Logos team blog posts

Logos Consulting Group’s mission is to build a better world by equipping people to become leaders who ignite and inspire change for the good. We do this in many ways, including in the work we do with clients.

Many of our clients are leaders in their industries – in banking, insurance, finance, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, healthcare, manufacturing, consumer products, hospitality, professional services, and the U.S. armed forces. And we’re very proud of the work we have done with them over the past two decades.

But when we were founded 20 years ago, we made a deliberate decision to commit meaningful time – sometimes as much as 30 percent of our time – to causes we care about without regard to compensation. Since then, we have maintained a robust pro bono publico practice. Some pro bono clients pay us nothing. Some pay a nominal fee, often a single-digit percentage of our usual rates. And for some, we make financial contributions in addition to the work we do with them.

Pro Bono Publico – Literally, For the Public Good

Our pro bono practice has included meaningful work in human rights; civil rights; arts and culture; education; religious and multi-religious organizations; and youth education, development, and sports; among many sectors.

And our philosophy of pro bono service is clear: pro bono clients get the same level of service, attention, and commitment as our commercial clients. If we have a scheduled commitment with a pro bono client and then a commercial client asks for the same time, we keep the original appointment and seek to find another time for the commercial client.

In this 20th Anniversary Reflection, I focus on just two of the areas of our pro bono practice: multi-religious advocacy and youth education, development, and sports.

Multi-Religious Advocacy

One of my personal pro bono priorities is helping to equip multi-religious organizations to be better able to fulfill their missions. Over the past 20 years I’ve advised, taught, or led more than a dozen multi-religious organizations, including serving on five of their boards and chairing two of them. Over the years, many Logos team members participated in our multi-religious advocacy work.

Religions for Peace

Logos’ second client, one month after our founding, was Religions for Peace, the largest multi-religious organization in the world. Religions for Peace helps leaders of religious communities around the world harness the moral authority of their faith traditions to prevent violence, transform conflict, protect the earth, and promote peaceful, just, and inclusive society. In my prior job, I had attempted to secure pro bono client status for Religions for Peace, but my employer was unwilling to invest in pro bono activities. So, all my work at the time was personal and off-the-clock. Upon founding Logos, Religions for Peace became an important client in the life of our young firm.

Both I and the Logos team have deployed around the world for Religions for Peace.

Twenty years ago, I and a Logos colleague deployed to Amman, Jordan just weeks after the U.S. declared Mission Accomplished in Iraq. We were advisors to our client as it negotiated with Iraqi religious leaders – Arab and Kurd, Sunni and Shia Muslim and Christian – to create the Iraq Inter-Religious Council for Peace. It was the first time that Iraqi Sunni and Shia leaders had been in the same room together since before Saddam Hussein’s reign, and it was the first time they had been in the same room with Christian leaders in their lifetimes. Also present were dozens of religious leaders of many faith traditions and civil society leaders from around the world. They were there as observers, to bear witness to the proceedings and to testify to the effectiveness of inter-religious cooperation.

We also arranged for the international press to cover the announcement of the creation of the Council.

L: The announcement of the creation of the Iraq Inter-Religious Council for Peace, Amman, Jordan, May 2003
R: Religious leaders celebrate the creation of the Middle East North Africa Inter-Religious Council for Peace, Marrakesh, Morocco, November 2011

In 2011, after the Arab Spring, I deployed to Marrakesh, Morocco to advise our client as it negotiated with religious leaders of all faiths from all nations in North Africa and the Middle East to create the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Inter-Religious Council for Peace.

World Assemblies of Religions for Peace

Every six or seven years, Religions for Peace convenes the World Assembly of Religions for Peace, bringing together thousands of leaders of the world’s faith traditions for work on conflict transformation, sustainable development, and protection of the earth.

At the eighth World Assembly in Kyoto, Japan in 2006, six Logos team members deployed to advise our client and manage communication. I served as spokesperson for the Assembly and moderated the press conferences with religious and civil society leaders.

At the ninth World Assembly of Religions for Peace in Vienna, Austria in 2013, five Logos team members deployed to advise our client, create our client’s first social media channels, and manage the newsroom and Assembly communications.

L: Moderating a press conference of Iraqi religious leaders at the VIII World Assembly of Religions for Peace, Kyoto, Japan, August 2006
R: The Logos team at the IX World Assembly of Religions for Peace, Vienna, Austria, November 2013.

In 2014, as a complement to the United Nations Summit on Climate Change, we deployed in our home city for the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change sponsored by Religions for Peace and the World Council of Churches. Logos advised our client and helped its staff manage communication on a multi-religious commitment to use the moral authority of faith traditions to call for action to protect the earth.

In 2019, I deployed to be the English-language spokesman for the tenth World Assembly of Religions for Peace in Lindau, Germany.

Board of International Trustees

From 2011 to 2020, I had the privilege of serving on Religions for Peace’s Board of International Trustees.

Meeting His Holiness, Pope Francis, the Vatican, November 2017

One highlight of that service was our 2017 Board meeting in the American Academy in Rome. The meeting began with a private Board audience at the Vatican with His Holiness, Pope Francis.

Pope Francis addressed the board, which includes one of his representatives, and noted:

“You provide a valuable service to both religion and peace, for the religions are bound by their very nature to promote peace through justice, fraternity, disarmament and care for creation. There is a need for a common and cooperative effort on the part of the religions in promoting an integral ecology. The Bible helps us in this regard by reminding us of the Creator, who “saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gen 1:31). The religions have the wherewithal to further a moral covenant that can promote respect for the dignity of the human person and care for creation.”

