||35th NACDA Convention|
June 11-14, 2000
All NACDA Members
Diversity Training Seminar
Wednesday, June 14, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
I'd like to bring up Dana Craft to introduce Lin Dawson, who will give us yet another perspective that I think all of you will appreciate and enjoy.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to continue this third day of our 35th Anniversary Convention with Diversity Training Seminar. Our speaker today is Lin Dawson who was recently named director of athletics at North Carolina Central University. He had previously been a chief operating officer for the National Consortium for Academics and Sports, a position he held for nearly one year. Among his responsibilities were overseeing program evaluations, marketing services to members, coordinating the efforts of the regional offices working with major athletics conferences and individual institutions. He assisted in the coordination of leadership at the conference and regional levels. He worked with member institutions to identify needs and coordinate activities with the NCAA, its conferences and member institutions.
Lin had also been the associate director for training and education at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University. Lin started as tight end for the New England Patriots for 10 years and played in Super Bowl XX. Ladies and gentlemen, Lin Dawson.
Good morning. I know you've heard some interesting remarks in terms of diversity. This is not a seminar as it is titled, however, more of a discussion. With the number people left in this session, I hope we can do a couple of interactive things. I'm going to use the overhead in just a moment.
I hope that, in terms of the discussion you've heard today and things that you brought to the table before you got here, will spark you to go a little further. I would like to take us on a journey, if you will. Let's focus on our culture. We're not going to debate diversity in terms of numbers, or participation in terms of access, but I hope what you would do is to look at your culture, look at your subculture. Look at your teams, look at your administration. Look at how the dynamics play out.
We've all heard about management diversity, leadership diversity. It has become what many people say "politically correct." We've gotten to the point in many circles where nobody wants to talk about diversity anymore. Diversity is here to stay. It's a part of who we are. The dynamics happening on our campuses will continue. We're going to be dealing with diversity dimensions as we get further into this century that we haven't even thought about before.
Typically, we've addressed race, sexual orientation and gender as the big three. As we look further, there are many more dimensions we need to deal with. I'd like to invite you to dabble a little bit in your culture. Look at that and see how you might be able to affect change.
I'm going to be bold enough to ask a few people to come to the microphone. Sir and ma'am, please step up to the microphone. What are your names and where are you from? Jeff Altier from Stetson and Tanya Rushmore from Morgan State University.
Before us we have an apple farmer and a pear farmer. We have two people, Jeff and Tanya, apple and pear farmers. The dynamics are very simple. Jeff decides he would like to have some perversity on his farm. He's not willing to cut down any of his apple trees in any of his groves. So, he goes over to Tanya's farm and asks her for the best producing tree she could find. She takes Jeff out to her grove and finds the best producing pear tree and cuts off a branch. At that point, she gives it to Jeff. Jeff brings it back to his farm. He engrafts it on one of his trees. He waters it, he fertilizes it, he makes sure that things are right. He talks to the tree and tells it what he expects. Tanya's done her job. She knows that this tree has been a producer here. There's no reason not to believe that a branch or a part of that tree will not produce somewhere else. It has the right stuff to make it.
It is now harvest time. Jeff comes to his tree and there are three scrawny little pears on that tree. That's the first year so it's okay. He knows that if he stays with it long enough, it's going to get better. The next year, some very different things begin to happen. Again, nothing changes. He has the same commitment to the tree. He's gotten the best offer and plant from Tanya. He brings it home and does all of those things he needs to. He has a policy in place. He protects it, speaks to it and gives it what it needs to succeed, but there's a problem.
In the second year, he is discouraged because some of the pears fell off. One of the pears decided that it wasn't going to make it as a pear, so it became an apple pear. The second pear decides that if I'm not going to be accepted as an apple or a pear, I'm going to be pearer than thou. That pear decides to take pear holidays, wear pear earrings, shoes, the whole pear yard. Are you with me now?
The last pear decides that he can't be an apple or a pear, I'm going to stay right where I am. Now, Jeff is discouraged. He goes back to Tanya's farm and said, "I thought you told me this was the best producing branch on your farm." Tanya said, "It was. I don't understand what took place."
