Logos team blog posts

“Our organization wants to celebrate [X] Heritage/History Month, but we are not sure how.”

This has been an increasingly common concern we hear from clients.

Heritage month celebrations in the United States were established by congressional proclamations during the 20th century. Now, they are celebrated throughout the year, commemorating the histories and contributions of historically marginalized communities to this country.

Celebrating heritage months as an organization can be tricky. Leaders are often afraid to come across as inauthentic or opportunistic and worry about causing more harm than good by missing the mark in celebrating these heritage months. As a result, many organizations and leaders, with the best of intentions, end up doing nothing at all.

As with any other form of DE&I work, there are no easy solutions or shortcuts. Successful DE&I initiatives require commitment and hard work. However, when done right, heritage month celebrations can help build trust with those people who matter most to your organization. Moreover, when the recognition and celebration of non-dominant identities becomes a natural part of an organization’s culture, that organization will become more inclusive and employees will become more engaged in their work.

In thinking about celebrating heritage months at your organization, there is a simple, yet powerful mindset that can help leaders and organizations approach this challenge: Meet the expectations of those people who matter most to you.

I will unpack what this means by using this year’s Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage (AAPI) Month as an example and offer practical advice for how you can celebrate heritage months the right way in your organization.

Shifting Societal Expectations: A Historical Problem Brought to the Forefront

At Logos Consulting Group, we teach clients that trust is the natural consequence of promises fulfilled, expectations met, and values lived. When it comes any form of DE&I work, having a current, up-to-date understanding of societal expectations is essential in thinking about meeting stakeholder expectations.

For the AAPI community, the rise of anti-Asian hatred since the beginning of Covid-19 has continued into 2022. According to the NYPD Hate Crimes Dashboard, 158 incidents of hate crimes against Asians were reported between March 2020 and December 2021. Hate crimes against Asians increased so much so that the New York Police Department created an Asian Hate Crime Task Force.

However, nothing we are seeing today is new. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have suffered from systemic racism and oppression throughout the history of the United States. People from India were brought into colonial Virginia in the early 1620s as servants and slaves. The 1871 the Chinese Massacre resulted in 10% of Los Angeles’s Chinese American population being killed. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 prohibited all Chinese immigration to the US. The 1924 Immigration Act was an explicit race-based immigration ban against Asians. The Japanese internment between 1942-1946 resulted in 120,000 people of Japanese descent being incarcerated in US concentration camps. And these are just a few examples of this systemic anti-Asian racism and oppression from US history.

What makes matters worse for the AAPI community is the “model minority” myth, a perception of universal acceptance and success of AAPI people who bear few traumatic racial struggles. As a result, their plight is often absent from racial justice discussions, and their suffering and contributions are often missed or glossed over in textbooks.

This systemic racism and erasure have set the tone for the AAPI community in the US for generations. Many Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have walked around in American society with their heads down, mouths shut, and a persistent sense of otherness and inferiority. The rise of anti-Asian hate has finally, for good or for bad, shed a light on the elephant in the room.

Since the Atlanta shooting in March 2021, we’ve witnessed an outcry against Anti-Asian hate from across the country. For the first time in American history, advocacy for AAPI racial justice has been placed at the forefront of social discourse. Therefore, an expectation has been built in the AAPI community and with their allies – an expectation that their employers, partners, companies, and favorite brands will speak out and stand in solidarity with the AAPI community.

Opportunities and Risks

Given this shift of societal expectations, the 2022 AAPI Heritage Month becomes a critical moment. If organizations fail to meet those new expectations of the AAPI community and its allies, it will lead to a loss of trust among those who matter. However, if organizations succeed in meeting these new societal expectations, the trust and confidence of those who matter most will be maintained or even strengthened.

We can make this argument for all other heritage or history months. In this moment when ideologies in the US have become deeply polarized and when many ethnic cultures have been politicized and weaponized, it takes so much energy for people outside the dominant culture to check their identity at the door when they come to work.

Celebrating heritage months opens a door for necessary learning and honest conversation. It makes people in historically marginalized groups feel like they can be heard and that it is safe to bring their whole self to work.

If we don’t intentionally include, we will unintentionally exclude. Once an inclusive culture is in place, all of the positive benefits of an inclusive culture follow, such as increases in productivity, morale, creativity, collaboration, and so on.

Dos and Don’ts for Heritage Months

Given these new societal expectations, below is some practical advice to help you think about how your organization can celebrate heritage months:

  1. Show you care

In thinking about meeting stakeholder expectations, one common expectation is that all stakeholders expect you to care.

The first thing organizations and leaders can do to show they care is to utilize heritage months to facilitate learning about the history and culture of the specific community being celebrated. For example, an organization can host a screening of a relevant documentary or organize a book club or common read of a book the subject.

The second way organizations can show they care is to build understanding and advocate for solidarity, during heritage months and beyond. Using the AAPI Heritage Month as an example, you can host town hall meetings or facilitated conversations and invite AAPI employees to share their experiences and stories. As leaders, you can also personally reach out to your AAPI team members to offer support or appreciation of their contribution to the team.

