IN THIS EPISODE, KARAN FERRELL-RHODES INTERVIEWS AMA AGYAPONG.

Throughout today’s conversation, Ama Agyapong shares professional insights on fostering inclusivity within the workplace. She candidly recounts her leadership missteps, including the unconscious favoritism that led to feelings of exclusion among team members. Through her story, Ama emphasizes the importance of understanding and navigating cultural differences, leveraging data for informed decision-making, and developing comprehensive management training programs. Her reflections underscore the critical need for leaders to move beyond comfort zones and actively work towards creating environments where every employee feels valued and included.

Ama Agyapong is the founder and CEO of Inclusion Enterprises, a training and development company with expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Known as ‘That Inclusion Lady,’ Ama is a dynamic DEI advisor, coach, and speaker with over 15 years of experience!

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SDL Media Team

WHAT TO LISTEN FOR:

  1. Why is celebrating diversity important in workplaces?
  2. What does inclusion in the workplace mean in a practical sense?
  3. How can discomfort lead to growth in diversity efforts?
  4. How can organizations mitigate risks associated with lack of inclusion?
  5. What role does data play in building inclusive workplaces?
  6. How does informed leadership contribute to workplace inclusivity?
  7. How can leaders foster team development beyond relying on go-to individuals?
  8. How does bias affect team dynamics and inclusion efforts?
  9. How do unspoken rules impact workplace relationships?
  10. How does courageous agility contribute to effective leadership?

Once you learn how to manage differences, then you learn how to celebrate it.”

Ama Agyapong

CEO, Inclusion Enterprises

FEATURED TIMESTAMPS:

[03:28] A Geriatric Millennial Mom’s Story

[05:51] Mastering the Dynamics of Diversity and Inclusion

[07:23] Personal and Structural Barriers to True Inclusion

[12:10] The Business Case for Inclusion in Modern Organizations

[16:33] Signature Segment: Ama’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: Building Inclusive Workplaces through Informed Leadership

[19:04] Overcoming Dependency on Go-To People and Fostering Team Development

[20:59] Learning from Leadership Mistakes

[23:22] Unspoken Rules to Build Workplace Connections

[28:35] Signature Segment: Ama‘s LATTOYG Tactics of Choices: Leading with Courageous Agility

[32:19] Meet ‘That Inclusion Lady’!

ABOUT AMA AGYAPONG:

Known as ‘That Inclusion Lady,’ Ama is not just a sought-after Speaker and certified Master Facilitator; she’s a force for change, promoting accountability and awareness around inclusion. Ama’s story exemplifies the transformative power of advocacy and the positive impact one person can have on race and culture. Ama goes beyond the ordinary, using storytelling to create awareness that transforms behavior, adds genuine value, and positively impacts an organization’s bottom line.

LINKS FOR AMA:

PEOPLE AND RESOURCES MENTIONED:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR YOU:

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Episode Sponsor

This podcast episode is sponsored by Shockingly Different Leadership (SDL), the leader in on-demand People, Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness professional services that up-level leader capability and optimize workforces to do their best work.

SDL is the go-to firm companies trust when needing to:

  • supplement their in-house HR teams with contract or interim HR experts
  • implement leadership development programs that demonstrate an immediate ROI and impact on the business

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Episode 83 | How the Dynamics of Differences Drive Inclusive Workplaces with Ama Agyapong

 Ama Agyapong  00:00

I think people love to focus on the word inclusion, because they don’t want to deal with diversity, and diversity, meaning they don’t want to talk about race, they don’t want to talk about gender. They don’t want to talk about gender identity or sexual orientation. And so inclusion feels like the safe place. However, you can’t have inclusion if you’re not willing to acknowledge what the differences are that people are bringing to the table. And so it takes tough and difficult conversations that I think people struggle with

 

Voiceover  00:05

Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.

 

Karan Rhodes  00:37

Hello, my friends and welcome back to the podcast and thanks for joining another episode designed to help you better lead at the top of your game. As you know for season three each month we’re featuring leaders who have fascinating roles in a particular profession or industry. And today’s episode is part of our special series featuring leaders who focus on fostering inclusive workplaces. And now enjoy the show. Hello, my superstars and welcome back to another episode of the leader the top of your game podcast. We are so pleased to have on today’s show. I’m gonna get set up slowly so I pronounce her name right Ama Agyapong. Agyapong… real quick, so

 

Ama Agyapong  01:24

Agyapong. You were really close.