Well, that is typical of most organizations, whether it's the football team, the basketball team or the athletics department. The problem is this. When most organizations don't know what to do, they do more of what they know how to do, but they do it harder. Let me give you a classic saying. We are in the Super Bowl XX against the Chicago Bears. They are beating us 25 to 3 at halftime. Everything we've done to this point is not working. We come out at halftime and our coach tells us that we've got to do what we're doing harder. So we do. The end result was 46 to 10. We knew what we did. We did it harder, but it wasn't working. That's not unlike most organizations. Thank you very much.
The dynamics of that scenario was that most of us think about diversity in terms of what we see. If we haven't enough women or enough people of color in our organization, we are diverse. If we have students coming from all over the place, there is diversity on our teams, diversity in our departments or organizations and we're satisfied. I contend that diversity is not only numbers and participation, but we've got to deal with the common. The problem that Jeff had in that scenario is that he didn't deal with the roots. The roots determine which is the culture, how big those apples will be, whether they're going to be red, Granny Smith, crab apples, etc. The roots decide that, not the tree.
You can do all you want to the diversity model, but until you deal with your root system, until you deal with your culture, it doesn't matter how many folks you have up here. That, in itself, is not diversity. You have to make a decision whether or not the apples and pears in your organization are valuable. If they are valuable, then you've got to deal with the root system. The roots have to change. The problem is you have apples or pears on an apple tree. It's not going to work from a scientific standpoint.
I am saying your people's systems have to change if they're valuable. In my yard, we have this tree that the builder put in. My wife decided she didn't want it in the front yard anymore, so I moved it to the backyard. I dug it up and put it in the backyard. It looked good. I thought that it was going to survive. It has, but he problem is, the root system only supports part of the tree. Since I have moved it, now only part of the tree gets leaves and the other part does not. The question is, is that tree successful? It's there. It's producing the flower on at least one side of the tree. But, is it successful? Is it what we term successful?
I would declare that many organizations are just like that tree. They budding, they're moving on and meeting their bottom line. The root system only works for a certain part of people in that organization. I've asked this question in diversity. How many people of women and color do we have? I believe that's a question, but not the right question. The right question is, how many of us are we? Those are two different questions.
One is how many people of color and women do we have? The other question is, how many are we? I believe that if you examine your culture, you have to decide whether or not your culture works for everybody. If not, you have to cut that root off and you have to grow some new legs on it. That's very difficult.
My wife asked me to pull up some pine seedlings on the other side of our front yard. We had just gotten this new sod down. I'm 6'3" and a hundred few pounds. I figured I'd wouldn't use my saw, I'd just pull up the seedling. I did that. When I pulled it up, the root was halfway through our yard and it ripped up my sod. My wife said if she had known that would happen, she would have left that seedling alone.
That's the way most people deal with diversity. If you start yanking it, that root system may be over there. You've got to deal with it. Again, when most organizations don't know what to do, they do what? More of what they know how to do and they do it harder. That's the diversity dilemma.
As we, at the Center, have developed our program over the years, one of the things we try to look at is the whole notion of the diversity continuum from a standpoint of where do people fit? We have the research. We know why it works. We know how it works. There are too many companies and organizations and other universities and other athletics departments who are investing in leadership diversity for what not to consider. For example, I've had some discussions with some CEOs who say diversity is a moral issue.
Yes, maybe. I've heard other people say that it is a social issue. Yes, it could be a social issue. I've heard some people say that it is a religious issue, based on your religious convictions. I buy that. I believe that. But, I don't believe that we can stand still and wait for leadership to take place based on morals, because it hasn't happened, folks. It hasn't happened.
I don't think we can stand alone and wait for it to happen socially. In many of our communities, we're more polarized now than we were during the Civil Rights movement. Socially, I don't know if I can wait another 400 years. Religiously, well on Sunday that's the most segregated day in America, when you go to your church and I go to mine. Religiously? I'm an ordained minister, so I can't surrender that. I believe that, but it hasn't' happened. Legally, legislators are going to write the law and we're going to treat each other fairly. There are more lawsuits today than ever in the history of our country based on discrimination.
Let's look at this thing. There is the moral, the social, the religious, the legal, so what's left? Folks, the bottom line. I hope, at some point, people will come on board based on the fact that it's a moral issue, a social issue, regardless of what your religion is. I would hope people will come along, but if they don't, I'm forced to show you the bottom line.