  1. Address violence and oppression, while celebrating progress

Heritage months are to be celebrated – recognizing each community’s contribution to this country’s history and rejoicing in the richness and uniqueness of each cultural identity. However, we cannot celebrate cultural differences without addressing ongoing violence and oppression. Heritage months are also a reminder that we still have work to do to ensure justice and equity for all people in the US.

One way to address ongoing violence and oppression is by simply acknowledging the ongoing challenges faced by the group and announcing and/or reminding people of what action the organization is taking to address these challenges and ensure equity within and beyond the organization. For example, AAPI Heritage Month can be a great time to launch an AAPI employee resource group (ERG) or a mentorship program that focuses on sponsoring AAPI employees.

  1. Be consistent

As I noted before, all DE&I work takes commitment. Leaders and organizations need to be disciplined and consistent in celebrating all people of all identities throughout the year. Once you start celebrating heritage months, a new expectation will be formed among those who matter to you. For example, if you publicly acknowledge AAPI Heritage Month this year, the Indigenous people within your organization or among your customer base will expect you to acknowledge Native American Heritage Month in November as well.

Consistency also means that even when heritage months are over, your commitment to those communities should remain until the celebration of difference becomes a natural part of the organization’s culture.

  1. Avoid window-dressing.

Window-dressing is best understood as performative advocacy that does not pair with tangible action or the delivery of promises made. While making big promises and statements may feel right in the short-term, in the long run window-dressing further alienates marginalized groups and cultivates a toxic culture. Every statement or newsletter you push out makes implicit promises to those who matter to you. If you feel pressured to make a statement on a social issue without being prepared to follow through with real action, you are not ready to make that statement (yet).

Concluding Thoughts

The American identity was shaped collectively by a variety of races, ethnicities, backgrounds, and many other nuanced identity factors. And this is what makes the United States unique.

In the United States, we can hold pride in our uniqueness and in our diversity, while also holding and acknowledging the atrocities and injustice that are also core to this nation’s history.

This duality is also true for heritage months – heritage months come with opportunities and risks, enormous responsibility and tremendous potential. If done right, heritage months can help to lift the sense of otherness and alienation among marginalized groups and foster an inclusive culture in your organization.

On April 21, 2022, Logos president Helio Fred Garcia participated in the inaugural Global Brand Convergence, a free online experience for higher education students, faculty, and professionals around the world in public relations and marketing. Garcia participated in a panel discussion on “Crisis in an Enduring Pandemic,” alongside renowned communicator and crisis advisor Dr. Guanpeng (Steven) Dong.

Conceived by Jacqueline Strayer, the Global Brand Convergence was designed to connect and create a community to share ideas, innovations, and concepts to advance them in the classroom and in the profession. The inaugural event boasted more than 500 registered attendees from 50 countries and 54 colleges and universities.

In their session, Garcia and Dr. Dong discussed lessons learned from of how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled by the US and by China and several core principles and best practices in crisis response. Garcia and Dr. Dong have worked together in several capacities over the past 10 years, and in 2019 Dr. Dong was awarded the Logos Institute Outstanding Leader Award.

Watch the full panel discussion, moderated by Iliana Axiotiades here:

In addition to Garcia’s participation in the event, Logos Consulting Group was proud to be one of the sponsors for this annual event. To learn more about the Global Brand Convergence, visit https://www.globalbrandconvergence.com/.

In my first few years after coming to the United States from China, I was known and addressed by two names.

The first was my own name, Yinnan, given to me by my parents. The other was Iris, a name I gave myself for the ease of others in the United States – Starbucks staff, professors and classmates in graduate school, and other acquaintances.

How I introduced myself largely determined how I showed up in that space. Iris could superficially pass as an “American,” but Yinnan was an alien in this land. I reserved my true name only for those who I wanted to forge a genuine relationship with.

I juggled between the two identities for a long time. The process was mentally exhausting, but manageable. Until I faced a choice.

I was working at a three-person production shop and had been charged with reaching out to filmmakers on behalf of a film screening project. My work email was created under Yinnan, but I called myself Iris in the emails. I realized that the discrepancy might confuse people, especially if it was our first time connecting. It became clear that it was best for me to use only one name.

The question was, which one?

‘Yinnan’ is authentic to my identity. But ‘Iris’ makes cross-cultural experiences and my career development much easier to manage. I consulted with my boss at that time, and he responded without thinking, “Why don’t you keep your Chinese name? We have one American, one Australian, and one Chinese at the firm. We’re literally from all over the world. Isn’t that cool?”

I was shocked by that answer. It had never occurred to me that being anything other than American could be “cool.” Since then, I have strictly used my real name.

It was only years later that I was able to decipher what that moment truly meant to me. It cracked open the shell I built around myself and gave me permission to welcome and show up as the person I truly am. My former boss may have forgotten about that interaction years ago, but I remember and will forever be grateful for it.

That is an example of a micro-affirmation and how powerful micro-affirmations can be.

Micro-affirmations are small positive messages that explicitly recognize and validate an individual and their identity. Researcher Mary Rowe, who studies micro-messages, described micro-affirmations as, “tiny acts of opening doors to opportunity, gestures of inclusion, and caring and graceful acts of listening.”

