Uncomfortable Representation

Knowledge is power

This is such a great time to be a Milwaukean on many levels. The Milwaukee Bucks are the 1 seed for the NBA playoffs with MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo arguably the best player in the league. The Milwaukee Brewers, fresh off their NLCS appearance are 1st in the NL with reigning MVP, Christian Yellich. Milwaukee will host the 2020 DNC convention, anchored by the new Fiserv Forum (hopefully we’re finally comfortable with the name), which has democrats and republicans working together to pull it off with excellence. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the great things happening in Milwaukee. However, there’s another side to this success.

A study, Making Milwaukee a Region of Choice for Diverse Talent,  around retaining diverse (African American and Latino) talent performed by the MMAC resulted in a paltry 4% AA/Latino representation in leadership positions in companies above 100 employees. For Milwaukee to grow, this is a very uncomfortable representation and here’s why.

One of the questions I get asked frequently is, “How did you get into leadership development?”  When I had my IT consulting business, I noticed that the problem many organizations faced preventing growth was not an IT problem. More likely than not, it was a leadership problem. So, if I could get the leader to develop the right behaviors, then the organization would flourish. This then was the problem I wanted to solve. I genuinely enjoy solving problems, so solving the root of the cause always excites me. Back in 2010, I made the gradual transition from IT to business coaching then ultimately executive coaching too.

As SPEARity has continued to grow, I’ve seen the issue even within our own client base. One of our mantras is, “money is not a reason we don’t help someone”. The monetary barrier is real for many to get one-on-one executive coaching. But honestly, that’s not enough. More has to be done if Milwaukee is going to be a destination for Black and Brown leaders.

Now I know some people reading this are wondering why this is important. The only thing stopping Milwaukee from growing at a faster pace is talent. There is a direct correlation between talent growth and economic growth. The demographics of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the US as a whole are changing. On the current path, there won’t be enough people to support the economic growth from purely current demographic (white majority) trends.

We are in the process of developing an answer, so this will be part one of a series. I know this seems incomplete, but trust me that the tease will be worth the wait. If you do have questions or comments on this topic, contact me.

Need help with change? Let’s talk! We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.

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