I can show you, based on research, why diversity makes good sense. I'm going to go to the podium for a moment and we can extend this discussion a little further.
I'm sure many of you have seen the chart, the textbook which talk about what the world would look like if there were 100 people in the world and what they would look like. That's interesting. If we took all of America today and put us in a big blender and then the person that's a typical American would surface, what do you think we'd find? What race? Do you think it would be a male, a person of color? What age group? Fifty. Okay, it would be a male, a person of color and age 50. What type of job? Administrative, doctor, clerical, construction, attorney, what do you think? All right, clerical.
So, if you look at the dynamics of what this person would look like if we talked about the typical American today, the only part of that that's correct, based on your estimates, was a clerical. It would be a white female, 31.9 years of age holding down a clerical job. That's a typical American right now. The landscape is changing. Is that who holds the power in this country? Is that who makes the decisions? Is that who we think about when we talk about the typical American? I don't think we do. This is interesting because it talks about diversity within what is believed to be if we took 100 and came up with a composite sketch of the world.
Again, I don't want to debate the whole notion of diversity. If there were all white males in this room, if there were all African-American males in this room, there would be plenty of diversity, there would be plenty of diversity in this room. So, diversity that I'm talking about is a collective mixture of characteristics as they relate to the differences and similarities.
This whole notion of management diversity or leadership diversity is a little different for us. We talked about being sensitive to diversity, valuing diversity and all of that is good. We still need that. I think where we need to go is to managing or leadership diversity wherein there's an ongoing natural process that requires a mind shift. It requires a system change. Up until this point, everything has been forced, if you will, or encouraged. For example, if you look at Affirmative Action, when you look at Affirmative Action and look at people who benefit from Affirmative Action, you look at the Vietnam veterans, women and people of color. At least 70 percent of those categories could be white. When we talk about Affirmative Action, we always talk about the person who scores 72 on the test and the other guy who scores 88 and why that guy who scores the 88 didn't get the test. When you talk about Affirmative Action, basically, we took women, people of color, Vietnam vets and people who are handicapped and brought them over to where white males were. We gave them access.
Then you have value in diversity sensitivity programs that took white males and brought them over to where the rest of the world was for just a day to see how the other part of the world lives. I believe that managing or leadership diversity is much different. Everybody is involved. It is a mutual adaptation of everybody. Managing or leadership diversity doesn't kick everybody out. It doesn't replace some people with other people. What it does, is look at the dynamics in your people systems and how you traditionally allow people to come in. It examines his culture and determines whether or not people in your organization are valuable. Does it work for them and will it work for your future employees? That's where we're headed.
Leadership diversity foundations are something I believe in strongly. Leadership diversity stimulates a long-term culture change. Folks, if you're going to talk about a culture change, most socialists believe that it's at least a five-year program. At best, a five-year program when you're talking about moving and dealing with the culture of your association. Secondly, leadership diversity strategies include all employees' futures. It involves all of the energy of all of your employees, plus future employees. What we mean by that is that everybody has to be on board, everybody is included and everyone has a voice
We're not talking about diversity in terms of surrendering what the bottom line is. You don't give up the mission of your organization at the risk of diversity. What diversity does is fit into the bottom line and the mission statement of your organization.
Leadership diversity strategies are beneficial to everyone in the organization. Again, everybody benefits. Leadership diversity strategies are good for business and people. When you start talking about leadership diversity foundations, you start talking about managing from the customer in. For example, I was at NC State for five years as associate athletics directors. One of the things we did with our Life Skills Program was begin to manage from a different end. We found that our student-athletes began to tell us things about our culture that we didn't realize. When you are successful, you find that the American way of doing business was not the only way to do business.
I believe that if you listen to your customer, listen to your student-athlete, you'll find that your culture is not the only way that you can run your culture. Ron Stratten was talking a few moments ago about the type of young people we're bringing on our campuses. The roles are changing. Now, I begin to do just some sensitivity pieces in our culture in terms of recruiting. We've lost students because of not having the right kind of information. We've lost Jewish students, African-American students because of perceived support or non-support.