 

Karan Rhodes  01:26

There we go. I always just call her Ama. So I never do go to her last name, but she is fantastic as you all will soon see. But Ama is the founder and CEO of Inclusion Enterprises, which is a training and development company with a particular expertise in the DEIB. And for those who don’t know that’s in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. The ALMA is fondly known as “that inclusion lady” around the corporate saying, and she is a sought after speaker who is really a force for change because she advocates for the accountability and awareness around the extremely dynamic topic of inclusion. So welcome to the podcast Ama.

 

Ama Agyapong  02:15

Thank you, thank you for having me!

 

Karan Rhodes  02:18

We are just so honored to have you. I know you know personally, the topic of inclusion has so many legs, arms and perspectives. We could talk not for just 30 minutes, but for probably 30 days about it. But we’re super thrilled to bring some of your insights to the show on you know the importance of it and maybe some lessons for our listeners as well. But before we dive deep into our topic, we always love to hear a little bit about our guests. So for just as much as you feel comfortable. Would you mind sharing us a sneak peek with your life about your life outside of work?

 

Ama Agyapong  02:57

Oh my goodness. Yes. So I am affectionately known as EJ’s mom. So I’m originally a girl from Miami working really hard to create a life for my son that I didn’t necessarily have. So I’m that mom, I call myself a geriatric millennial boy Mom. My mom is a baby boomer, my grandmother is a 91 year old traditionalist, I’ll talk about like, diversity of thought and all of those things. Typical day in the life is me working and then you know, I’m doing all the things soccer, swimming, wrestling. I mean, oh, you want to do basketball, let’s do basketball. You want to like I try to keep him in all of the events because he’s an only child to keep them around kids but it is like a second job. So aside from Kid activities, and being the newfound soccer mom, which is odd for me to say, I really do enjoy you know, dancing, meditating, getting massages having me time because I feel like that self care is important as well.

 

Karan Rhodes  04:10

Oh, absolutely. So I concur on both self care time is a non negotiable for me. So I always try to carve that out. And as you know, I’m recently empty nesters. So, I have been there done that I was the biggest Uber mom and getting, you know, our daughter involved in everything. So totally understand about that. And you’re still smiling. So things mostly going good.

 

Ama Agyapong  04:43

I am for right now right?

 

Karan Rhodes  04:45

Right now. Yeah, as of today, right, right. Today at this time. All right. Thank you so much for sharing that. So let’s get to our topic people know in general The what the term inclusion means overall, it’s been heavily used in corporate and the media and our lexicon and the way we live and work. But from your perspective, what does inclusion in the workplace really mean? In a practical sense?

 

Ama Agyapong  05:20

Yeah. So I think at its basic, basic level, it’s just making sure people in your organization feel seen, feel heard, so respected, feel included, feel valued. I think that’s the very, very basic level. But I often say I help leaders manage the dynamics of difference, because once you really learn how to manage differences, whether it’s racial differences, sexual orientation, thought differences, then you learn how to leverage that and celebrate it. So that’s why I said the basic is making people feel a certain way. But once you take it up another notch, you’re really understanding and acknowledging what that difference is, and finding a way to celebrate and incorporate it for the greater good. So that’s my opinion of inclusion.

 

Karan Rhodes  06:12

I love that. I absolutely love that. And on its surface, it sounds great. It sounds like it should be a kumbaya moment. But in your experiences, I know you do a lot of consulting and speaking on the topic, what have you found is some of the roadblocks to it actually being and I won’t say him brace because a lot of people do embrace it, but where it’s not, um, to say fully used or fully demonstrated in the workplace, what are some of those either triggers or roadblocks or blind spots or underlying reasons why people have a sometimes have an issue with inclusion.

 

Ama Agyapong  06:51

So I’m gonna go personal and then I’ll go organizational,

 

Karan Rhodes  06:54

Great! Yeah!