Although I have not been a Roman Catholic for 50 years, and have often been skeptical of prior Popes, I have always had a great appreciation for Pope Francis. I was honored that both I and my wife, Laurel Colvin, were able to meet His Holiness and spend precious moments in private conversation.

In 2020, I stepped down from the Religions for Peace board after 10 years. I remain an International Goodwill Ambassador.

Interfaith Alliance

In the United States, much of Logos’ pro bono multi-religious work has been with Interfaith Alliance, based in Washington DC. Interfaith Alliance protects and promotes America’s religious pluralism and helps to protect at-risk religious communities that are often targets of extremism. Logos has actively supported Interfaith Alliance for 20 years. From 2007 to 2020, I served as a member of the Board of Trustees, and as board chair from 2014 to 2017.

One of my favorite Interfaith Alliance initiatives is the Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award.

In addition to being a respected journalist and one of the most trusted men in America, Walter Cronkite served as the honorary chair of Interfaith Alliance from 1997 until his death in 2009. He joined the organization, he said, because “nothing less is at stake in the work of the Interfaith Alliance than the existence of democracy as we know it.”

The Walter Cronkite Faith & Freedom Award recognizes those whose courageous actions embody the values of civility, tolerance, and cooperation in the advancement of public dialogue and public policy on traditionally controversial issues.

L: With Walter Cronkite at an Interfaith Alliance Cronkite Award Gala, 2007
R: With Khizr Khan displaying my copy of the U.S. Constitution, 2017.

Cronkite Award recipients include George Clooney, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, CNN’s Larry King, PBS’s Jim Lehrer and Bill & Judith Moyers, and immigrant American and Gold Star Parent Khizr Khan.

Youth Education, Development, and Sports

Over the years many Logos teammates have done meaningful service with organizations that educate, inspire, and mentor youth. This includes leading youth groups in religious communities; helping prepare teenagers for the process of applying to college; and helping teens develop confidence, leadership ability, and the tools for success as they grow into adulthood.

The Dorill Initiative

One such organization is The Dorill Initiative, a nonprofit arts education organization based on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Dorill Initiative was founded in 2018 by Tareake Dorill to provide a platform for future generations in underserved, overlooked, and often forgotten communities to harness their expressive energies for social justice through the arts.

The Dorill Initiative’s founding principle is Love Through Art. The organization helps its students share their stories and transform communities through artistic and creative expression, academic enrichment, and civic and community engagement.

The organization strives to cultivate the whole citizen artist and help young people become DoERs – people who show up, put word to action, and work to create meaningful change in community. Dorill reinforces young citizen artists’ limitless potential and ensures their families and the larger community are part of their growth artistically, academically, and personally.

Logos Chief of Staff and Advisor Katie Garcia, who is an accomplished competitive dancer, joined the Dorill Initiative’s DoER Board in 2020. She has served as the organization’s Board Chair since 2021.

“As someone who has been profoundly transformed and healed by the arts, I am passionate about ensuring all young people have access to holistic and transformative arts education,” Katie explained. “What is special about Dorill is the way this program meets our young citizen artists where they are – seeing our youth as whole people and equipping them to share their authentic truth in a safe, supportive, and loving way. Every child deserves that kind of transformative arts education.”

“Three years after joining the Dorill board, I continue to be inspired every time I have an opportunity to watch our young citizen artists perform, speak with a DoER parent, and engage with members of our DoER community,” Katie reflects. “I am excited to see Dorill’s programs grow in the coming years – engaging more communities and transforming more young people – and am immensely proud to be a small part of that work.”

Youth Volleyball to Build Confidence, Teamwork, and Leadership

Logos’ commitment to developing youth is also manifest in work Logos teammate Maida Kalic Zheng did with young people in Virginia in Alexandria, Virginia.

Maida joined Logos in 2019 after 7 years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. She is an Advisor at Logos.

Maida played Division 1 Volleyball at the U.S. Naval Academy as a middle blocker.

“I was not a good volleyball player before making the team at the Naval Academy,” jokes Maida. “But the head coach believed I was coachable and explained to me that he wanted to give me a shot. Him taking a chance on me and giving me an opportunity had an incredible impact on me.”

Maida came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1999 following the Bosnian War. She spent years moving from country to country before settling down in Utica, New York.

“I didn’t really speak English when we moved to the U.S., so school was hard. Sports became my passion, my outlet when life was hard,” said Maida. “I delighted in the idea that I was able to work with a team that did amazing work but also gave back. So, when the opportunity for me to coach and make an impact in my local community arose, it was a no-brainer.”

Maida coached volleyball in Alexandria, Virginia for Monument Volleyball Club where she implemented a leadership and resiliency program.

Logos’ Ongoing Commitment

Whether at the global level, the national level, or the community level, Logos will continue to work to build a better world by equipping people to be leaders who inspire and ignite change for the good. Literally, pro bono publico, for the public good.

 

This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

This week marks the two-year anniversary of the launch of my book, “The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust.

The journey to create “The Power of Genuine Leadership” began long ago. The inspiration for this book first came at an early age when hearing the descriptive phrase of ‘being comfortable in one’s own skin.’  What did ‘being comfortable in one’s own skin’ mean? It was not until I became familiar with the connected concepts of ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ through my doctoral studies that I was able to truly begin to unpack this seemingly simple phrase to describe a powerful trait for leaders. And thus, the journey to create this book officially began.