We're talking about the people that we're bringing on our campus is going to forever change. Why is that? Because we're bringing in about 800,000 new residents to our country. Baby boomers had fewer babies than their parents, which means there is approximately an eight to 15 percent talent pool gap. They're not in prison. They're not on the corner. It's not that they're not going to class. Folks, they are not born. So, where are we going to find these people? Where are we going to find football players? Where are we going to find baseball players to fit on our teams. Well? As people come into our country and assimilate, I believe the type of baseball player that we have is going to change over the years. We're beginning to see some of that right now. In the next 10 years, it's going to be monumental in terms of who's on our campus.
If we have another Million Man March, it will change the way we schedule our games. Martin Luther King Day may cause a change in game schedules. I was at a university during a Million Man March. There were 23 African-American student-athletes who decided not to practice or go to the March. They came to me and told me they wanted to go the March. I told them to talk to some people on campus about organization and transportation, but you have to talk to your head coach to make sure everything is cleared. They said they couldn't talk to their head coach. I said, "You came to me for advice, but you're not willing to go to the head coach and talk to him about the dynamics of how you believe that it's important to go to the Million Man March?"
They told me that if they went to him and he said no, they wouldn't want to defy him because they respect him. They wanted to go. One young man went in to see the coach and the coach didn't want them to go. He expected them to be in practice. The young man went back and told the buddies. They said there was no reason for the other 22 of them to go in and talk to him because he would tell them not to go. The Million Man March came and 23 players didn't show up for practice. Nobody knew where they were.
Isn't interesting that there are things going on in your departments and on your teams that you're not aware of? You've got to dig down and see what it is. One of the reasons for doing this is to become the university of choice, particularly as the talent pool begins to shrink.
When the kids came back, they had to make up the practices. Some of them didn't start. It was a whole, major issue. A rift developed between the African-American kids who went to practice and ones who chose to go to Washington. Now, you have a whole new dynamic of diversity dimension that's not black and white anymore. We didn't know how to deal with it. That's why we chose not to deal with it.
When you talk about who's coming on our campuses now, when you talk about the dynamics of who's there and that shrinking talent pool, we got to keep everybody who comes on our campuses. Why? There's nobody else. Where will you get them from? There's nobody else coming. They aren't born. I'm not saying there's not going to be enough people to fill our teams, there will be.
My point is simply that Juan Gonzales is going to be a quarterback on somebody's team. That's the point. We need to be ready for Juan Gonzales, Billy Mudd, John Smith, the whole gambit. What I'm saying is how we've traditionally set our team schedules, our religious holidays, all of those things are going to change and they're changing.
I was doing a seminar at the University of Arkansas a couple of years ago. A track coach adapted his schedule because he had some Muslims on his team. Do you think I'd run harder for that coach because he adapted his practice around his prayer schedule? I'd run till I dropped. He's interested in me. You all understand what I'm saying? I'd run till I dropped.
They didn't have BET in Arkansas. You know how many African-American men look forward to BET? The coaches were fighting for it. Do you know how many men believed in their coach because at least he was fighting for it? That's not football folks, that's the other stuff.
I'm just saying that it's the little things that will take us from this point forward.
From the Floor
I'd like to know, by not dealing with the issue at the institution that you were talking about, what happened?
Three and eight. Seven straight bowl games, then three and eight.
Again, when you talk about diversity, we can't be afraid even of what we don't know. We don't always have an answer for this stuff, we can't fix everything, but we can address it. That's what is the most important thing. I have statistics from student-athletes on how we handle certain things from their perspective. Remember, it's what they see which is definitely not all of the time right, but that's what we have going on our campuses. Our job, for the most part, depends on 18 and 18 year-old kids and how they see the world.
It's a new world and we have to address those issues. We have to talk about them, talk about them in the weight room. Almost every major weight room I walked in played country music until the brothers get in there. The brothers turn on rap. One day you have gospel. Tuesday you have rap. Wednesday is country. These are simple things. I see those scenarios all the time. The starters come in and turn on the music. Nothing is said. You think that's a good thing? I don't think it is. I've seen this cause problems.
Let me share with you a couple of things in terms of your roots system. How can you get at your root system when you've got to do an assessment? There's got to be some way to find out. Some anonymous survey or some consultant or somebody from the outside who can come in, do the surveys, do the interviews and measure what you've got. Again, root systems are important. Jeff had a root system that was, hey, we're one. We're not letting anybody from the outside in.