 

Ama Agyapong  06:54

From from from like a personal perspective, I think people love to focus on the word inclusion, because they don’t want to deal with diversity, and diversity, meaning they don’t want to talk about race, they don’t want to talk about gender. They don’t want to talk about gender identity or sexual orientation. And so inclusion feels like the safe place. However, you can’t have inclusion if you’re not willing to acknowledge what the differences are that people are bringing to the table. And so it takes tough and difficult conversations that I think people struggle with. Additionally, so TD Jakes has this book called Disruptive Thinking, and he has this quote in there, he says, I can’t get a GED without learning about you, but you can get a PhD without learning about me. So think about that. Right? Especially when we’re talking about racial differences, which, if you go to any organization, and you look at the data, the intersectionality of race typically lowers the experience. And so what I’m thinking is people don’t know how to navigate those cultural differences. And because of that, they shy away from it, they get nervous, and wound up excluding people, even if it’s unintentionally. And so I think it goes deeper than just bias, right? I think it goes into learning and understanding how to navigate cultural differences, cultural competence, having difficult conversations, making mistakes, and not trying to be perfect all the time. I think those things get in the way, personally, of truly including evaluating someone’s opinion, acknowledging their existence and finding that their experience might be different than yours. So what are some changes we need to make so they can feel value and include it within the workplace? So I think that’s the personal piece, it’s just really understanding differences, knowing how to manage that, knowing how to navigate it, and then being comfortable with being uncomfortable because you’re going to make mistakes, right?

 

Karan Rhodes  08:51

Yeah, absolutely.

 

Ama Agyapong  08:52

From a structural perspective, if you think about a lot of these organizations were created with a one type of person in mind,

 

Karan Rhodes  09:02

That’s right. That’s right.

 

Ama Agyapong  09:04

The ones creating the the 30s and 20s, even earlier, I mean, they weren’t thinking about women, they weren’t thinking about any any type of differences

 

Karan Rhodes  09:12

From technology to the where we’ve advanced to this day, it’s a whole new world from what they were trying to support.

 

Ama Agyapong  09:17

It’s a whole new world than what it was originally created to be even HR law. So when we think about our structures within an organization, I think it’s also where people get where they, you know, get in trouble sometimes is convenient. So it’s easy to just keep doing things the way we’ve been doing it not challenging the status quo, not thinking about who’s being served by these policies and procedures and practices, who’s not being served. And knowing that it’s going to take a lot of work to change it because a lot of these policies and practices are baked into the DNA of the organization. And so I think convenience is a bottleneck for a lot of companies because We’re really talking about policies and systems, and how do we recruit? How do we develop talent? How do we even market our information, right? Like is everyone being represented? So those are the two ways that I think personally and structurally that people sometimes struggle.

 

Karan Rhodes  10:19

I agree totally with that. That’s what I’ve seen over my career as well. And if I think about even the current times, so this is a little bit about me. So I’m a news nerd. And so I do listen to a lot of different types of news. But in particular, I love business news, tried to keep up with the trends and what’s going on. And about two weeks ago, I can’t remember which outlet it was on, but anywho, they were saying that even in this kind of politically charged environment, when they surveyed 1000 CEOs, DEIB has not decreased in their level of priority, because they know they need it for their businesses, and how important it is, but they are concerned with how they approach it, and what they say out loud because of the highly charged environment. So I’m curious in what you’re seeing right now, if you’re seeing that number one, because I just heard it on a media outlet doesn’t mean it’s, you know, absolutely perfect and applicable for everyone. But how should executive leaders think about fostering inclusion? And if you will, kind of staying out of the political game of it?

 

Ama Agyapong  11:36

Yeah. Yea. So I have an MBA background where I was a finance undergrad MBA, I’m also an EEOC certified. Why am I saying that? Because my first approach to anything is like risk management and, and maximizing profits, right? Like, some of my anti racism friends would be like, Alma, that’s part of the problem. You’re right. That’s how my brain works. And so why am I saying that? Because when we think about D IB, oftentimes, we think of the feeling piece. And personally, I’m like, why do we still have to talk about the business case to include people I’m like, we should be over that,

 

Karan Rhodes  12:18

Right

 

Ama Agyapong  12:18

However, it’s turning to the point now, where litigations are going up, people are suing more now.

 

Karan Rhodes  12:25

I saw that!