The words ‘trust’ and ‘authenticity’ have become extremely popular, particularly over the last few years. But what do these words really mean? How are they connected? More importantly, how can leaders navigate the connection and dependencies of these two concepts? These questions were central to my doctoral research and thereby to “The Power of Genuine Leadership.”

The Power of Genuine Leadership” illustrates through story essential elements to become an authentic, trustworthy leader. There are several important insights contained within the book, derived from my doctoral research, real-life stories, and experiences from helping to develop leaders at every level for two Fortune 150 global corporations. Some of these insights include:

  • Authenticity without guidelines is irresponsible;
  • Authenticity without empathy is careless; and
  • Humility is much more than a willingness to be vulnerable.

However, perhaps the most significant insight within ‘The Power of Genuine Leadership’ is the power of behavioral consistency to create more effective leaders, and how empathy and respect are essential yet historically under-appreciated drivers of trust. This is a new contribution and emphasis to our understanding of leadership.

As I wrote “The Power of Genuine Leadership,” I wanted the book to be full of easily digestible, valuable insights with practical application for readers. Within the book, I detail my Authenticity Trust Model (ATM), which explores three critical components of becoming an authentic trusted leader: communication, coaching, and respect. Each of these critical components have enablers that – through real life scenarios and stories – come to life and encourage leaders to examine the consistency of their approach. Moreover, readers are also able to assess their own leadership strengths and development areas using the Authenticity Trust Assessment (ATA) included in the book. By reading and thinking through the core ideas within this book, leaders tend to reflect on their leadership style and apply action immediately within their leadership journeys.

Leadership is a discipline that can carry meaningful, life-changing experiences for both leaders and followers. My hope when writing this book – and now – is that the practical insights within “The Power of Genuine Leadership” can reframe what to prioritize as a leader and minimize distractions to focus on the critical few.

With that in mind, as I reflect on this two-year anniversary of the launch of “The Power of Genuine Leadership,” three thoughts come to mind: gratefulness, appreciation, and concern.

First, I am grateful for the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership for their support, encouragement, and friendship through the process of creating this book. I could not have asked for a better partner, editor, and publisher. And I want to congratulate Logos on their 20th anniversary. I am equally grateful for the book endorsement and acknowledgment from several of my well-respected colleagues, especially Dr. Ken Blanchard, who continues to be a valued mentor.

Second, I am appreciative and struck by a steady stream of reinforcing comments from readers of the book. Descriptive words like “practical,” “digestible,” “thoughtful,” and “insightful,” continue to appear in reviews and conversations regarding the book. These comments reinforce my initial purpose, which was to provide a simple and focused framework for leaders to reference in their quest to build strong, trusting relationships and to be the kind of leader others want to follow. We must first be curious learners to become better leaders. It is a continuous journey to improvement.

Third, my concern is that we, as leadership development professionals, do not over complicate leadership and coaching tools. Albert Einstein was once said, “If you can’t explain it simply…. you don’t understand it well enough.” Einstein’s words provide important guidance for all of us. Moreover, there is no lack of advice, models, and self-proclaimed experts saturating social media with seemingly obvious guidance. This constant influx of information can be overwhelming. In contrast, I suggest that leadership development professionals lead with questions that encourage deep reflection and thought for leaders to ponder. This will encourage leaders to consider a simple framework that is easy to reference and that encompasses their most important leadership values; maintain consistency in their approach; and strive to stay curious and improve their personal journey every day.

Stay authentic and curious.

Patrick Donahue

 

“The Power of Genuine Leadership: How Authentic Leaders Earn Trust” by Patrick Donahue PhD is the third title in the Logos Institute Best Practices Series published by the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership Press. Learn more about “The Power of Genuine Leadership” and get your copy here.

This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

On Friday, November 4, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia spoke on a panel about incendiary language during a two-day conference, titled Extremism: Confronting Hate Without Fear. The conference brought together some of the country’s leading experts on extremism to examine the growing threat of radicalization in America and around the world. The event, hosted at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY, included a selection of award-winning films, with their filmmakers, along with authors, journalists, experts, and academics on dimensions of the topic of extremism.

Garcia spoke on a panel titled “Next Generation Now: Growing Influencers in the Alt Right and the Language They Use.” The panel followed a screening of the documentary film, “White Noise,” which tracks the rise of far-right nationalism. The film, directed by Daniel Lombroso, captures the inside story of the alt right movement and serves as a warning about the power of extremism. The panel discussion that followed also featured Lombroso and was moderated by New York University faculty member Jacqueline Strayer.

During the panel discussion, Garcia spoke about the pattern of incendiary language provoking violence, which he documents in his most recent book, Words on Fire: Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. He described some of the core insights from Words on Fire, shared how civic leaders and engaged citizens can hold leaders who use incendiary language accountable, and answered audience questions.

Watch an amalgamation of clips from that panel discussion here:

Trendspotting

One of the ways Logos Consulting Group serves our clients and our network is to identify troubling social trends and to raise the alarm when we believe those trends are likely to affect clients.

And in early 2009 we noticed a troubling pattern: A surge of incivility by prominent people and in unexpected places. We began advising clients of the risk of such incivility becoming normalized in the workplace and in the public square. And we worried that the trend would escalate.

Over the span of more than a decade we have further raised the alarm as incivility escalated into hate crimes, then terrorism, and then insurrection. All the while American civic life became fractured. And even as a pandemic has taken more than one million American lives, the polarization and turmoil continue.

And through it all we advised clients on how to protect themselves and their people, and to live their values, especially when their people were at risk.