The complexity and enormity of what it takes to thoughtfully engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) work can be overwhelming, even for the most devoted leaders and organizations taking on this work. Micro-affirmations can be a starting place for those seeking to create a more inclusive workplace.

Micro-affirmations are those expressions of empathy and appreciation, that little extra effort taken to understand and respect someone who may be different from you. While micro-affirmations matter to everyone, they are especially significant for groups and individuals who traditionally have been excluded or underrepresented. Micro-affirmations can affirm their value, something that has oftentimes been neglected or diminished. Like microaggressions, micro-affirmations can have a disproportionately large impact on an individual’s self-image and self-esteem.

Committing to these small daily acts of inclusion can send a powerful message throughout your organization. Micro-affirmations can be as simple as giving your undivided attention to someone speaking, being genuinely curious about and inviting other people to share their opinions, or asking a person to teach you how to pronounce their name if you’re not sure about the pronunciation.

When coming from leaders, micro-affirmations can also model inclusive behavior and explicitly communicate expectations for your team. For example, if a male employee has a tendency of interrupting his female colleagues in meetings, you can intervene when you witness this behavior and say, “I’m sorry, I want to hear what she has to say first.”

The rule of thumb within micro-affirmations is to be genuine. Inauthentic micro-affirmations can risk tipping over into microaggressions.

While small in comparison to other grandiose DE&I efforts, micro-affirmations can be a force multiplier in cultivating, modeling, and maintaining an inclusive workplace for leaders and organizations.

So, if you are wondering what you can do to advance DE&I in your organization or to simply to be a better ally to marginalized communities, consider starting with micro-affirmations.

To our clients, colleagues, and friends,

This week Logos Consulting Group begins our 20th year in operation. As we complete our 19th year, we want to take a moment to thank all of you for your support and confidence over the years.

We are blessed to have the opportunity to pursue our mission – to equip people to become leaders who ignite and inspire change in the world for the good – with hundreds of clients and thousands of people across the United States and the world.

As of this week, Logos has worked with 403 clients. Some have been our clients for decades, including before Logos was around. Some were clients only for a single project. Some are industry leaders, such as some of the largest money center banks, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies, industrial and manufacturing companies, and hospitality companies. Some are younger, smaller, and more entrepreneurial organizations. We’ve also worked with non-profits, cultural organizations, educational institutions, and religious and multi-religious institutions. And we’ve been honored to work with various branches and joint commands of the U.S. armed forces throughout this time.

We’ve also worked with clients where they are. In our 19 years (more precisely, the 17 ½ years before COVID), we have worked on the ground in 42 U.S. states and in 40 countries on five continents.

In our time we have been able to build out our three primary areas of practice: Crisis Management, Crisis Communication, and Executive Leadership Development. Over our 19 years, Logos team members, past and present, have authored or co-authored seven books (thirteen, if you include revised editions and translations). And through our publishing arm, we have published two books by non-Logos authors, with more on the way. And Logos team members served on graduate professional faculties, have been contract lecturers, and have been guest speakers in dozens of universities around the world.

The last 18 months have been difficult for many people and organizations, including Logos. But we are emerging stronger, better positioned to fulfill our mission and to find new ways to help leaders and the organization they run build competitive advantage and promote meaningful change.

I especially want to thank all those who worked at Logos in various capacities over the years: As staff, as interns, as consultants and business partners, as service providers. And to thank their families, who made their service possible.

We enter our 20th year with deep gratitude, with humility, and with enthusiasm. Here’s to the next 20 years….

And What Businesses Can To to Create An Inclusive Culture


I have an uncommon, un-American-looking name.

Many people whom I’ve met in person multiple times in a professional setting have never remembered or addressed me by my name. People often mispronounce my name without trying to figure out the correct pronunciation, or just choose to not engage with me at all to avoid embarrassment or discomfort. I used an English name when I was in graduate school, as did most of my Asian classmates, to make people’s lives easier. After graduation, I chose to keep only my Chinese name, knowing that in this choice may affect my career opportunities in future.

If you are Asia, Asian American, or Pacific Islander, you may recognize this struggle; the system is not designed for us to have both cultural identities and opportunities at the same time.

Because of the model minority myth, the false perception of universal acceptance and success of Asians and Asian Americans who bear few traumatic racial struggles, we are extra pressured to prove our worthiness. We’re constantly in the mindset that respect to us is earned not given. We are told if we want to earn respect and a place in American society, we need to keep our head down, be quiet, and work hard. We think if we can blend into the mass, one day we will belong. This myth feeds the need to over-assimilate into the mainstream culture, to sacrifice our cultural identity in exchange for acceptance and thereby success in American society.

When it comes to the workplace, this over-assimilation is a lot more specific, amplifying the onus on us to adapt, from accent to the way you speak up at a meeting to the pop culture or football reference you’re expected to make a comment on over water-cooler conversations.

The rise in anti-Asian sentiment coupled with Asian Heritage month has deflected attention from another troubling issue: Anti-Asian sentiment in the workplace.