It doesn't matter, because here's the problem of diversity. The CEO of the organization looks down at middle managers and says we need diversity down there. The white middle managers are probably competing with women and people of color. He's looking at them and the CEO is saying we need diversity down here. The white male says we don't need diversity down here, we need diversity up there. The CEO says no, we need diversity down there. That's the major issue we're dealing with. So, what are the root systems?
There are many types of root systems. One root system says we are family. We take care of each other. I'm married. I love my family. I take care of them and work hard to provide for them. That's a good part of being family. Blood is thicker than water. You've somewhere to lay your head. You've got somebody to tell and share your problems with. The other part of your family, the cookouts with Uncle Bob, and he doesn't bring anything now. The good part of family is that you will not kick Uncle Bob out. Everybody puts on a good face when Uncle Bob comes over.
Here's the problem. In organizations where you are family, that's a good deal. I love that. In organizations where there's a family and someone is unproductive and because blood is thicker than water, you keep them instead of dealing with them and that causes low morale. So, what kind of culture do you have? What about teams. I love teams. I've been on a few teams in my life. I love winning together, cheering together. I love all of that. That's the great thing about a team.
If you're on a team, everybody should get coaching. If you tell me your organization operates as a team, but why are folks being mentored and coached. Even Michael Jordan was coached by Phil Jackson. Here Michael, here's the ball. That was coaching.
If you say that your root system is a team, then you've got to insure that everybody on the team gets some coaching so they can maneuver and be ready for job opportunities or just be able to put something on the table.
I was at IBM a few years ago. They had a system that not a lot of others had. I would suggest you go back to your schools and see if you have it and use it. It was a set up where, around the conference table, they're 15 or 16 PCs. Every participant was sitting in front of a computer. You couldn't see everybody's screen. There was a facilitator up front with a big screen. They would put ideas on the table on how to address certain issues. They started with the U.S. Army. They had generals and captains there and couple of privates. Basically, they were trying to deal with issues and an idea came on the board. It was an incredible idea. The general broke rank because everybody in that room was supposed to be equal. He said that was a good thought and he appreciated seeing it. The captain said he didn't put that on there. He said to the lieutenant that was a good deal. The lieutenant said he didn't put it on there. He asked who put it on there. A man said he did. He was Private First Class Henderson. First of all, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to talk to a general in that way. They evaluated the idea on the merit of its worth. Now, you're in a situation where you are evaluating and prioritizing based on the idea and not based on where it came from. When you talk about root systems and diversity and titles, power comes into play. There are certain people on your staff that won't say anything as long as you're in the room. You get them in a setting like that and they may have something to offer.
I would suggest you go back to your campus, to the business schools and see if they have a set up something like that where you could all go in and work on issues and prioritize it. It doesn't matter where it came from. You're just looking for the best stuff. Most organizations I've been with, they shut down as soon as somebody opens their mouth.
Based on this system, it works. We developed something like this at the Center. Part of our diversity training is to give everybody a note card. Anonymously, they can submit to us what they believe we need to improve in our department or they need to improve in their department. We take those cards and prioritize them. At least four people have to say it's an issue. We then divide people into groups of four. They have an opportunity to work on each one of those issues. When you start talking about an action plan, we gather a lot from that. We've helped organizations to be light years ahead in terms of the dynamics in dealing with the issues that have come forth.
One particular organization said there was a lack of minorities in management positions. They began to put together an action plan on how to attack this thing. What it did was give managers a way to begin to look at issues and we got some ideas. Sometimes, these lists would get to 15 or 16 items in each category. You had great information and you don't know who it came from. Because they are working as a group, they are trying to deal with the issues at hand. As management, you have a chance to prioritize with these issues.
This is just one example. Usually there are about 12 or 13 issues that come forward. We are able to chart those. As you put together your action plan and as you go through these in terms of whose responsibility this is, what's your time line, support needed, etc. You're light years ahead because your groups have already given you some samplings on how to begin to work those issues out.
I already talked about this. This is called, "I treat every player the same." We have about 32 case studies we've taken from universities and organizations all around the country. We've changed the names of course. One is called Fiction Tech. The stories are real. Here's one case study. First, we make sure the facts are true and then we write it up. Usually, when we present it, almost all of the time, somebody will say that happened at my university.