Disruption

Incivility took tangible form in early August 2009, soon after President Obama proposed what later became the Affordable Care Act. As members of Congress, home for the August recess, held informational town hall meetings, so-called Tea Party activists loudly disrupted those meetings. While originally described as spontaneous uprisings of citizens, the media soon recognized that the disruptions were organized by well-funded Obama opponents and followed a playbook that included these instructions:

  • “Be Disruptive Early And Often: You need to rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation, Watch for an opportunity to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”
  • “Try To Rattle Him, Not Have An Intelligent Debate: The goal is to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda. If he says something outrageous, stand up and shout out and sit right back down. Look for these opportunities before he even takes questions.”

A month later, as President Obama tried to regain control of the healthcare narrative, there was another unprecedented disruption. Obama addressed a joint session of Congress and outlined many of the misperceptions the Tea Party had spread about his healthcare initiative. At one point, South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson interrupted the President with a shout of “You lie!” Wilson was later censured by the House, but raised millions of dollars in the weeks that followed.

The incivility moved from politics to celebrity with another unprecedented and highly visible disruption during the Video Music Awards. Breakout artist Taylor Swift won Best Video by a Female Artist. As the young musician took the stage to give her acceptance speech, she was startled as rapper Kanye West stormed onstage, took Swift’s microphone out of her hand, and declared that the rightful winner should have been Beyoncé.

And we saw clients experience similar acts of incivility in the workplace and in customer interactions.

Incivility Turns to Violence

In 2011, during a Manhattan march by Occupy Wall Street activists, a New York City senior police officer pepper-sprayed the faces of peaceful protesters who were being detained behind orange netting. Police guidelines make clear that pepper spray may not be used in situations that do not require the use of physical force. Two months later, police at the University of California Davis were trying to remove several peaceful seated Occupy Wall Street protesters who were blocking a paved path on campus. A police officer systematically pepper-sprayed each of the protesters. Videos of both the New York and Davis incidents went viral on social and mainstream media. Eventually both the New York City police and the University of California Davis reached settlements with those who were sprayed.

The aberrant became normative in the following months as individuals began to use pepper spray against others. During a Black Friday sale at a southern California Walmart, a woman pepper-sprayed fellow shoppers who were trying to grab a video game in short supply. In New York City, a 14-year-old high school student used pepper spray against her classmates, sending nine to the hospital.

We advised clients to make clear that violence, including but not limited to pepper spray, was unacceptable in the workplace and that offenders would face significant consequence.

Black Lives Matter

In early 2012 Trayvon Martin, an African American teen, was killed in Sandford, Florida by a vigilante who told police the young man looked, “like he is up to no good or on drugs or something.” Although police advised George Zimmerman to not pursue the young man, Zimmerman did, eventually shooting Martin in a struggle. The police originally released Zimmerman, but after significant public outcry they brought charges. He was acquitted after claiming self-defense under Florida’s Stand-Your-Ground law.

Eighteen months later, Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teen in Ferguson, Missouri was shot multiple times by a Ferguson police officer. The police mishandled both the immediate investigation and the massive protests that followed.

These two shootings led to heightened visibility of police violence against unarmed African Americans. The Black Lives Matter movement emerged after Trayvon Martin’s murder and grew to national prominence following Michael Brown’s murder. In the years that followed, the movement grew further. In the summer of 2020, after the videotaped killing by four police officers of George Floyd, more than 25 million Americans took to the streets in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, the largest public protest in American history.

We advised clients in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and we were also retained by new clients who had responded ineffectively to changing stakeholder expectations to take Black Lives Matter seriously.

From Hate Crimes to Acts of Terror

In 2015 Donald Trump began his presidential campaign by demonizing immigrants and people seeking asylum in the U.S. Hate crimes against people perceived to be Latino surged. When candidate Trump called for “total and complete ban” of Muslims entering the U.S., hate crimes against people perceived to be Muslim surged.

Throughout his presidency Trump dehumanized groups and demonized groups, rivals, and critics. Acts of violence surged against those Trump targeted. In my book Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It, I describe the Playbook Trump used: twelve forms of communication that create the social conditions that lead some people to accept, condone, and commit acts of violence against those Trump targets.

In the run-up to the 2018 midterm election, Trump intensified his dehumanization and demonization of Latin Americans seeking legal asylum. Trump characterized these asylum seekers using some form of the words ‘invader,’ ‘invasion,’ ‘criminal,’ ‘animal,’ or ‘killer’ with increasing frequency. Trump said one or more of these words between eight and ten times per rally in early October. In the three days before the mid-term election, Trump said one or more of these more than thirty times per rally. His rally speeches were further amplified by his social media posts. He and his allies also asserted that the purported invasion was financed by George Soros and Jewish institutions.

Incivility morphed into acts of terror. Less than two weeks before election day, a white supremacist who embraced Trump’s language committed a terror attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue, killing 11 people and wounding two others. That same week, a Trump supporter sent 16 mail bombs to more than a dozen Trump critics whom Trump had demonized on social media. In August 2019, a Trump supporter killed 32 people he perceived to be Mexican in an El Paso Walmart. He said he was protecting Texas from a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

And during COVID-19, Trump continued to refer to the Coronavirus as the China Virus, or Chinese Virus, or even Kung Flu. This led to a surge of hate crimes against people perceived to be Asian.

Throughout, we advised clients on ways to help members of at-risk groups both be safe and feel safe.

Stand Back and Stand By

President Trump began laying the groundwork to claim that the 2020 presidential election was illegitimate as early as the Spring of 2020, discrediting the legitimacy of mail-in ballots. By election day he was actively claiming that the election was rigged and refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he lost.

