by Paul Kwiecinski
A division of a major consulting organization decided to cross into the unknown, and take two days to explore how their unconscious
biases were impacting their business.
They brought in Face The Music to help them, knowing that our methods are creative, cutting edge, and facilitate a new discussion in
a way that keeps the focus while reframing the topics.
We opened the two-day forum with an allegorical gathering of the band. The drummer starts a groove, and one-by-one the FTM band
takes the stage and joining in until we're all grooving.
Then we break into a short set of three songs:
||Everything's OK (...and there's work to do).
||A rewrite of a song from our first CD known as Glass Ceiling Blues, rewritten for this event as the Succession/Progression Blues,
outlining the difficulties women are having getting promoted.
||We end with Culture Song about connecting with who you are as a company, and who you are striving to be:
"What are you known for?, what are you goin' for?"
One of the ideas with this opening was to show that this conference was going to be differentopening the morning
with an 8-piece band? Different!
The opening numbers were followed by the leadership team each speaking in this area of unconscious bias. As the CEO was
wrapping up, the bit was that I jumped in and interrupted him, "Not yet, Steve, this team has one more piece of work to present..."
The leadership team had written a song the night before that summed up what they wanted to happen at the conference, and
it was time to premier it.
By being willing to take a risk and do something way outside their comfort zone to open this forum, they set a tone and
sent a message that they were going to stick their necks out, do something different, and have a little fun with a subject that has
potential to get a bit heavy.
The next FTM appearance was a different mediumskits. They were different workplace scenes scripted to illustrate how unconscious bias
plays out in the workplace, and they were spiced up by musical accents from the rest of the band that wasn't acting at the time.
Later in the afternoon, we got into the FTM songwriting session. There was a great escalation of energy as the process unfolded.
The performances were after dinner that night12 groupswith an excellent collection of songs, styles,
choreography, and good lyrics about the topics at hand. The audience enthusiastically lauded, applauded, hooted, and hollered as the unique
and original set was presented.
There was much debriefing in the bar on performance highlights, memorable lyrics, and general war stories from the process.
When, in the bright light of the Miami dawn, debrief time came, it seemed cautious and polite compared to the
conversations the night before. But the sharing opened up gradually to a new, more open (and risky) level. I could feel a tension in the
room releasing by degrees.
For me it was affirming of the power of the FTM programs, and the potent learning and development tools available in the
process. I was also inspired by the courage and initiative of the leadership and the participants in taking this on and making the time to
have these discussions that are expanding their collective consciousness to new places.