The Asian Woman Experience


The challenges facing Asian and Asian American people in general become extra challenging when dealing with the intersectionality of being an Asian woman.

Asian women have been historically sexualized and exotified in the western culture. People, particularly men, expect Asian women to be docile, sexy, and nice. Anything other than that becomes a threat. This stereotype makes it extremely hard for Asian women to build professional relationships in the workplace – workplaces that most of the time are dominated by white men. It is dehumanizing and degrading when you realize the man across the table has no interest at all at your intellect or your industry insights; that they see you only as a young Asian woman, which is more or less an object.

The onus is again on us, Asian women, to dress more conservatively and to carry ourselves with more assertiveness and an extra level of professionalism in order to be taken seriously.

Asian women blog post-Yinnan

Image Source: NBC News; Getty Images

What Businesses Can Do to Create A More Inclusive Workplace


Culture change will be the key. And the culture change needs to come from the top. As we see more and more diversity initiatives taking place across the country, we must not forget about inclusion, which is a connected but separate process. Diversity is focused on representation; inclusion is focused on the actual experience of your employees and the way people’s identities and opinions are valued in the workplace. Diversity will die in a workplace without inclusion, because your “diverse hires” will feel miserable and leave, wasting your effort and resources in the long run.

Business leaders have a responsibility to model to create an inclusive work environment, where resources are equally distributed, and where all people are treated with respect and valued as who they are. If you don’t intentionally include, you will unintentionally exclude. Once an inclusive culture is in place, everything else follows, such as productivity, morale, creativity, collaboration, and so on.

There is also an additional need for inclusivity right now. As ideologies in the United States have become deeply polarized and many ethnic cultures have been politicized and weaponized, it takes so much energy for people outside the dominant culture to check their identity at the door when they come into work. An inclusive workplace opens a door for necessary learning and honest conversations. It makes people in marginalized groups feel like they can be heard and that they can bring their whole self to work.

Given the rising anti-Asian sentiment, organizations and leaders need to show care to their Asian American employees, building understanding and advocating for solidarity during and beyond AAPI Heritage Month. Reach out to the Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders on your team to offer genuine support. There are many ways to do this, such as hosting a town hall meeting or facilitated conversations that invite Asian and Asian America employees to share their experiences and stories.

Avoid is silence or window-dressing. Silence can be perceived as indifference, which is the single biggest predictor of loss of trust. Window-dressing describes performative advocacy that does not set aside proper resources to deliver on promises made. Window-dressing may feel good in the moment, but further alienates marginalized groups and cultivates a toxic culture in the long run. Every statement or newsletter you push out makes implicit promises to those who matter to you. If you feel pressured to make a statement on a social issue without being prepared to walk the talk, I’d suggest you not make the statement.

Asian experience post-Yinnan

What else can business leaders do to support their Asian American friends and colleagues who are facing discrimination in the workplace or on the street?

Stand in solidarity – with the Asian community, with the black community, with the Latino community, with the indigenous community, with the LGBTQIA community…

The systems of oppression and hate that we face thrive off our division. White supremacy relies on each of our communities that have been oppressed to fight alone and to fight against one another. But when all those who face oppression and our allies stand together, when we fight for one another instead of against each other, when we lift up each other’s struggles rather than tear down and compare our struggles, when we recognize that, as Emma Lazarus said, “until we are all free none of us is free,” we have a chance to make the dream of a better, freer, more just country a reality.

Imagine taking your driver’s test without ever having driven a car or taken a driver’s education course. You’d more likely end up straddled on a curb with a dented bumper than passing the test with flying colors, right?

Had you practiced beforehand, you almost certainly would perform better in your road test. Why? Because practice gives you the opportunity to make adjustments and address issues that will improve your performance when it really matters. The same principle applies to crises, or events that threaten an organization’s reputation, assets, operations, and other measures of competitive advantage.

Crisis simulations are training exercises where fictional crisis scenarios are presented to test a leadership team’s ability to follow their crisis plan faithfully and respond to a crisis effectively. Simulations can test different aspects of crisis response, like a team’s ability to follow their respective roles and responsibilities and make key decisions in a timely manner. The insights gained from these exercises can be used to improve an organization’s crisis response processes before an actual crisis happens.

However, the value to be gained – or lost – from crisis simulations hinges on the leadership’s willingness and ability to apply the insights such exercises reveal, before real problems arise.

For example, a Business Insider article dated March 19, 2020, details how in 2019, “the Trump administration held a training simulation on a hypothetical pandemic that predicted, with remarkable accuracy, many of the problems the novel coronavirus currently poses.” An after-action report from the exercise identified many of the issues that ultimately plagued the Trump administration throughout its response to the virus last year, including complications around vaccine rollout and school closures.

A crisis simulation led by the Department of Health & Human Services in 2019 predicted many of the complications the Trump administration faced throughout 2020, including difficulties around school closures.

In short, crisis simulations can be extremely valuable learning opportunities for leadership teams to gain insights into their organization’s vulnerabilities and to make adjustments to processes (in some cases, life- or career-saving ones) while time still allows – if these exercises are taken seriously by leadership.