In the first presidential debate in late September 2020, Trump was asked to denounce white nationalist groups, specifically the Proud Boys. Instead, he called on the group to “stand back and stand by.” The group’s leader replied on social media that they were standing by, and the Proud Boys immediately added the phrase “stand back and stand by” to their line of merchandise.

Following the election that Trump claims he won and months of misinformation, Trump called for his followers to come to Washington. Trump posted on Twitter on December 19, 2020, “Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” January 6 was when the electoral college votes were to be certified by Congress.

As a result, what had been individualized self-directed acts of violence and terror became a coordinated event, with multiple players all participating in what became an insurrection.

Among those who responded to the call were the Proud Boys, which formed a new chapter for those coming to DC called the ‘Ministry of Self-Defense.’ On the day Trump called for people to come to DC, the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, spoke with Kelly Meggs, the Florida head of the militia group The Oath Keepers, which also had a meaningful presence at the January 6 insurrection. Meggs sent a message to his followers:  “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your shit!!”

On January 6, as the Congress was considering the electoral count in the 2020 election, Trump addressed a crowd of thousands gathered at the Ellipse near the White House. He rallied the crowd to march to the Capitol to disrupt the proceedings. He called on Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election. Among his remarks:

  • “And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”
  • “All of us here today do not want to see our election victory stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats, which is what they’re doing … We will never give up, we will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved.”
  • “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about … We will stop the steal.”
  • “Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.”

The Proud Boys were among the first to penetrate the perimeter of the Capitol. Thousands of rally-goers eventually arrived, and more than 2,000 entered the building. Some called for the assassination of Vice President Pence, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other members of Congress. One Trump supporter was killed by Capitol police as she tried to penetrate the window on a set of doors leading to the House chamber.

Five police officers who were present during the insurrection died, as did four of the insurrectionists. More than 130 police officers were injured. Of those, 15 were hospitalized, some with severe injuries.

We advised clients on ways to deal both with political polarization and the possibility that some of their employees may have been part of the Capitol attack.

And the incivility, polarization, and violence continue.

Where are We Now?

As 2022 comes to a close, the nation has experienced more than 600 mass shootings, defined as shootings with four or more fatalities, not including the gunman. This puts 2022 on track to meet or exceed last year’s record of 690 mass shootings.

Twitter’s new owner has eliminated many of the standards that previously restrained much violence-provoking rhetoric. As a result, as just one example, use of the N-word on Twitter has increased five times in the month of Elon Musk’s leadership of the social media platform.

And heightened political polarization in the new Congress is likely to spill out into the public square.

What’s Next?

What are we advising our clients? That it’s likely to get worse before it gets better; that it will likely take an inflection point of unprecedented proportion before the pendulum begins to move back toward civility.

As Trump faces a range of federal, state, and local criminal investigations, it’s just a matter of time before he is indicted. We need to take very seriously Senator Lindsey Graham’s prediction that there will be “riots in the streets” if Trump should be prosecuted.

So, what can leaders do to prepare?

  • First, note the pattern of the escalation of incivility… to dehumanization… to acts of individual violence… to acts of collective violence.
  • Second, call out the pattern and declare that you will hold people in your organization accountable for provoking or committing violence.
  • Third, equip yourself to be an accelerator of a return to civility. One good place to start is to read a book by my dear friend and mentor, Jim Lukaszewski and Steve Harrison, The Decency Code: The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust.

In the meantime, Logos Consulting Group will continue our trendspotting and share our concerns and insights with our clients and our network.

 

This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Logos Consulting Group. Last month, Logos’ founder Helio Fred Garcia reflected on leading through the turmoil we have seen in the world over the past 20 years, and how we have helped our clients do the same. Among the turmoil that has racked the world is how to reckon with historic and ongoing injustice and inequity.

Although most visible in the past two years, we have seen a drastic evolution in the field of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) over the past two decades. This evolution was driven by a shift in societal expectations, which has now led to an urgent demand for organizations and society to do DE&I work better and faster.

How can we understand this evolution in DE&I? And what does it mean for organizations grappling with DE&I work today?

A Focus on Compliance: The Beginnings of DE&I

Modern Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) in the United States arose out of the civil rights movements in the 1960s. These civil rights movements, as well as societal expectations around DE&I, largely focused on legal rights, specifically securing legislation that would interrupt various forms segregation and discrimination and grant historically marginalized groups greater rights, protection, and access to opportunities. Those civil rights movements resulted in the passage of series of laws in the 1960s and 1970s that outlawed discrimination based on color, race, sex, religion, national origin, and age. Discrimination based on disability was also made illegal in 1990, while work on establishing legal rights and protection for LGBTQIA+ people was just beginning to build a new momentum and focus.

The establishment of legal protection for various marginalized groups at the federal, state, and local level in the last decades of the 20th century set the tone for DE&I work at the beginning of the 21st century.

In the early 2000s, the creation of organizational DE&I work was primarily focused on ensuring compliance with these various laws and regulations, as well as to reduce discrimination lawsuits. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a few high-profile lawsuits shook the finance industry. Specifically, three major Wall Street firms paid between $50 million to $100 million each to settle sex discrimination lawsuits. Another major bank spent nearly half a billion dollars to settle multiple race discrimination lawsuits over a 15-year period.

Organizations began to invest in diversity training as a way to minimize the increasing threat of discrimination lawsuits. However, studies quickly showed that diversity trainings rarely created a more inclusive or diverse workplace. In some cases, diversity trainings made matters worse.

