right. And so you have to show I just moved recently as well. Yeah. And so it is the same thing. Space got all of that and everything I wanted, as far as the home and the office and all those things. The community for which I never knew I want it for where I left is not here. Why it's the car is the timing, you know, working from home office, you don't see you don't go within you. You figure out the maneuver, and everyone's like, how is it and I'm like, love where I'm living? The rest is to be determined, I don't want to judge too quickly. We're in COVID. We are, it's cold. It's, you know, there's so many elements to make the full judgment. So I rock and roll when I can, and where I can. And you leave the door open, because there's a whole nother world to be seen when it gets warm, and you get to roll around.
Jess Dewell 16:08
Okay, so Nick, Oh, okay. So here's an interesting thing. And I don't know if you see, and I'm sure you see this, and I'm sure there's a name depending on different structures that people use. Um, I know that there are people who are listening to this, and they're going to be like, Are you kidding me? I always take a short break at 10:07 am. And this is what I do. And this is how long I do it. And then I know how long it's going to take me to get back. So I know approximately how many emails will be waiting for me.
Leslie Short 16:35
Bless them. That's right.
Jess Dewell 16:39
And we are we are kind of asking, though, for a little bit beyond that, because if we're that rigid, and we met somebody on our walk, we wouldn't I I think our own expectation of what was coming next would prevent us from being in the moment and truly seeing.
Leslie Short 16:56
Yeah, I won't say that for everyone. Because I do know someone that is like that. And so they will say the Hello. But they're going to keep it to a limit. Right? To get back and, and that type of thing. So they may not get the full experience of someone, right or something. And so but I don't we need those people are Truda I always like to say we need those people. Yeah. And I go, Are you good within yourself, if you don't feel like you're missing something, it's not for me to tell you, you're missing something. But I always say just look around, and just breathe in what's around you that everyone's around, we can sit next to each other and see something very different.
Jess Dewell 17:42
Ah, so now let's take the people who are like, agenda for a meeting, what are you talking about? Let's just have a meeting. Because what, that's how I get to have a connection with people. This is the way it's gonna go. And I know I'm gonna have more work to do. But I'd rather be in the meeting than not doing anything at all. You know, and those people too, by the way, right? They're listening to this. And they're probably going to go to the extreme of what we're talking about. In this case. And by the way the world needs them to don't I'm using these examples. Because we get to illustrate
Leslie Short 18:16
here, we all have a purpose. And we each have all of us understanding how we use each and everyone's talent to the best of their ability. Because I need that person that's like agenda what, huh? And their mind is creative. And they hear something and they're hitting off ideas. And then you have the person that's agenda and don't waver, don't waver. I have this planned. And I'm like, What can we take? Can we look at this a new way? Oh, but we have it this way. Okay, now, can we just take a breath and look at it a different way. And you're going to have someone like me that will do the agenda and say this is a guideline 100 was, I want to hear the sparks. The agenda is for us to have a conversation for those ideas to start sparking. Hopefully, the people want to be able to share different things in different opinions and different outlets. So we can look at one thing as a full 360 circle instead of the half-crescent moon that everybody gets comfortable rocking in.
Jess Dewell 19:21
Yeah. So there's a balance in that. And I want to come back to this concept of how does this relate to what we're talking about when we're talking about diversity, inclusion and equity. And it matters because if the person who needs to live by the agenda doesn't see the value in all of the ideas flying around, there is going to be a stuck gap. And there is an automatic shutdown of part of the conversation and the true, it's true from the other two perspectives as well. One I want to be super creative, you have to make me go to this agenda and stop right now. Well, there's an element to constraint right both their constraints and different perspective. And so if I'm thinking about this in a company, and I'm thinking about keeping the conversations open as a business owner, and I'm thinking about all of the things are talking about and starting to measure and doing all of these things. How do I know what I have? So I know I've, so I know what I could get.
Leslie Short 20:20
So that's a lot of questions in that one, right? Let me try to break some of that down. It's great. It's a meeting and you have all these different people. Yes, facilitating the meeting. Mm-hmm. Are they aware who they have? And on their agenda? Do they leave that space, knowing that that creative person's in there and know how to turn them on and turn them off when necessary, and I hate to say it like that but help guide them to keep the conversation going a good.
