Thursday, June 4, 2020

(Video) In This Time of Such Unrest, How Can Business Leaders Respond?

I sat down with Ron Carey, Founder of Tilt Creative + Production about the unrest and change in society that many of us are struggling with right now.

I needed to speak with him, especially after he publicly posted a personal message about this issue on Facebook and LinkedIn about his frustrations. {Here is a link to that post.}

About that post he told me, “The piece I wrote yesterday for LinkedIn and for Facebook really was driven more about just kind of the anxiety and frustration that I was feeling and also hearing, and not just from African Americans, but I think for citizens across the country. And so I really felt compelled to just sit down and kind of put those thoughts down to paper.”


“What they want is to have empathy from their leader….” – Ron Carey


I asked him, how do we, as business leaders, align people in the best sense? He says, “I think if you start from a place as a leader of saying, ‘I’m trying to put something good into the world, and I’m trying to be positive,’ it doesn’t have to be divisive about whether you’re a conservative or whether you’re liberal, right? At the end of the day, that’s not gonna help bring comfort to anyone. But start from a place of the most simple and basic thing, which is empathy. Because more than anything else, empathy, not sympathy. Many of your employees, particularly your employees that are people of color, black, Hispanic, Indian, Asian, et cetera. They’re not looking for sympathy.”

He later says, “What they want is to have empathy from their leader. They want to have someone who’s trying to understand, it doesn’t mean that you as a Caucasian man, you are going to completely understand everything about their journey in their life. But what it says is, ‘I’m willing to sit back and listen to what you have to say, and I’m willing to try and figure out what you’re saying to me and what might be the point of pain. How, can I help you with that?’ And that is the, that is a starting point.”

Listen in as Ron shares his story, his thoughts, and some practical advice for business owners and leaders on how to align people in the best sense. Below is the full transcript. I humbly apologize for any errors. I was compelled to get this out quickly.

-Scot McRoberts
Executive Director
VA Council of CEOs

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WATCH VIDEO.

TRANSCRIPT (AUTOMATED, EDITED BRIEFLY FOR CLARITY)

Scot McRoberts (00:05): Hi, this is Scot McRoberts, Executive Director of Virginia Council of CEOs, and I’m having another CEO Chat today with one of our members. Ron Carey is founder and CEO of Tilt Creative and Production. And Ron joins us today from his home office, like I am. Ron, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about you and your business.

Ron Carey (00:52): Yeah, thanks for the time Scot. It’s good to be with you today. Tilt Creative and Production is a full-service, content creative company, we’ve got production inhouse creative services, so art and writing, s well as animation. And so we work with brands in terms of developing content for their social media online, as well as television.

Scot McRoberts (01:17): A firm that you founded in early 2018 and has grown significantly since then. But Ron, I really want to talk to you today, a post you put on LinkedIn yesterday which really addressed the unrest and change in society that we’re all struggling with right now caused me to want to have a talk with you.

You know, Virginia Council’s CEOs mission is to connect CEOs for learning and growth. And our we’re not an advocacy organization. That’s not in our role. However, we are a leadership organization and we’re a learning organization. And my hope is that this conversation can create some, some learning and some awareness of how leaders may respond in these times today. I know all of us are struggling with how to address it, particularly those of us who are in the majority community. So you and I have talked about this a little bit. I think you have some great practical insights, so do you take it from here?

Ron Carey (02:22): Yeah, thanks Scot. I, you know the, the piece I wrote yesterday for LinkedIn and for Facebook really was driven more about just kind of the anxiety and frustration that I was feeling and also hearing, and not just from African Americans, but I think for citizens across the country. And so I really felt compelled to just sit down and kind of put those thoughts down to paper. To articulate, the concerns I had, the frustrations I had, the, the anger, but also to think about – and try and help other people understand – what is this perspective? What is it, what is the frustration that’s so many, America have right now? But not only just stop there at the level of frustration to think about what’s the path forward, right? What’s the opportunity in terms of us thinking about as leaders as, as Americans, as Virginians, thinking about how do we start to engage with one another and have a dialogue and, and start to solve problems together, and how do we start to make this work for everyone?

Ron Carey (03:29): Because quite frankly, no American wants to have that concern of “I get stopped and I’m not quite sure how to handle the situation,” or you’re going through all of the variables of what could go wrong in a potential situation. So that’s why I felt compelled to kind of write the document yesterday. And the response I’ve received back from a number of folks has been pretty, pretty powerful. I think a number of folks, so moved by moved by the piece. I think as I, as I think about this from a leader’s perspective, and I think, you know, anyone’s, who’s founded a company is running their business — it could be a two person company, it could be a hundred person company — but the fact of the matter is, you know, we’ve got a number of our employees looking at us and they’re looking for guidance and they’re looking for insight and they want to know where we stand on some things.