Why? Because trainings focused preventing lawsuits – rather than promoting true diversity and inclusion – can unintentionally otherize marginalized groups, play into existing biases, and solidify prejudice. In some ways, the failure of diversity trainings reflects the shortfalls of the legislative victories in the 20th century – while new laws were enacted to protect marginalized groups from segregation and discrimination, the underlying oppressions and prejudices that necessitated those laws being enacted were never fully addressed. As a result, while most marginalized groups have some form of legal protection against discrimination, many people from those groups experience ongoing oppression, aggression, and inequity in their daily lives, including at work.

Despite the evidence that diversity trainings often failed to promote diversity or inclusion, companies double-downed on the same compliance-based, diversity-focused approach as the world headed into the 2010s.

But that would soon change. Over the course of the 2010s, several social justice movements began to build new momentum, evolving and expanding in their reach. As Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and other social justice movements were created, and societal expectations began to shift. For example, after the #MeToo movement gained traction, organizations were now expected to take seriously and actively address allegations of workplace sexual harassment or abuse.

As societal expectations around DE&I began to shift, workplaces began to recognize the need to change with times. A passive, compliance-focused approach to DE&I did not seem to be enough to meet these new expectations. DE&I practitioners shifted their focus from achieving diversity to creating truly inclusive workplaces.

And then 2020 happened.

2020: An Inflection Point in DE&I

It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year like no other. Amid devastation and dismay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 fundamentally changed the landscape of DE&I in the United States.

A series of brutal events against black and brown Americans, in particular the murder of George Floyd, put the Black Lives Matter movement front and center of the national conversation. Ten of thousands of people protested in cities across the country, calling for the government to take seriously the police brutality faced by African Americans. 2020 also saw a sharp rise in anti-Asian hate crimes across the country due to rhetoric around the pandemic. As the violence against Asians and Asian Americans escalated over the next year, particularly after the horrific shooting spree in Atlanta targeting Asian women, the #StopAsianHate movement was created. Moreover, the pandemic itself highlighted the disparities that exist in our society, as people of color, women, and people with disabilities were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The events of 2020 put a blinding spotlight on historic and ongoing injustice and inequity. As a result, a new, urgent expectation formed. There was now an expectation that governments and institutions needed to correct the wrongs too long faced by marginalized groups. And those wrongs needed to be corrected now.

Moreover, organizations also had a role to play. People expected organizations to commit to advancing DE&I in society at large and to fully living that commitment within their organization. This included directly addressing any practices or dynamics that enabled bias, exclusion, or inequity internally.

Organizations very quickly felt the effects of these shifted expectations. Many organizations saw their stakeholders directly asking what those organizations were doing to eliminate systemic barriers for marginalized groups and to promote social justice at large. Organizations slow to respond to these shifting expectations saw their reputation put at risk, trust fall, and some stakeholders decide to disassociate from that organization altogether. For example, according to a 2021 study, 70% Americans are ready to cancel a brand if it does anything offensive related to racial justice issues.

Leaders of organizations were also examined even more critically than before. If those leaders were found to be discriminatory or biased in any way, now or historically, those leaders were called out – sometimes very publicly. And people expected those leaders to be held accountable for problematic that behavior.

2020 solidified shifts in societal expectations that had begun to form a decade before. Now, organizations across industries were expected to foster safe, inclusive work environments. Existing DE&I efforts were scrutinized with amplified impatience, and any perception of performative allyship – grand statements of support followed by either inaction or surface-level action – was no longer tolerated. Long-standing behaviors or dynamics once considered ‘perfectly fine’ were now regularly called out, with a clear call for change.

As a result, organizations recognized the need to commit to advancing DE&I, both within their organizations and beyond. Organizational DE&I trainings quickly went into high demand. However, successfully calibrating DE&I efforts to create a truly inclusive work environment continues to be a struggle for many organizations.

What’s Next: The Future of DE&I

Since Logos was founded 20 years ago, societal expectations of DE&I have moved away from simply ensuring for “equal access” to opportunities to ensuring that all people “thrive and belong” once they have access to those opportunities. That is why the terminology shifted away from a sole focus on ‘Diversity’ to ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.’

Today, the bar is much higher for organizations than it was 20 years ago when it comes to expectations around DE&I. Multiple studies have found that Generation Z, the future of our workforce and consumer base, are much more value- and identity-driven when deciding which brand to buy from and which company to work for. Specifically, Gen Z cares more deeply about organizational ethics, diversity and inclusion practices, and social impact than previous generations. Gen Z is more likely to expect a brand to “take a stand” on justice issues. And they are also quick to gather information and call out any seeming contradiction or inconsistency in an organization’s DE&I practice.

Creating an inclusive work culture – where everyone feels valued, respected, and like they belong – is key for successful DE&I work based on current societal expectations. Many organizations are still trying to figure out how to clear this higher bar.

And yet the world we live in is constantly evolving. That bar may shift again, especially given the changing demographics within the United States. The 2020 Census indicates that the U.S. population is the most racially and ethnically diverse in history. Nearly half of Generation Z are minorities in terms of race or ethnicity. Moreover, the United States Census Bureau predicted that the U.S population will continue to become more racially and ethnically pluralistic. As demographics shift, so too may the focus of DE&I shift as well. Therefore, leaders need to regularly inspect their organization’s DE&I initiatives through the lens of current societal expectations and adapt based on those expectations.

As we look to the future, the question for leaders to ask when it comes to DE&I is: “Is my organization’s DE&I work ready to meet the expectations of today and tomorrow?”

 

This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

Friends,

I founded Logos Consulting Group twenty years ago – in September 2002. I was 45 years old. My kids were 11 and 7.