So, how can you ensure your organization gets the maximum benefit from a crisis simulation? Here are four tips to help you do just that:

1) Clearly identify the desired learning objectives of the exercise. Different organizations have different needs and levels of experience in addressing crises. The desired learning objectives of the exercise should align with these needs, as well as take into account lessons learned from previous simulations. For example, a leadership team with no simulation experience may simply want to measure their ability to accurately follow their crisis plan. A team with more experience will likely want to be assessed on more specific performance elements, like their ability to coordinate with overseas teams in a crisis with international implications, such as a cyberattack or supply chain disruption.

HOW TO DO IT: Have a planning discussion with the person responsible for approving the exercise (likely the CEO or some other C-suite level leader) to understand where the organization is most vulnerable, or where insights are most needed. There can be, and often is, more than one desired learning outcome. The best practice is to design a fictional crisis scenario to meet these stated objectives. Another approach is to hire an outside crisis simulation specialist to help you develop and conduct the exercise.

2) Establish role clarity for exercise participants. Chaos and confusion are normal parts of a crisis that make it difficult to think and act clearly. This is why role clarity is an essential aspect of operational readiness in a crisis. Establishing which functional roles (e.g., Chief Legal Counsel; head of human resources) are responsible for which components of the crisis response (e.g., responding to media inquiries; notifying business partners) before the exercise is essential for testing operational readiness and promoting productive engagement during the exercise.

HOW TO DO IT: Again, a pre-exercise planning discussion with the participants to establish 1) what is being assessed in the exercise and 2) what each functional role’s corresponding responsibilities are will allow for effective testing of operational readiness.

3) Make the exercise feel as real as possible. There’s the old saying that history has a way of repeating itself. The same is true for crises in that they follow predictable patterns. There is always stress and confusion, especially in the earliest stages of a crisis when events and information are breaking. Researching past crises, and news and social media coverage of them, will provide useful inspiration in crafting the details and a realistic timeline for a crisis scenario.

HOW TO DO IT: There are a number of ways to mimic the stress and chaos of a crisis. But the single most effective strategy for manufacturing the chaos of a crisis is to ensure that as many of the exercise participants know as little as possible (ideally, nothing) in advance of the exercise about the crisis scenario. Very rarely, if ever, do organizations know exactly when, what, and how a crisis will unfold. Keeping exercise participants “blind” beforehand will help mirror the confusion that exists in a real crisis.

4) Capture what happens in the exercise in real-time. This is a simple yet essential component to an effective simulation. In order to harvest the insights that will ultimately help the organization improve its crisis response, the real-time decisions, disagreements, and distractions that happen in a simulation need to be recorded: what the team did well, who made key decisions, when were those decisions made, where the team got distracted, etc.

HOW TO DO IT: Appointing a designated notetaker or simply recording the exercise are effective ways to capture the real-time performance of the leadership team in the exercise. The more detailed the notes, the more fruitful the insights the exercise reveals will be.

The Key Takeaway 

Take these steps, and you can design a crisis simulation that will help you and your team be ready for your next real-life crisis.

At Logos Consulting Group, we help our clients make the critical business decisions that can prevent, mitigate damage or recover from an event that threatens reputation, assets, and operations.

Our distinctive approach is to help leaders accurately diagnose the challenges facing them and make more strategic decisions to manage those challenges.

We help establish early warning systems to know when a choice may need to be made, as well as structures and processes to prevent crises from happening and to respond effectively when they do.

We help clients establish decision criteria to ensure that the right choices are made at the right time. And we help ensure ongoing readiness so that companies can minimize the impact of a crisis early enough to maintain their competitive position.

If you found this blog helpful and would like to take the next step to attain crisis readiness, we’re here to help!

Visit https://logosconsulting.net/our-work/crisis-management/ or email us at admin@logosconsulting.net to learn more.

“You f*&#ing stupid Asian!”

On a sunny afternoon in 2017, a man hurled this insult at me as I was crossing Sixth Avenue in midtown Manhattan, minding my own business. I didn’t take it seriously at the time. It was my second year living in the U.S., and I thought I just had an unlucky day.

However, the longer I have lived in the US, the more I realize that what I encountered that day was just the tip of a devastating iceberg.

I didn’t have an unlucky day. The six Asian women killed in Atlanta nearly two weeks ago weren’t unlucky. Nor was the 84-year-old Korean man killed in San Francisco. Nor the Chinese man stabbed walking home near Manhattan’s Chinatown.

This hatred is real, and it has been real the whole time.

The Forgotten History

The escalation of Anti-Asian hate crimes is neither new, nor the result of isolated incidents. It is a natural consequence of America’s history of neglect for and xenophobia against Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders.

This vague, and almost innate fear of Asians and Asian Americans can be traced back to the “Yellow Peril” period in the late nineteenth century. Across majority white, Western countries, this “Yellow Peril’ imagery was designed to stoke fear of a faceless, nameless existential threat posed by Asian people immigrating to the West. This racist concept centered around the core imagery depicting Asians as, “apes, lesser men, primitives, children, madmen, and beings who possessed special powers.”