Ron Carey (04:26): And that may be a very uncomfortable position for a number of us to step into that haven’t necessarily had to talk about those things in the past, right? Everyone’s got feelings about a variety of these things, but, but many of us have been told that, right? You don’t talk about money. You don’t talk about politics. You don’t talk about religion. And yet our employees and our community need for us to be able to be authentic and to show empathy and compassion, and to be able to talk to especially our employees about, you know, kind of what’s important to us, what are the values of our business? How are we going to support them? Because quite frankly, all of us have someone that’s been impacted by the course of events that have played out over this year. So, for me, that’s, that’s a super important thing because by frankly, it’s, it’s kind of like the, you can’t even have people thinking about making whatever your product is or selling it or doing anything else, if they don’t feel like they’ve got some level of comfort, but if every time they step out, they’ve got that uncertainty, that’s an anxiety that just comes with them. And quite frankly, we as leaders have an opportunity as much as possible to kind of figure out how do we provide you some comfort in some relief to know that you’re coming to work in a place where there really is someone cares about you and wants to support you.

Scot McRoberts (05:49): Yeah, Ron so I’m feeling like as a leader myself, that the option to say nothing is off the table. Is that what you’re saying?

Ron Carey (06:01): Yeah. I think that, that’s exactly what I’m saying to Scot, because quite frankly, in saying nothing, right, we all [inaudible]… Someone judges you within 30 seconds of meeting you. Right. And so, there’s a preconceived idea that’s already been developed. And in saying nothing sometimes, people start to create their own narratives about — not just you — but about the business of kind of what you believe and what the business is about. And I think quite frankly, some of those folks are hopeful that their leaders, in this case are our business leaders, but that they’re hopeful of getting that some purpose and some direction and trying to make sense of all that is going on around them. And if quite frankly, we as leaders have the opportunity to bring a little bit of order through work and through our words —to them that that will make a world of difference to them just in terms of trying to make sense of what’s going on around them.

Scot McRoberts (07:05): So there’s a lot of opportunity, unfortunately, to divide and to take sides in all of the issues that are swirling around right now. Do you have any practical advice for leaders on how they communicate that avoids those traps and try to align people with each other in the best sense?

Ron Carey (07:28): And I think if you start from a place as a leader of saying, ‘I’m trying to put something good into the world, and I’m trying to be positive,’ it doesn’t have to be divisive about whether you’re a conservative or whether you’re liberal, right? At the end of the day, that’s not gonna help bring comfort to anyone. But start from a place of the most simple and basic thing, which is empathy, right? Because more than anything else, empathy, not sympathy. Many of your employees, particularly your employees that, you know, people are color, black, Hispanic, Indian, Asian, et cetera. They’re they’re not looking for sympathy, right?

Ron Carey (08:19): What they want is to have empathy from their leader. They want to have someone who’s trying to understand, it doesn’t mean that, you know, as a Caucasian man, you are going to completely understand everything about their journey in their life. But what it says is, ‘I’m willing to sit back and listen to what you have to say, and I’m willing to try and figure out what you’re saying to me and what might be the point of pain. How, how can I help you with that?’ And that is the, that is a starting point. I know what I’m saying is it’s not complicated, and it sounds very simplistic, but if any of us, as leaders start from a place of empathy and wanting to listen and hear — and sometimes the things that they’re going to say to us may make us uncomfortable — it may be things that we haven’t even talked about in our own families at home about, but the fact of the matter is, by listening and saying, ‘I hear you an acknowledge the kind of the challenges that you may be going through, I may not understand them completely, but I want you to know that I’m with you and that I support you.’ I think that it will unlock a door of communication that perhaps some of us as leaders have never experienced with some of our teams.

Scot McRoberts (09:41): So I’m not a very imaginative guy, and I’m trying to think of, okay, what are the actual practical steps to doing that? Is that showing a statement to my company? Is that convening a conversation? What does that look like?

Ron Carey (09:59): Yeah, I think it’s going to be a little different for each leader, right. And when I wrote that piece yesterday, quite frankly, I was struck by, and needed to articulate the words in a written form someplace. And I’m, and, and I’m not, I don’t always do something that’s incredibly personal on LinkedIn or Facebook, but I felt like that was the right vehicle for me. I’ve tagged those in my company so that they could see kind of the message that I was putting out. But for someone else, they may feel much more comfortable in that being in an individual conversations, or they may feel very comfortable about that being an all hands team meeting and what I would, what I would encourage is find the right thing for you and then make it authentic. It doesn’t have to be the most eloquent. It doesn’t, it shouldn’t likely be a PowerPoint presentation. I think in some ways it’s just sitting down and saying, ‘I want to have a conversation with you. And I want you to know that I care about you, and I want to talk and whatever form that needs to take, I’m willing to put the time in so we can have that conversation.’

Ron Carey (11:04): And I think if you choose whatever the path is that works best for you, the dialogue will come. And don’t be surprised if some of your employees are a bit guarded and surprised initially, because if this is something you’ve never done before, this will feel completely foreign to them. And it’s going to take them a little bit of time to figure it out. But if you’re, if you’re a leader that that is interested in seeing your business make progress, and you’re interested in seeing your people grow and have some level of comfort, I think the rewards will be an invaluable.

Scot McRoberts (11:38): That’s really helpful. Ron. I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience and your thoughts on this. It’s a, I think it’s practical and will be really helpful to others as, as it already has been to me. So thanks for joining me today.

Ron Carey (11:54): Indeed. Glad to join you, Scot, take care.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally posted  here.

Posted by Staff at 8:31 am

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