Looking back, the Fall of 2002 was quite a time to take such a leap. It was a time of turmoil. In New York City. In the nation. In the world.

2002 Turmoil

The 9/11 attacks, just one year earlier, had shattered the nation’s sense of security. The United States military had gone into Afghanistan soon after the attack, where it would remain for 20 years. Excavation of the World Trade Center site was completed in May, but the smell of death and a sense of sadness continued to linger in the city.

By September 2002, President George W. Bush and his senior advisors were banging the drum about the need to invade Iraq. They lied to the American people. They conflated the 9/11 attacks by Al Qaeda and its leader, Osama bin Laden, with Iraq and its leader, Saddam Hussein. They warned that the next smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud, claiming falsely that Iraq had a nuclear capability and the desire to use it against the U.S.

Massive protests against invading Iraq began in September and continued for months. On one day alone, February 15, 2003, fully half a million people marched in protest in New York City; 15 million people protested that day in 800 cities around the world. At the United Nations some of our closest allies argued strenuously that it would be a mistake to invade Iraq. When the French foreign minister suggested at the United Nations that the U.S. was behaving impulsively, and the Security Council declined to pass an authorization to go to war, the Administration attacked France. President Bush said that our purported allies were either “for us or against us.” It turned petty: the U.S. House of Representatives cafeteria stopped calling its fried potatoes “French fries” and instead referred to them as “Freedom fries.” And the United States – with allies whom it called “the coalition of the willing” – invaded Iraq in March 2003.

The nation was also still in the midst of a severe recession triggered by the 2000 collapse of the dot-com bubble. Irrational exuberance had pumped up the stock of new tech companies that had yet to make a profit. Then a crash lost nearly 50 percent of the stock market’s value.

A series of corporate scandals had also shaken Americans’ confidence in corporate leadership. Enron, Arthur Andersen, Adelphia, WorldCom, and many others were caught committing massive fraud and dishonesty. Arthur Anderson was prosecuted and went out of business. Executives of other companies went to prison. Congress passed the Corporate Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, commonly known as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Logos 

It was into this environment that I founded Logos: with no clients, no employees, and estranged from my employer of 12 years and mentor of 17 years. But with a sense of purpose. With a mission to help people become leaders who can ignite and inspire change in the world for the better.

Within four days we got our first client: A major commodities exchange whose CEO needed coaching. Then an UN-affiliated peacebuilding organization. Then a data services company being investigated by the SEC – our first crisis client, and for the first year our largest one. Then a prominent life sciences company. Then a large insurance company. Then a giant investment bank. By January 2003, we were a real firm. Before we moved into our first office space in 2007, we joked that my kitchen table was Logos Consulting Group’s World Headquarters. Two gifted colleagues joined the firm and helped to establish Logos as a credible advisor to senior leaders when the stakes are high.

In the 20 years since, we’ve benefitted from the gifts of many other people who came to and through Logos. We’ve worked for more than 300 clients – including some of the biggest and best-known companies and organizations in the world. Some have remained our clients for all this time. And we’ve been on the ground in dozens of countries.

Two years after we were founded, we created the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, our think tank, executive education, and publishing arm. We’ve written books that have been published in three languages. After 15 years, we established the Logos Institute Press to publish other authors’ leadership books. We’ve taught at prominent universities and professional schools on three continents. And in 2021 we launched the Logos Learning Center to provide online training to individuals looking to bolster their leadership skills.

Continued Turmoil

About ten years ago we noticed a troubling trend and warned clients about it: an outbreak of incivility in society at large that we worried would spill into our clients’ workplaces and interfere with their business operations.

We saw that trend get worse in 2015 as political leaders dehumanized and demonized groups and rivals with deadly consequence. The FBI warned of a surge of opportunistic violence and hate crimes against targeted groups. The violence then metastasized into organized acts of terrorism. In June 2020, I published a book warning about this trend and its likely escalation.

Six months later, we saw a violent attack on the Capitol in an attempt to overturn a free and fair election.

Also in mid-2020, as the world grappled with an emerging pandemic, the United States government violated its own public health guidelines and politicized the pandemic response. A combination of incompetence, dishonesty, and neglect led to the worst pandemic response in the industrialized world, and to the preventable deaths of more than three quarters of a million Americans. And to death threats and acts of violence against public health experts and political leaders who counseled good public health practices. My next book is about this massive failure of leadership, which I call the single worst-handled crisis in American history.

2022 Turmoil

Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called misinformation the nation’s leading cause of death. It noted that the surge of misinformation about the pandemic, masks, and vaccines led to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths, especially among the unvaccinated or under-vaccinated.

And the world was thrown into turmoil earlier this year when Vladimir Putin’s Russia invaded Ukraine, and the world responded with the strictest economic sanctions against Russia. This led to a spike in oil prices and food shortages in much of the world. And now Russia itself is in turmoil as citizens resist the draft requiring them to fight in what Russia still refuses to call a war.

We see turmoil also in Iran, as citizens, especially women, take to the streets to protest the killing in police custody of a female Iranian citizen arrested for improperly wearing a hijab.

And in the United States the political divide has intensified further. The divide has been fueled by the Big Lie about the 2020 election, the embrace of conspiracy theories, and calls for violence if the former president – now facing an array of legal troubles – should be indicted.

Onward

And so, Logos begins our twenty-first year as we did our first, navigating through the turmoil. And helping our clients do the same. We are gratified that when the stakes are high clients turn to us.