A soap advertisement from the 1880s, sub-titled ‘The Chinese Must Go’


Since then, Asians and Asian Americans have suffered from lynching, hate crimes, and lawful incarceration and discrimination in the US for more than 100 years. To name a few examples: the 1871 Chinese Massacre, wherein 10% of L.A.’s Chinese American population was killed; the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, which prohibited all Chinese immigration to the US; the 1924 Immigration Act, which was a race-based immigration ban against Asians; and Japanese internment between 1942-1946, wherein 120,000 people of Japanese descent were incarcerated in concentration camps.

But Asian Americans’ suffering and contributions to this country have been erased from history, often missing or glossed over in textbooks. This systemic racism and erasure have set the tone for Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in the United States for generations. No matter how hard we try to fit in or how successful we become, our sense of otherness persists. We don’t belong; we are always the aliens.

There is another insidious effect to this history – the “model minority” myth. The model minority myth, the perception of universal acceptance and success of Asians and Asian Americans, pits us against other people of color who also suffer from systemic racism. The model minority myth also puts the onus on Asian Americans to prove that they are worthy of respect and of being American. Combined, the effects of this myth strengthen and sustain systems of white supremacy.


How Chinese American Women Changed U.S. Labor History (Click the image to see the article)


“Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

The anguish and sadness I have been feeling in response to anti-Asian hate is personal. I am Asian, Chinese more specifically.

But it’s more than that. I’m devastated because I dream of a world where all people live in dignity, where all people are treated with respect as human beings, and not selectively because they’re “diligent Asian people” or “the good kind of people of color.”

I remember watching The Pursuit of Happyness when I was in high school, and tearing up with a smile when Will Smith said, “If you want something, go get it, period.” That feeling still lingers with me. It was the feeling of hope, of freedom, and of acceptance. It was a feeling associated with a beautiful name – America. That is why I, and many others, came to this country in the first place.

This current state has demonstrated how far we are from that dream. I can’t remember exactly when – as an Asian, immigrant woman – I began to feel fear walking down the street. But since the pandemic started, I have felt more and more reluctant to introduce myself as Chinese. Amidst the rise of anti-Asian and anti-Chinese hate during COVID-19, I worried about how possible bias could cost me professionally. Would I be judged differently than my colleagues by partners, clients, and students? Would such a bias jeopardize professional opportunities and relationships?

Hate is plaguing today’s America. People are dying, being attacked, spit on, and insulted. And we remain divided. Nineteen years later, Rodney King’s words cross my mind quite often: “Can’t we all just get along?”



The answer to this rise in hate and violence may be deceptively simple: We must stand in solidarity with one another – with the Asian community, with the black community, with the Latino community, with the indigenous community, with the LGBTQIA community…

The systems of oppression and hate that we face thrive off our division. White supremacy relies on each of our communities that have been oppressed to fight alone and to fight against one another. But when all those who face oppression and our allies stand together, when we fight for one another instead of against each other, when we lift up each other’s struggles rather than tear down and compare our struggles, when we recognize that, as Emma Lazarus said, “until we are all free none of us is free,” we have a chance to make the dream of a better, freer, more just country a reality.

But solidarity cannot be reached without leadership. In darkness, people look to leadership to bring us together and to point us in the direction of light.

For those who lead our government, a cause, or an organization, there is much you can do to stand in solidarity with the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander community right now. Reach out to the Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders on your team, in your network, and in your stakeholder groups to offer support and to demonstrate your care. Remember that trust is built by meeting expectations and fulfilling promises. The common expectation among all people and all groups is that you care. The perception of indifference is the single biggest predictor of a loss of trust and confidence. If people who matter to you expect you to course correct, course correct. If they expect you to speak out on social justice issues, speak out. Show you care. Your demonstration of care doesn’t have to be public, but it does have to be genuine – especially toward and for those people most affected.

However, leadership is a mindset, not a job title. Each of us can be a leader in this work, no matter the size of our platform. Each of us can do our part to stand in solidarity with those who are oppressed, within our circles or beyond. Each of us can build bridges and foster greater understanding, within ourselves and our communities. Each of us can create space for us to share our stories. When we tell our stories, we can build lasting connections that inspire change. No one is born to hate after all. If we can learn hate, we can also learn love.

If you hope for a better future, as I do, then we must stand together and stand up against hate, bigotry, and racism in all its forms.

Nearly every rising business leader can talk to you about their technical skill (read: job) until they (and you) are blue in the face. It’s what they do and what they are good at.

But technical skills, also referred to as “hard skills,” can only get you so far in a competitive environment. That is why accomplished business leaders are committed to strengthening their “soft skills.”

Why soft skills matter

“Soft skills” are those interpersonal and communication skills that help you translate your hard skills to build trust and convince those who matter most to work with you.

Take the Oracle of Omaha, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffett. Buffett is one of the most successful investors in the world, and also one of the wealthiest people in the world. He is also one of the best communicators in the world – but that wasn’t always the case.