 

Ama Agyapong  12:27

We’ll see filings and claims they’re increasing, have the language they have more confidence, and they feel more comfortable talking about these issues going on at work. For a company, you can think about it being politically charged, if you want to. But if you keep doing the same things, and not improving and increasing inclusion within the workplace, you’re opening yourself up to liability. That’s just the basic. And when you open yourself up to liability, you can very easily impact your profit margins that nobody wants to do that.

 

Karan Rhodes  13:00

Never.

 

Ama Agyapong  13:02

I will say, what I’m seeing is the name is changing, like people don’t feel comfortable saying DEI anymore. They want to say inclusion, they don’t want to say equity, they want to talk about inclusive workplaces, psychological safety, that’s amazing. But DEI has been around for almost 60 years. So you can call it what you want. That’s what I’m saying. They want to call it different things to make people comfortable. But the work is going to stay the same. And the work is how are people maximizing their whole self at work to bring the best value to the organization that’s at its most purest level. People want to win every day they do. Oh, and they want to know they’re making an impact. So how is your organization removing barriers, that’s how personal I’ll be it professional. So people can do that. So that’s what I’m seeing just dancing around the name. But necessary because legislate litigations are going up.

 

Karan Rhodes  14:01

They are. I saw that trend as well. And on top of that, I mean, if you saw the latest jobs report, there’s so many more jobs that have been added. Unemployment is a historic low, you know, we won’t even go into the war for talent, piece of it, you know, in really competing to have folks with the right skills in the right seats, if you’re not inclusive. There was a lot of options out there for folks, and they may not choose you, right.

 

Ama Agyapong  14:29

They may not choose you and while they’re sitting there, they may not give their best, and their best ideas

 

Karan Rhodes  14:34

That’s true

 

Ama Agyapong  14:35

With the change of the demographics, I think in 2011, Research said in 2011 more black and brown babies were born than ever before, right. So as you know, demographics are changing. The Hispanics are becoming the majority minority now. All of those things impact how people purchase, how people see themselves, what people buy, how long they keep it it like all of those. So if you’re talking about revenue, you got to include other voices and other ideas and lived experiences. So people can identify with your product and hopefully buy more. Again, this isn’t like a buy one, get one a clue one and you sell one only makes business sense to focus on inclusion.

 

Karan Rhodes  15:24

No. That makes a lot of sense. So hopefully, I’m not putting you on the spot with this question. But I’m sure there’s tips or low hanging fruit or things that you talk about, you know, when you do speak on inclusion, to organizations that you want them to start thinking about doing. And so we always, as part of the podcast, tried to put additional tips in our playbook, if you will, our leadership playbook. So if you wouldn’t mind, could you share maybe one or two thoughts or tips that you usually share? You know, with employers to ensure that they foster inclusive workspaces?

 

Ama Agyapong  16:02

Yeah, absolutely. So one is data, I think you start with data lead with passion. Um, so what I mean by data is more than just an annual survey. And sidenote, if you are doing the annual survey, please make sure you are actually coming up with some action items. And then telling people what you implemented because people don’t want to keep taking surveys, they don’t see your change, right? Okay, sidenote, love it. So data is important, and anything you collect, I think you need to analyze it by demographics. So the top five, the top five protected characteristics are great way to do that, because you want to see if there’s a difference in experience in your workplace. And that’s everything from how you recruit to progressive disciplinary action. And so that starts to see what the story is saying. And then that will lead you into what you need to focus on first, whether it’s, do I have unprofessional conduct as part of my progressive disciplinary action? And do I see Oh, my goodness, a large part of people who are getting written up for this are between the ages of, you know, 28, and 40. Okay, maybe that is an indicator that I need to maybe reword that or train about that, because that’s so subjective. So it’d be something you know, as simple as that. But you need to analyze the data by demographic. The other thing I’ll say, because I can talk about this forever, but I think every organization needs to have a management training program. And here’s why most managers are, I’m gonna say a lot, I’m not gonna say most remote it based on their skill set and how well they did their job, they often are not put in the position to lead people. And they’re often not graded on that. And so I think every organization needs to have management training program that includes dei topics, like how do you hold an inclusive meeting, right, that might seem really simple. But in this new hybrid workforce, a lot of leaders don’t know how to do that.

 

Karan Rhodes  18:04

You’re right. Yea.

