Dr. Sara Murdock: Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging Expert – Ep. 65

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About Dr. Sara Murdock:

She’s made it her life’s mission to bring diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging to companies and organizations around the world.

She works with executives and organizations to either proactively create a better workplace or to bounce back from PR disasters and rebuild in more conscientious ways. In her career she’s worked with 10,000+ people over 20 years, doing consulting, seminars, training, and sessions for 200+ people at once.

Today we get philosophical about finding a greater purpose at work, especially in larger organizations. Also, I get schooled in a few things of note, so it’s a learning experience all around.

When I asked her what kind of clickbait-y title she’d give herself, she told me this:

“I’m a paradigm magician. I help organizations reframe their bullshit to create the impact they actually want.”

Well said.

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2:34 – “From time to time, I’ll like, stop and like, look down off the proverbial cliff and be like, Should I be afraid of this? I think I’m good. And just kind of keep going. And that seems to be working for me, at least, you know, in almost four decades of existing.”

6:29 – “I will say the one thing that’s nice about working with [C-Suite] folks… is that they do tend to be extremely driven, very focused people. So in the time that you have them… oftentimes those folks are very, very present, really want to get the most out of the time and that’s rewarding for me and for our team.”

8:30 – “For better and for worse, intentions are kind of meaningless, right? Like what actually what actually matters is the lived experience of the people who work for you, the lived experience of your consumers.”

13:36 – “…as somebody who identifies and presents as a white person. If I go out and find a woman of color to “lift”, that’s weird and tokenizing, you know what I mean? Like, I’m doing that work to make myself feel better, to be like, ‘Oh, I’m part of a anti-racism solution’ or something—that’s really about *me* at the end of the day. But if I can ask questions about ‘what is my program serving? Who is my program serving? What belief structures? … What narratives are we holding up or what narratives are we maybe questioning?”

17:42 – “In this day and age, everything’s transparent—more so than ever. You have to walk the walk. You can’t just talk the talk.”

23:43 – “I was teaching college and grad school for a number of years, which was not planned, if I’m completely honest. I kept being asked to teach classes because I enjoyed it and I was good at it… So during that period of time, I ended up on a project basis, just working with a number of leaders and executives and things like that because of needs they had, and I loved the work.”

27:09 – “I didn’t make this up: plenty of people way smarter than me have really documented the fact that most executives on some level are playing out their own… psycho/social drama in the work setting, right? So some of it is just like, does this person need a hug?”

37:07 – “I meditate a lot. I have to come back into myself. AI literally schedule that out. That’s not optional.”

44:23 – “…we’ve seen a bajillion case studies where some company makes a name for themselves and money, and this and that off of X/Y/Z product. And then they just ride that product till the end of time. And then twenty five years later, when they’re going out of business and and flailing around wildly… they’re confused about how they got there.”

47:09 – “There has to be a love again of innovation or people will get stuck… It’s not about being dissatisfied, but there [has to be] a real sense that things will… almost inevitably improve if we show up and we’re present.”

49:08 – “Embodiment as a huge part of cerebral work. I don’t care how somebody does that. I mentioned meditation for myself, but there has to be some sort of visceral integration. Or again, you get people who are totally bifurcated. There’s one thing happening here and another something happening here, and it doesn’t go well.”

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