Early in his career, Buffett learned that he was really good at picking stocks. However, he was also really bad at getting people to care that he was good at picking stocks. This is in part because, at the time, he would simply approach people with the facts: “Here is my investment record.” Simply showing his investment record did not help Buffett convince people to listen to him. He was also afraid of public speaking.

He realized quickly that his business education had failed him for this particular leadership challenge. In a 2019 interview with CNBC, Buffet explained that “in graduate school, you learn all this complicated stuff, but what’s really essential is being able to get others to follow your ideas.”

He knew that he needed to find a course that can help him inspire people to follow his advice and ideas. Therefore, in 1952 he enrolled in the Dale Carnegie Course in Effective Speaking, Leadership Training, and the Art of Winning Friends and Influencing People. In the course, Buffett was put through a variety of seemingly crazy and uncomfortable tasks. But when he left that course, he was equipped with powerful soft skills to help him advance in his career. And they did.

Buffett attributes much of his success to his investment in building these skills and to this day, he displays his certificate of completion for this course in his office.

Buffett understood that to get people to follow your ideas, you need to invest in building up your soft skills, including the ability to communicate effectively. “If you’re a salesperson, you want people to follow your advice. If you’re a management leader, you want them to follow you in business,” Buffett explained to CNBC. “Whatever you do, good communication skills are incredibly important and something that almost anybody can improve upon, both in writing and speaking.”

Two years ago, Buffett returned to his alma mater and addressed the graduating class of Columbia Business School. During his remarks, he explained that you can improve your personal value in the marketplace by 50% if you invest in the soft skills.

Our team at Logos couldn’t agree more. We have seen time and again how a person’s ability to inspire, explain, and motivate helps them advance more quickly in their careers and become a stronger leader.

The key lesson

Hard skills are not enough to advance in your career. If you want to succeed, grow, and advance in your career and leadership, invest in the soft skills.


Did you find this article helpful? Sign up for one of our Logos Learning Center webinars, where you can learn more about how you can reach your leadership potential. Learn more at www.logos-consutling.biz.

Reach out today for personalized coaching by visiting www.logosconsulting.net or email the author directly at mzheng@logosconsulting.net.


About Maida K. Zheng

Maida is an Advisor at Logos Consulting Group and a Senior Fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, where she helps corporate leaders maximize presence and enhance communication skills to become more effective in managing both their reputations and relationships. She also serves as the Chief of Client Services.

About Logos Consulting Group

Leaders change the world. But they don’t do it alone. They ignite others toward a common cause.

At Logos Consulting Group, we believe in this world and we see this world in the work that we do. Our mission is to build a better world by equipping people to become leaders who ignite change in the world for the good.

We do this by helping our clients inspire those who matter to them to make a difference in their own industries and communities, and the world at large. We advise and coach our clients in three key areas: crisis managementcrisis communication; and executive coaching.


The Feeling

For most of us, the days start the same way. You turn over, turn off your alarm, and then check your phone or email notifications.

Most of the time, the notifications you find are the typical daily intrusions or distractions.

But imagine this. One day you read the email, urgent text chain, social media feed, or news story and you discover that your organization has found itself in a crisis that has the potential to jeopardize the future of the organization. A future you and your colleagues have worked so hard to create.

Maybe it is a crisis you had foreseen.

Maybe it takes you completely by surprise.

But in that first moment, you feel the walls coming down around you. For many, a heavy feeling hits them in the gut and weight compresses their chest. A question inevitably sets in:

What are we going to do?

The feelings of fear and desperation are real. In that initial moment, panic quickly sets in and it may feel like the end of the world.

That feeling is okay. In fact, it is natural. In another blog, I will explain the neuroscience behind what’s happening to your brain and your body, and why you feel what you feel during a crisis, including the immediate inability to make rational decisions. (Check back on our site for the release of this blog.)

In the meantime, I’d like to talk through some things you can focus on right now, so you know how to move past that initial flash of panic and gain ability to make decisions. The goal is that in that moment of crisis you are able to move forward and respond to what is happening calmly, clearly, and effectively.

The key to doing so is readiness.


Readiness determines how an organization responds to a crisis. The common misconception is that the severity of the inciting incident determines the response. However, when properly prepared and applying the right mindset, your level of readiness will be the deciding factor of whether or not the organization will get through a crisis unscathed and stronger than before.

Most organizations have some structures of operational readiness to respond to a crisis. But the truth is that well-built structures alone are not enough in moments of crisis. That is why so many companies that have well-built structures of operational readiness still fail to respond to a crisis effectively and suffer meaningful harm as a result.

The key is combining operational readiness with mental readiness.

Mental Readiness

Effective crisis response is a combination of both operational readiness and mental readiness. This combination equates to the ability to make smart choices quickly and execute them well in a crisis. Mental readiness helps people faced with crises respond calmly, think clearly, and make smart choices when it matters most.

Mental readiness consists of three parts:

Emotional Discipline. The ability to regulate your emotions to execute decisions well in moments of crisis. In a crisis, making smart choices in timely ways is not always easy. Sometimes there is no good choice, free of pain or discomfort. Sometimes there is only the least bad choice, which may involve discomfort to you but will ultimately serve your stakeholders (those who matter to your organization) the most. Discipline and practice is required to remain calm and make the difficult, but necessary choices.