Jess Dewell 20:43
You know, what a facilitator's role is to do just that, yes, to open and close those doors in a way that everybody feels like they're supposed to be there. And everybody has valued along the way.
Leslie Short 20:57
Absolutely, yes. But you never say a word and you're the amazing note-taker, or you're the thinker that needs to go back and think about what's hard and comes back with all this amazing things. That's the facilitator. So when I'm working with companies, when they speak about meetings, and someone microaggression is speaking over, I'm like, who's the facilitator? Because that's an important job. And now, if you're going to speak about Dei, and all these different personalities on the quiet one on this, let's speak about what does diversity mean? Because see, if you only have one image in thought process of what diversity is, nine out of 10, you've already lost, because a lot of people think diversity is black and white. And diversity is gender, race, LGBTQ plus veterans. Mental illness, disability, so I've seen and unseen, there is much more to diversity. So let's break that down. Then we have to break down what is inclusion? And what does it look like? And what does it feel like? It's not belonging, because you don't get to tell me I belong somewhere, I decide I belong, you create that atmosphere. For me to be able to walk in with my health, my head held high, and to value the work for which I am doing. And so whether you are the one that is quiet, or the one that is creative, you want to be valued.
Jess Dewell 22:26
Okay, if you're willing, we could go anywhere, the thing that stuck out the most to me and everything you just said, because this is something companies try to control that they can't, is telling me I belong, instead of letting me decide I belong, oh, they can tell it all day. And they've been doing it. So it's a way of doing business that is tried and true. And when I think of D, I actually think that that might be the nut of big companies trying to shit change the course of their ship.
Leslie Short 22:55
Well, again, this has to Part of the reason is d is not an add-on. So let's go back to that row has to be built into the foundation. Mm-hmm. So one, it has to be not only built into foundation, it's found leadership all the way through leadership has to have not only be committed but be accountable. Okay. So now, when you are bringing in diversity, those from diverse backgrounds, yes, diversity of thought, but let's say diverse of religion and race and disability, you bring that in? Are you giving them the proper tools for to succeed? That's equity? Do I know how to get a promotion? Do I know where raises are going? Can I get to a restroom? If I am breastfeeding? Or if I am a trans person? Or if I have disabilities? This bill is not only a wheelchair, do I have accessible phones? Do I have the tools that I need to be successful? Do I know who I can go speak to when I'm stuck on something? Are there mentors? Is there a conditional education? And so that is inclusion? Okay, because you're giving people that outlet to be able to grow for that equity. You cannot tell me I belong there. It is really up to me. But thanks, thanks for thinking long.
Jess Dewell 24:20
Right? I know exactly. And we need to shift that because we think and I say we in the most wonderful loving way. And by the way, I fall into this too occasionally. So I'm not going to say I am above this. I am not going to say I'm always part of this because I am always learning and I'm always sticking my foot in my mouth. And I'm always ready for conversation to keep going so that I can better understand who I am through the lens of other people because then I can be more aware to meet people where they're at. So with that in mind, I'm thinking about this and I'm thinking about everything that you said and, and I'm going to go back to that culture thing. We think we can create culture as a company,
Leslie Short 25:02
I'll take a cupcake in a glass of wine all day. I'll never say no to that.
Jess Dewell 25:07
That is not the culture. That's right. So the actions we take are part of it to your point about Foundation. And if we haven't thought about it, okay, so let's say we're a business, we're about seven to 10 years old. And you know, we're in that seven to $10 million range. And we're like, oh, we need to work on our culture, oh, we need to make some changes. Well, we already have something as part of our foundation. And if we're saying we need to work on our culture, as an organization, it means we don't like it for some reason, it means we know there's room for improvement, even if we do like it either way. And I think that there's an element in here of I don't know what the first step would be because I already have a foundation and I'm can't build this again.