 

Ama Agyapong  18:04

Right. So that management training program, regardless of how large you are, is ensuring that your leadership is going to not only represent the company well, but also represent your core values in leading people more than just managing a process.

 

Karan Rhodes  18:20

I love that. Love that. And what’s the common mistake that managers make? Because they haven’t had this kind of training? Or what’s a blind spot? Like, give us an example?

 

Ama Agyapong  18:32

Oh, um, they have their go to people. Typically, their go to people are like them. And most people, most times when people say like them, they just think, you know, race, age, gender, but sometimes it’s workstyles. Like, I know, when I was a leader, leading 150 people, I did have a few go to people and guess who they were the ones who were D’s like me, right? If you’re familiar with… they didn’t need a lot of direction you tell them to go they’re gonna go get it done. The moment people start asking you too many questions now I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I’ll just someone else, right. I was thinking, my leadership style. So I haven’t go to people and not really thinking about the why behind it is debilitating to the team because you’re not developing the rest of your team to be sustainable, whether you’re there or not. And then the other piece is going back to what I said is the development. I think leaders don’t develop their team. They just throw tasks at their team. And then the moment they go on vacation, if they do, things fall apart. And I think the the great indicator of a leader is your system running efficiently and effectively without you. So go-to people and not developing the team. Just thinking about the task at hand I think are two blind spots.

 

Karan Rhodes  19:47

Oh, great. That was wonderful to share. And I totally agree with those. I’ve seen this a lot you know, as we do our consulting work as well. So I always tell people just because you have expertise in the area doesn’t mean you haven’t tripped up along the way yourself. I know I have many times I could tell stories about things that we had to turn things around. Just because it didn’t know or didn’t didn’t realize. But I’m just curious for you if if there’s a story or share that you happen to have when you were learning more about inclusion, that that it was something that you took to heart and as a lesson in life,

 

Ama Agyapong  20:28

Oh, yes. So, Karan, now sometimes, well, like if I’m teaching a civility class, I’m like, Hi, my name is Alma. And I was a terrible leader, right? Like I will say, this was my first year having a team my first year having a team I maybe had like, 25 people on my team. But then there were other people, I had two that were like dotted line to me. And I was reported because the black and the white employees said I showed favoritism towards the Hispanic employees. First, I was like, this is bogus. Really. I’m American, y’all American get out of here. So how they felt I didn’t want to dig into it. I was like, Yeah, whatever. But then the more I thought about it, and then started analyzing my actions, they were right. Now why were they right? Well, with my black and white employees, I was very professional. Right? I was, you know, kind of fresh out. I was fresh out of grad school. So I thought professionalism meant something that is kind of bogus now. But I was just very friendly, but cordial it was Hi, how are you? How’s your day? Okay, thanks. This is what I need you to do. With my Hispanic colleagues. It was oh my god, how’s the family Kiss Kiss? Like just really deep connections?

 

Karan Rhodes  21:47

Right?

 

Ama Agyapong  21:48

Almost say, how is that possible? Well, I grew up in Miami, right, like, so very comfortable with that Latin culture. And it showed and where it started to bleed through is because Oh, I think they’re hard workers. So if they need the day off, of course, you need the day off, go leave early, get your family, no problem, they started getting provisions, the American team members, I was just more straight to the book, I didn’t realize that until I started to truly dig deeper. And I had to make some changes, because there was an in group and an out group. And that’s the quickest way to create exclusion, and a lack of equity on your team. So it was a mistake I was making. And I love to tell the story, because it shows that regardless of race, you can still make these mistakes.

 

Karan Rhodes  22:32

That’s right.

 

Ama Agyapong  22:35

We feel comfortable with certain groups more than others. It’s just who we naturally are. And that’s why we do this work to fight against who we naturally are. So yeah, they got me all the way together, Karan and I had to change quickly.

 

Karan Rhodes  22:50

Well, I’m not gonna leave you out there all by yourself. I’ll share a quick one of my own a lesson learned. So as I’m generally as you tell, very chatty and bubbly, and believe it or not, I was working in Miami at the time as well. So they’re both Miami stories for a major health care company. And I was at an internal HR workplace consultant for them. And I was friendly, nice engaging to everyone. That was just my nature. And now I was told that, but there was one thing I never did. And that was, in our office, and this is that when you were in offices, 24/7 they would roll around a cart, offering Cuban coffee. Well, I didn’t drink coffee. And so I always said, Thank you, but no. And so a friend and a colleague of mine, pulled me aside, I still remember to this day, he said, I want to put a little bug in your ear. He said even if you don’t drink the coffee, take it and go because they would do it around to 230 ish every afternoon. And people would just take a literally just five to seven minutes to stop, go and maybe talk with a colleague have their Cuban coffee and they will be back to work. It was part of what the company offered. Well, I was new to South Florida at the time. And I did not know that people had because they were a was a very diverse workforce, especially those of Cuban descent of Hispanic descent. They could not understand why I was so nice, but why I wouldn’t accept the coffee and go on the chatting breaks. And so from that point on I took the coffee. I always found a group to go on chatting breaks. And the friend who kind of pulled my coattail let me know it was going on said Hey, folks are loving you having that coffee and I didn’t drink and I still don’t drink Cuban coffee but it was the norm in the culture that I did not Understand that I did not understand how it was impacting the perception of me and how because they couldn’t reconcile it. It kind of looks almost like close the door. But they were hesitant about really sharing their deep feelings. And once that happened, things just I didn’t know they were bad, but they turned around a lot of people were in my office all the time. So that was a lesson learned.

 

Ama Agyapong  25:27

Oh, that’s a good story. Yeah. I love that your friend pulled you to the side. Because often what happens is, you’ll have people come into an organization and there are spoken rules and unspoken rules,

 

Karan Rhodes  25:39

And those aren’t spoken.

 

Ama Agyapong  25:40

and people are more so judged on the unspoken rules, but you’re you’re being judged by something you don’t even know about.

 

Karan Rhodes  25:46

Didn’t have a clue.

 

Ama Agyapong  25:47

And that was a cultural competence moment,

 

Karan Rhodes  25:50

It was!

 

Ama Agyapong  25:51

But you know what, you didn’t know, and so good for your friend for like pulling you to the side and telling you and good luck to you for making the change.

 

Karan Rhodes  25:59

I did I did I, I would pretend to slip because you know, they come in Little Dixie cup servings. So I pretend to sip but there’s a teeny teeny bit and but I would spend my time talking. And then you know, when our five to seven minutes was up, I’m like, Okay, girl, see later.

 

Ama Agyapong  26:17

Well, good thing you didn’t drink it, because you will still be up to this day.

 

Karan Rhodes  26:20

I know! I know. And I never threw it away in front of anybody. I didn’t want it to go back because I was you know, perpetrating or whatever.

 

Ama Agyapong  26:30

Oooh. That’s so good. Thank you for sharing that.

 

Karan Rhodes  26:33

Absolutely. Well, um, uh, you know, one of the things we always love to ask our guests is, you know, we did a lot of research on leadership, execution and some best practices. And I read a book about our research. But out of the research, there were a lot of things we found. But we found seven big tactics or pillars of things that some of the world’s highest performing leaders actually did when they were leading any effort. And so we always love to ask our guests, which of the seven, they’re all equally as important. But which of the seven really resonated with us, and you had a couple, but if you had to put one, first you were so kind to share that leading with courageous agility popped out for you. And, you know, based on your background and expertise, it’s not a total surprise, but in a moment, I’d love to get your thoughts about it. But for you listeners that are new to the podcast, leading with courageous agility is all about having the courage and the fortitude, to take calculated risk and stand up for what you believe and are still move forward on any initiative. Even if you don’t know what’s going to happen, even if the future is uncertain or unclear. It’s all about that agility to take a baby step forward, based on the information, you know, at this point in time, and then make for progress and in a good and positive way. So curious minds want to know, why did leading with courageous agility resonate with you?