Deep Knowledge. The understanding of the patterns that drive effective and ineffective crisis response, including why some actions always work while some other actions never work. By studying as many different crises as possible, you are able to learn from others’ mistakes without having to live those mistakes yourself.

Intellectual Rigor. The ability to think clearly and ask the right questions in the right order in order to identify the problem accurately and understand the best course of action forward. The ability to remain focused and ask the right questions, rather than letting distraction take hold, enables you to make smart choices quickly.

By building your mental readiness for moments of crisis, you will be able to foresee crises that are foreseeable. You will be able to assess unforeseen crises and respond effectively as they arise. And you will be able to move past that initial moment of panic when the crisis breaks to lead your team through what needs to happen next.

This is part of a series of blogs on crisis response principles. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series.


Did you find this article helpful? Sign up for one of our Logos Learning Center webinars, where you can learn more about how you can reach your leadership potential. Learn more at www.logos-consutling.biz.

Reach out today for personalized coaching by visiting www.logosconsulting.net or email the author directly at mzheng@logosconsulting.net.

About Maida Kalić Zheng

Maida is an Advisor at Logos Consulting Group and a Senior Fellow at the Logos Institute for Crisis Management and Executive Leadership, where she helps corporate leaders maximize presence and enhance communication skills to become more effective in managing both their reputations and relationships. She also serves as the Chief of Client Services.



About Logos Consulting Group

Leaders change the world. But they don’t do it alone. They ignite others toward a common cause. At Logos Consulting Group, we believe in this world and we see this world in the work that we do. Our mission is to build a better world by equipping people to become leaders who ignite change in the world for the good. We do this by helping our clients inspire those who matter to them to make a difference in their own industries and communities, and the world at large. We advise and coach our clients in three key areas: crisis managementcrisis communication; and executive coaching.

The Dilemma

If you are a communication professional, then you have probably experienced that moment of frustration when you’ve given vitally important advice to your boss, but it landed on deaf ears or they didn’t seem to be interested at all in what you had to say. You may also know that feeling when the event or consequence you warned the boss about actually happens, and then you have to scramble and try to fix something that was completely preventable.

This frustration is common in the communication field and explainable. In some instances, the boss simply doesn’t know what you do. In others, they may think that they know what you do but they couldn’t be more wrong. This misalignment often leads to you being marginalized in your role and doing work that does not capitalize on your professional capabilities. For some communication professionals that can mean becoming a glorified speech writer or copy editor; for others it means planning company events or posting what others write on the company website. But for all – the frustration is real.

The Good News

The good news is that this is preventable (assuming you have a reasonable boss who wants to do well). Part of the challenge for communication professionals is that we often become our own worst enemy. As professional communicators we tend to focus on the communication itself and in the process fail to speak to the direct concerns of our boss.

To win a seat at the table and get your boss to listen to you, communication professionals should keep in mind the following mantra:

It isn’t about the communication. It is about the effect of the communication.

One of the sad realities is that as communicators, we know that communication is a rigorous, strategic discipline. But the word ‘communication’ itself is confusing. Because if you think of communication as reading, writing, and speaking – well, we’ve all been doing that our whole lives, so we must be very good at it and your boss probably feels the same way.

“The true value of a professional communicator is not that we can string words and sentences together and get them out into the right hands,” explains Helio Fred Garcia, the president of Logos Consulting Group.“The value of the communicator is that we can influence those who matter to our bosses to feel, think, know, or do something they otherwise would not.”

Predictive Ability

One way communication professionals can think about what they do is to understand their role as “applied anthropologists.”

This idea was first espoused by the father of public relations, Edward L. Bernays. Bernays explained in Crystallizing Public Opinion, “Public relations is a vocation applied by a social scientist who advises a client or employer on social attitudes and the actions to take to win support of the public upon whom the viability of the client depends.” In other words, the professional communicator shapes the opinions of those they try to influence.

Nearly a century after this book was published, the idea of the communication professionals’ function as an applied social scientist still holds true. With this concept in mind, the communicator understands the social and power relationships within groups and among groups. And the applied part of anthropologists is that the communication professional knows how to then engage any given group to secure a predictable outcome.

“As professional communicators our job is to predict the future – to know the reaction and counter reaction to everything we do,” said Garcia. “If we subject this group to stimulus A for example, then we can predict how they will react, and to stimulus B…to stimulus C…and so on.”

This predictive ability is the value that communication professionals can bring to the table. Therefore, if you want the boss to listen to you, you need to demonstrate this predictive ability when you give advice to your boss.

It is not enough to say, “We need to release this statement.” The key is to focus on the outcome you seek, and then lay out the steps required to move those who matter to your boss to think, feel, know, and do what is necessary to reach that desired outcome. The strategic discipline to keep in mind, however, is that we must never make communication decisions on personal preference, but rather on the desired reaction and outcome.

The more you as a communication professional can show that you can predict the future and provoke the desired action to reach a desired outcome, the more respected your function will be and the more likely your boss will invite you to take a coveted seat at the table.

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