Leslie Short 25:58
You can ask the question, what's the question? The question is, how do you envision our culture? What's the culture that we have because the leadership thinks that's happening sometimes is not the culture for which the employees may be feeling a working in? And so there's that disconnect, at times, of what even the mission and vision is. So your foundation is there. But is it solid? And how can you continue to build on that? How do you get your employees to invest in the direction and mission you're going in? Because that shifts, it may not always change, but it can shift because we're in a different day. If you're doing business the way you did it in 1990, and 2000 2000, if you're still doing the same business.
Jess Dewell 26:50
Funny, exactly. Right. Well, I think of Colgate Colgate actually originated on the east coast of the US out in your neck of the woods. Moreover, 100 years old, they started out as a perfume company, they go and now they make toothpaste. But to the point, it's still about making people look better, feel better. And under, you know, and be able to beat together I guess perfume and toothpaste. Those are all things.
Leslie Short 27:17
But think about it perfume. You're going to buy one. Yeah, every so often. Yeah, the toothpaste is going to be a repeat purchase. That's right. That's right.
Jess Dewell 27:26
Yeah. And so why not do well and to be able to change over time and to see what needs to happen and to understand all of those elements. Somebody is having a conversation somewhere. Now, I bet it wasn't easy the whole time. Totally guessing here, I think any company who makes it 10 years hasn't had an easy all the time, and some company that has been here hundreds of years and has thrived through decades. I mean, as a, as weird as this is Coco Chanel just popped into my mind her business, her fashion business survived two world wars, right?
Leslie Short 28:01
Look at who they kept bringing in to reinvent the, the, the style, the bow, the pearls, but they kept bringing in new and inventive designers, to trailblaze the way and even if you saw one face behind the scenes, was a lot of young folks also being part of that.
Jess Dewell 28:25
Yes. And learning and growing and having it mold and develop both directions. Yes. experience and wisdom, new ideas and new thinking. And at some, we think you have to be old to have wisdom or you have to have done something to have wisdom. And there's an element of truth to that. Last time. I've done a lot of things that I only got done because I didn't know I wasn't supposed to be able to do it. Right?
Leslie Short 28:51
When someone says you can't Okay, well, that's great in your, in your mind and your vision and where you are. That's right. And I even though you meet people where they are sometimes you need to leave them where they are because you need to continue the journey.
Jess Dewell 29:05
Yes. Now what if you can't choose to what if what if you don't have a choice? Because you work with them?
Leslie Short 29:11
Oh, no. But there's different ways that you work with people. We don't work with everyone the same way. That's right. And so sometimes I still need to leave you with where you are. Doesn't mean we can't have a good laugh and we can't work on certain projects. But I know that my vision doesn't stay where yours this even on the same project. We have working together we're building toward that mission. That doesn't mean I can't go speak to the next supervisor to say I have a bigger vision for this one be accomplished this is, this something else I can work on. I see that it can grow. Somebody went to COVID and saw it and said I see baking soda. Yeah, I saw it. Right. Exactly. And fluoride.
Jess Dewell 29:53
Yes, yes. Exactly. And we have to have the sooner we're talking about courage to antidote From where we have to have the, uh, what I should say we have to have maybe we do have to have, we have to have a willing leadership team because it doesn't matter what's happening inside it can only happen so far until they're signing and support from the leadership team of an organization. Right. And how cool is it?
Leslie Short 30:18
Yes. Go ahead. Sorry. Your work ethic? Yes. Yes. Must be one that they cannot ignore, and that they see. And respect. Yes. And so it that's why our has the bat, bat. Because what I'm getting and I'm so sorry to cut you on what I'm getting is the sometime the younger generations, like leadership, do it now. Right, make the shift, but you haven't. I don't want to say proven yourself, but you haven't worked, where there's been results and the shift. And so how do you or you don't have the conversation where you get them to understand Tik Tok or Instagram can be beneficial. Right? As opposed to that. That's some kid stuff.
Thank you for tuning in and listening to the Bold Business Podcast. If you've learned something from this show that will help you and your business right now, consider what additional impact you can get by subscribing to the Fast Track Your Business program. You owe it to your business to seek out new ways to achieve more while building a resilient and profitable business. Subscribe now. Visit FastTrackYourBusinessToday.com. Special thanks to The SCOTT Treatment for technical production.