 

Ama Agyapong  28:04

Yeah, for several reasons. I will say one, is it aligned very well with the Deloitte Six C’s of inclusive leadership, because courage and commitment is one of them. And they also have curiosity. But I think it takes courage to be curiosity is curious, because you have to show vulnerability and that you don’t know something. Yeah, I think when you are operating in a space of inclusion, and trying to create those environments for people, one, you need a humility to say, I don’t know something. So I want to learn either more about you either more about how you experience something. And I think it takes a fortitude to say, this is not serving a certain group of people well, or it only serves one group. What about the rest, like it takes courage to speak up? It takes courage to look internally of what your biases are, and really start to work on that and mitigate it, you know, when we’re talking about dismantling certain systems, so it is more creative. It’s more collaborative for everyone there, that takes courage. You’re talking about a new landscape, and we don’t fully know what that new landscape is going to be like, we know that oh, one. We know that very well. Right. So much courage. And that is why I mean, I could talk forever about it. That is why I chose it because it aligns really well. And when you think about this walk of inclusion and equity, and really acknowledging who’s in the in group who’s in the out group who feels that seen value and hurt who doesn’t like that takes a lot of courage.

 

Karan Rhodes  29:43

It does.

 

Ama Agyapong  29:44

Yeah, yeah. So.

 

Karan Rhodes  29:45

To your point about there’s so many unwritten norms in the workplaces and I always say in inclusion, especially in the larger corporate or enterprise level organizations, those Roads to inclusion, and this will tell you how country I am. They’re, they’re like unpaid country roads. There’s no real direction you don’t know the obstacles or roadblocks that you’re going to it’s not as pretty smooth path to drive on, and you’re trying to trying to figure it all out, it takes a lot of courage and to your point curiosity to, to do so. Because nobody wants to be on the wrong end of a conversation or not to make others feel included and not to feel included yourself. So

 

Ama Agyapong  30:36

Oh, my goodness. Absolutely. Right. Like, I really don’t believe people wake up and say I want to be crappy and abusive and, like, make people feel bad. Like, I don’t think people wake up saying that,

 

Karan Rhodes  30:48

No

 

Ama Agyapong  30:49

So if you’re not intentionally being that, that means it happens unintentionally, which means that might be in your nature in some way. And that takes courage to really look internally and say, Oh, these are things I need to change. I don’t know what that road ahead is going to be like, like you mentioned those country roads. I went to Tuskegee University just took me back to those little country roads in Alabama. And they were dirty and they were bumpy, but, if you stay on the road, and you might detour but eventually you get to your place.

 

Karan Rhodes  31:22

Yeah.

 

Ama Agyapong  31:24

Yeah, that was such a good analogy.

 

Karan Rhodes  31:25

Oh, wonderful. Well, we’re gonna have a ton of information about you, your business, where to find you and our show notes. But I always love to give our guests airtime to let our listeners know where they can find you, your company and maybe you can give us me a 15 second overview of the services you all provide.

 

Ama Agyapong  31:48

Yes, thank you. So I’m known as “That Inclusion Lady” on Instagram, Tik Tok. All the things I talk about all things inclusion and just managing a diverse and inclusive workplace environment. Ama that inclusion lady Agyapong on LinkedIn. So you can find me on all our social media handles that way. Our website is inclusionenterprises.org. And we are a training and development consulting firm that really focuses on helping leaders manage the dynamic of difference so you can create an inclusive workplace environment. So we do that through coaching through training, through, you know, speaking, and the focus is really not this training platform that most that a lot of companies do. I feel adults learn better through hands on practical applications, specifically through a core cohort style. When you have that community while you’re learning and you create that safe space, I think it just makes it an invaluable impact. So that is a little bit about us. We do you know all the inclusive stuff, all the DEI stuff as well as leadership training and coaching.

 

Karan Rhodes  32:59

Oh, fantastic. I don’t know where you have a time when you have time to sleep between taking care of the little one and running around and working and doing all that that is just amazing. So congratulations on your success thus far.

 

Ama Agyapong  33:13

Thank you so much. And again, thank you for having me Karan. You know, I’ve been admire you for from afar for a long time. The amazing things that you do oh my gosh, setting the bar.

 

Karan Rhodes  33:26

Oh, thank you! That is so kind of you to say I appreciate you. Thanks again. And thanks again, listeners for joining another episode of the elite at the top of your game podcasts. You know, we know that you have a literally a billion podcast you could be listening to so we did not take your time for granted. We appreciate you. Please be sure to like and subscribe the podcast on your favorite podcast platform of choice. And please be sure to share it with just one friend because by doing so, we all together can learn how to lead at the top of our game. Thanks so much and see you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, and bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at leadyourgamepodcast.com. You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K a r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand, project, or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.

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