Who are you inviting to join you on stage?
It’s alright—it’s large enough. Who are you calling up?
I recall a decade ago at the 2009 MTV VMAs, when Taylor Swift (big fan) was accepting the award for best female video and Kanye West (not a fan) commandeered the microphone from her to denounce her win and call out Beyoncé (big fan) instead.
I was incensed. For ten years.
I won’t rehash the scenario more than to state I’ve boycotted his music since. For years, however, I was disgusted with Kayne for showing such disrespect to Taylor, and to be fully transparent, I was irritated that Beyoncé didn’t denounce his actions in real-time. Perhaps she was also mortified. Or agreed with him, but chose to show some decorum. She seems like a class act, so I bet it was both.
To clarify, anything that both Taylor and Beyoncé have produced since then is blaring throughout our home, with our three young sons dancing their hearts out. I’m old school when it comes to manners. You have them or you don’t. I wish Kanye well—he seems to have other health issues that have since come to light.
Fast forward a decade and I better understand his frustration.
I can’t fully relate, of course; I’m a white man in his fifties with a list of professional successes many would covet. I would have chosen a different setting for his protest, but I appreciate his frustration, especially after the experience of this past summer with the social justice conversations becoming part of our daily dialog.
I listened a lot. I learned a lot. I didn’t and don’t agree with every point of view expressed (including many of the tactics that distracted from the main issue), but I’ve emerged much more aware.
Aware of how I can not only be part of the dialog but part of the solution.
How does a white man, in an executive role in a public company, ensure my (the) stage is full of diverse award winners?
When I have the microphone, how do I choose to use it? It’s really a metaphorical spotlight. I can choose to bask in it. Or I can move slightly to the left, or right, and let it shine on others. I can also order a bigger lens or a brighter bulb and let it flood the entire stage.
It’s how I see my role as the host of FranklinCovey’s On Leadership podcast. It’s a stage. Not my stage; I’m merely the host. But I ultimately curate the guest list. I ultimately decide who’s in and who’s not. I greatly influence what millions of viewers and listeners will see and hear from FranklinCovey in this particular forum.
I take this increasingly seriously. The balance of gender. Race. Age. Topics. Global versus United States–based guests. Points of view. It’s not a news program. It’s not journalism. It’s a weekly podcast related to topics that build our leadership capabilities. As formal leaders. Informal leaders. Colleagues. Entrepreneurs. Founders. Board members. Association members. Parents. Siblings. Friends. Humans.
I hope you’ll listen to our current interview with M.J. Fievre. It’s enlightening, to say the least.
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