I'm doing a workshop up north. An athletics director came up to me and told me he had a problem. One of his coaches is sleeping with one of his student-athletes and he didn't know what to do about it. I asked him what his school policy said and he said they didn't have one. In the Chronicle of Higher Education, the English professor said it was his duty to expose his students to that sexuality. I went to the university's attorney. He told me there were two things that come into play, one is nepotism and the other is sexual harassment. Nepotism? What if the student-athlete wants to get out of the relationship, but feels that playing time will be inhibited if they get out? What about the other student-athlete who thinks because you're not giving the coach any time or any play, they won't be played? That's nepotism and sexual harassment.
I went to the vice president of the organization and immediately they put together a plan to deal with this because it was slapping them in the face. On the onset of that, it sounds bad. But, what if it's a 22 year-old graduate student and a 21 year-old senior? What if it's a 55 year-old female and an 18 year-old student-athlete? Do the dynamics change? Should we handle those differently?
These are the dynamics that happen all of the time on campuses. These are diversity issues that come up all of the time and we don't address them all the time. I'm encouraging you to look at the culture of every student.
My name is Keith Tribble from the Federal Express Orange Bowl. I think this is excellent. I've been in athletics for a long period of time and as an African-American, I've fought some of the battles you're talking about. One of the things I want to state is that diversity is very key. From my viewpoint, diversity makes good business sense.
I'm at the Orange Bowl. The city of Miami is a very diverse city. One of the things I knew when I took the job there was that my staff had to be very diverse. From the mere fact that it was good business, but also because there are issues that come up as you talk about the Jewish athlete or the Muslim athlete, when you have a diverse administrative staff and you talk about issues, those issues come up and you become more sensitive to them. You're able to be proactive. If you tend to have those individuals around you who look like you and think like you and act like you, you're going to get the same thing. The good business sense will be lost when you have a diverse product mix, in this case, the student-athletes that you're trying to represent.
One of the things that has always puzzled me as I look at a lot of institutions, is that when you're talking about our traditional revenue sports, and you look at the make-up of those student-athletes, it really shocks me that they very seldom will say things unless it really gets to them. If you're trying to create that culture, if your organization does not represent something they can relate to, can hold on to, they might not tell you, but they feel it.
The good business sense is that if you have happy campers and you create the culture that makes them happy, like all of us, we will produce more and do more. We will go that extra miles. It always surprises me when we are not looking at the business sense of looking at what our clientele is, looking at what our product mix is and determining what we have to do to make that all fit.
I hope that as we have listened for the last several hours that those of us that are in the power and the position of creating that very diverse organization, we keep in mind that your student-athletes, whether they say it to you or not, whether they are African-Americans or female, Latinos, whatever, they have a sense of feeling of a culture if it's missing and if it's there. If they feel comfortable and they feel there is a commitment, they will feel good and it helps in the recruiting process. They'll tell other student-athletes in their areas that this is where you should go because they care about you.
Let me give you a couple of numbers. I know that the NCAA has a diversity program. You've heard Richard Lapchick and I've been with him for some time. Let me give you a phone number - 407/938-3567. Teamwork Leadership Institute deals strictly with athletics departments and professionals. We've been on some 45 campuses giving diversity programs. We're working with the NBA for over one year, including NBA Canada, NBA Latin America. We've done Major League Soccer and we've got some other things on the board coming up. The group is primarily composed of athletes who have been trained in diversity. Most of us have several years of experience in terms of facilitating and we try to pull it together.
I encourage you to take a look at this program. I believe that the Teamwork Leadership Institute was the first organization from the Center for the State of Sport to focus strictly on athletics.
Think a little bit about your culture when you go back. A kindergarten teacher told her students there were five birds in a tree. A hunter came by and shot one of the birds. How many birds are left? Little Sarah White said there were four birds left. The teacher said she was correct. Little John Black said no. She asked him if he understood what she said. He said, if there are five birds on a tree and a hunter comes by and shoots one, they'll be no birds left because the other birds will fly away. Both of them were right. When you talk about diversity, you have to look at more than one perspective.
Thank you very much.
Lin, thank you. I've had the pleasure of knowing Lin for some time. For those of you who don't know him as well, you can understand why he is so respected. We appreciate your participation with us today. Thank you Dana. I hope you enjoyed this session today.