Now more than ever society needs leaders equipped to inspire, to ignite people to overcome the turmoil, to push back against misinformation, and to build stronger organizations.

Now more than ever leaders know the consequences of poorly handled crises, and that there is a rigor to responding effectively and quickly in a crisis.

Now more than ever there is need to exercise leadership well. The stakes are that high.

Thank you for your confidence in Logos Consulting Group through the last 20 years. And thank you for your continued encouragement and support.

 

This reflective piece is part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Throughout this anniversary year, we will be sharing a series of reflections on the shifts and trends we have been following in business and in the world over the past twenty years, as well as advice to leaders and organizations navigating through the challenges we see today.

Logos Consulting Group is pleased to announce that Logos President Helio Fred Garcia, a member of the Columbia University Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences faculty, has been promoted from Adjunct Associate Professor to Adjunct (full) Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research.

Garcia is in his sixth year teaching in the school’s Professional Development and Leadership program. He teaches the required course on Ethics and Integrity for Engineers to all incoming M.S. and PhD students. He also participates in the required first-year undergraduate Art of Engineering course to  provide an introduction to ethical decision-making for undergraduate engineering students.

In the M.S. and PhD programs, Garcia teaches a number of electives, including Crisis Management for Engineers, Crisis Prevention for Engineers, Advanced Ethical Decision-Making, and Advanced Leadership Communication for Engineers. He also teaches once-per-semester workshops on Lessons for Leaders from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Garcia also mentors PhD students.

Additionally, Garcia partners with his fellow Adjunct Professor (and brother) Chuck Garcia to team-teach an online course on Leadership, Followership, and Teamwork. The two brothers also co-lead the school’s PDL Fellows program, where a select number of M.S. students participate in a multi-dimensional enhanced leadership opportunity.

Columbia Engineering’s Professional Development and Leadership (PDL) program was launched in the school’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and has since expanded school-wide for all degree programs. The program’s goal is to enhance the Columbia Engineering education by providing enrichment and development opportunities. The program assists students with in a number of ways, including:

  1. Obtaining skills to find and keep a role
  2. Learning how to grow and cultivate a career
  3. Recognizing effective leadership
  4. Learning to become an effective team player and follower
  5. Cultivating ethical behavior and values

… and striving to have fun while doing these things!

Garcia did his graduate studies at Columbia University in the late 1970s and early 1980s, where he studied ancient Greek philosophy, ethics, and political philosophy. His studies included advanced ethics.

In addition to his faculty position at Columbia University, Garcia has been on the New York University faculty since 1988, where, among other things, he has designed and taught courses on business and communication ethics. He is the author of five books on leadership, trust, and related topics.

On Friday, June 10, 2022, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia delivered a Columbia Engineering Alumni Day lecture on the US response to COVID-19 at the first in-person reunion of graduates of Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Garcia is an adjunct associate professor of professional development and leadership in the Professional Development and Leadership program at Columbia Engineering. He delivered one of three lectures in the school’s alumni association REUNION 22 LECTURES on-campus event.

In his lecture, Garcia focused on the intersection of crisis response and ethics, and demonstrated how COVID-19 – as a crisis that simultaneously affected every institution and every individual on the planet – provides a useful case study to see the patterns of effective and ineffective crisis response and ethical decision-making. Garcia quoted the Greek philosopher Plato, who noted: “To understand something difficult, study the biggest instance of it that we can. That’s because the patterns are easier to see. And the pattern is then laid up on heaven for anyone who wishes to contemplate it.”

Garcia began his lecture by laying out the foundational principles of effective crisis response:

  1. Show you care.
  2. Take risks seriously.
  3. Work to mitigate those risks early.

He then contrasted the U.S. response to COVID-19, the worst in the industrialized world, and the Republic of Korea response, among the best. Both nations had their first confirmed case of COVID-19 on the same day, January 20, 2020. South Korea followed the principles of effective response and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines; the United States did not. After one year, the South Korean death rate was 1 fatality for every 39,000 South Koreans; the U.S. death rate was 1 fatality for every 809, or a fatality rate 49 times Korea’s.

Garcia also highlighted the ways that misinformation and the modeling of unsafe practices led to hundreds of thousands of preventable COVID deaths. He quoted the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, who in May 2022 called misinformation the leading cause of death in the U.S.

You can watch the full lecture here:

At Columbia Engineering, Garcia teaches ethics and integrity for engineers for all incoming undergraduate, MS, and PhD students. He also teaches graduate electives in advanced ethical decision-making, crisis prevention, crisis response, and leadership communication. Garcia is the author of five books, most recently Words on Fire: The Power of Incendiary Language and How to Confront It. His next book is The Trump Contagion: How Incompetence, Dishonesty, and Neglect Led to the Worst-Handled Crisis in American History.

On Saturday, April 23, 2022, Helio Fred Garcia participated in a panel discussion on Science and Partisanship at the National Undergraduate Conference on Scientific Journalism. The conference was hosted by the National Undergraduate Consortium for Science Journalism, which is a consortium of 17 undergraduate journals across the nation, chiefly interested in STEM research at the undergraduate level.

This year’s conference brought together hundreds of student-scientists and multiple undergraduate research journals from across the nation to discuss research ethics and practice, the publication process, the role of student journals, and more.

In addition to Garcia, the panel discussion on Science and Partisanship featured Professor Mark Cane from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, The Earth Institute, and Columbia University, and Professor Daniel Cornfield from Vanderbilt University. The panel was moderated by Taylor Ginieczki, NUCSJ Director of Civic Engagement and student at the University of Oregon.

Watch the full video of that panel discussion here: