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Blue Health™ is the newest Leadership Development program created by Corporate Looking Glass, LLC – a global consultancy based in the USA.

Here is a 2-minute video in ENGLISH.

Here is a 2-minute video in SPANISH.

Here is a 2-minute video in DANISH.

So, if you are interested in having critical thinkers as leaders (as opposed to mindless foot soldiers) and resilient leaders who can bounce back (regardless of whatever “shizzle” is coming down the pike at work – or at home), then your company needs this program.

We build healthy, functional leaders.

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MidSouth Diversity & Inclusion Summit, November 19, 2014


In collaboration with Middle Tennessee Society for Human Resource Management (MT|SHRM), Corporate Looking Glass, LLC, presents the 2014 MidSouth Diversity & Inclusion Summit, November 19, 2014, 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM.

Keynote Speaker, Greg Warren, VP of Global Talent Management for the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart. Panelists include: Jeffrey Webster, Director of Diversity for Nissan Headquarters Americas; Kim Fisher, Principal of Human Capital for EY; and Susan Heard, VP of the Paradigm Group.

Register at

Business professionals, Human Resource (HR) experts, and Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) leaders from top-performing firms are actively participating in this full-day summit to deliver their Best Practices and share their company success in measuring the effectiveness of D&I business strategies.

Reasons to Attend

  • Improve your understanding of D&I metrics
  • Learn best practices and lessons learned from the state’s leading practitioners
  • Build your professional network of peers and resources
  • Gain tools and resources to advance D&I strategy within your organization

Who Should Attend

  • Business Leaders who have the responsibility to recruit diverse talent, promote employee engagement, and develop inclusive leaders
  • Professionals seeking practicable, actionable guidance on implementing D&I strategy
  • D&I practitioners who want to share with, and learn from, peers

The Difference between Diversity & Inclusion


Many people seem to think diversity and inclusion (D&I) are the same thing.  There is actually quite a huge distinction.  And, to have one without the other is to invite chaos and/or have a flawed strategy.


Diversity is a noun.  It is the mix of different types of people.  There are TWO types of diversity: 1) Visible Diversity; 2) Thought Diversity.

Visible Diversity.  This is the “traditional” diversity of having a physical representation of various minority groups (e.g. gender, age, disabled, ethnic/racial).  This is very important to some.  For example, one of my clients is a General Counsel and she said she was invited to interview for a position at a well-known oil company, but when she walked into the room and saw a conference table full of white males only, she chose to walk back out.  She joined a competitor, which had more diverse representation.


  • Tokens. Visibly diverse talent is set up to fail, if organizations hire those who do not have the qualifications for the position.  Morale is ridden with resentment by the employee and his/her colleagues.
  • “People of Color.” To literally say this phrase is to invite dichotomous, Black & White mindsets. It creates the polarization of Whites and “the others.” (de Beauvoir and Hegel beautifully made this point in their writings).  Avoid contributions to reducing the complexity of diversity to just pigmentation.
  • Oreos/Twinkies. These slang terms were created by the racial groups to signify that while there may be a racial difference, the ethnic difference is what dominates.  For example, a Korean infant girl was adopted by Danish parents.  She completed her education in Denmark, speaks only Danish and English (no Korean), and has only Danish relatives as a part of her life.  She is racially diverse, but ethnically the same.  This is why many within the African-American community felt that President Barack Obama is “not really Black.” Obama was raised by a single white mom and her white parents; and he spent much of his childhood outside of the USA.

Thought Diversity.  This is the richness from which corporations, government, and academic institutions can reap.  Numerous studies have been conducted to prove that thought diversity is the key to a robust strategy.  For example, Procter & Gamble found that problems are far more likely to be solved with a cross-functional mix of a physical chemist, a molecular biologist, and a biophysicist than by using only chemists.  And, Bletchley Park (WWII code-breaking group) was hardly a rainbow gathering, though they were cognitively diverse.

Peter Drucker: Effective work is actually done in and by teams of people of diverse knowledge and skills.

This idea isn’t new.  Plato said it 2K years ago.

Consultants can add value just by being different, by possessing a different set of core tools than people at the company.  Consultants challenge the status quo.  They are trained dissenters.  According to Scott Page, a statistician who conducted a quantitative study on diversity, “[Consultants] force us to abandon our existing predictive models.”


Inclusion is more of a verb.  By practicing Inclusion as a leader, you invite voices that can share a perspective not yet considered.  Corporations which hire visibly diverse talent, but keep them working small projects and/or out of strategy meetings are simply out to appease the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  This talent will, in effect, yield little to no returns because the lack of inclusion has communicated to them that they are not taken seriously and they will most probably leave or practice show up to work but have low productivity.

Corporations which hire cognitively diverse talent without inclusion will suffer the same outcomes of attrition and lack of engagement.  Groupthink is the usual consequence for those who stay, since most employees want stability and work hard to assimilate into their work environments. (See blog  Corporate Primatology).

Inclusive organizations yield exponential results. (See blog Women in Corporate Leadership).

In summary, companies have folded because of too much homogeneity and lack of cognitive diversity.  If an organization’s Senior Leadership is so weak that it requires strokes of egotistical self-validation to hear and see more of themselves through their recruitment and promotion processes, then those organizations will surely fail.  There is simply no need to sacrifice ability for diversity; rather, to balance the two is to generate a more powerful impact in the marketplace.

“May we together become greater than the sum of both of us.”  – Mr. Spock, Vulcan, Star Trek


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is Vice Chair of Middle Tennessee’s Society for Human Resource Management Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic business partners.

Visit us at

©Rossina Gil, 2014


Savage Curtain episode,

Scott Page. The Difference. Pg 344.

Judgment Day


Most people dislike judgment and wish to escape it. However, judgment is much like Bill Murray in the movie Groundhog’s Day…it is there every day, and there’s not too much one can do about it, but get used to it and make the most of it.

Psychologist Paul Ekman argues that judgment is essential to survival. It is a part of our hardwiring, since judgment stems from our EMOTIONS. In fact, Dr. Ekman asserts that there are seven universal emotions: Contempt, Disgust, Anger, Sadness, Surprise, Fear, and Joy. These emotions are called universal because he found that the expressions for these emotions are understood regardless of one’s cultural origin. To test his theory, he brought pictures of authentic emotions to a remote village in Papua, New Guinea – a place where civilization was left untouched by the outside world and could not have “learned” these expressions through media or human contact. His landmark study revealed that these seven emotions are innate and could be accurately assessed by other humans. So, all humankind is born with the ability to “judge” or ascertain situations.


But Isn’t Judgment Bad?

All judgmental comments are helpful in understanding the NEEDS of the individual placing the judgment; hence, the utilization of Performance Management Reviews and 360-Reviews in the workplace. Subjective assessments can be mitigated by including all comments; not just the critical and hypercritical feedback.

Supervisors, and those without Direct Reports, can make more effective judgments in a variety of ways. First and foremost, slow down the knee-jerk reaction by practicing inquiry. Then, contemplate the three areas I reiterate in my blogs, namely: EMOTIONS, THOUGHTS, and ACTIONS.

EMOTIONS. Dr. Ekman found that emotions are a psycho-physiological (i.e. mind/body) experience that drive a person to action. As infants, we experienced emotion before cognitive development. So, when someone expresses an emotion and we do not understand the reason or intensity of the emotion, we have very likely at some point, and under different circumstances, experienced the same emotion and can, therefore, relate to the person using critical judgment. RECOMMENDATIONS: Practice compassion. Ask yourself, have I ever been disappointed, frustrated, confused, etc. by XYZ (e.g. someone offering me direct feedback, not giving enough face-time, not communicating “enough,” using words I can’t understand)?

THOUGHTS. Each employee moves forward making a series of daily decisions based on their thinking process. Reasoning is usually a combination of Nature (i.e. genetic/internal) and Nurture (i.e. environment/external). For example, a supervisor could be a Linear thinker and can get lost if someone jumps from A to C, without having discussed B. Men are typically Linear thinkers. If s/he is Linear and has a Systemic thinker for a direct report, then conflict can ensue because the supervisor could feel frequently lost and may attribute that to the direct report. A Systemic thinker can easily jump from A to D (or even G) because that is how his/her mind works. Women are typically Systemic thinkers, which is why there are jokes about how complicated a woman’s mind is (7-lane highway or massive circuitry) versus a man’s mind (dirt road or a one-push button). RECOMMENDATIONS: Practice Inclusion and Equifinality. This means that “there are more ways than one to skin a cat.” Plus, diverse thinking increases your competitive advantage (See blog Women in Corporate Leadership).

ACTIONS. Since we are the product of the sum of our experiences, we tend to be more receptive towards certain individuals than to others. At work, one supervisor/direct report might think that you’re fantastic, while the next one may not. How does this happen? Experiences vary by individual and that is what impacts and shapes expectations. Lack of experience usually reduces the ability to practice inclusion and equifinality; and if s/he has little to no experience and lacks compassion, then you are S.O.L. (i.e. sh*t out of luck). RECOMMENDATIONS: Recognize how experience contributes “added value.” Experience, unless dysfunctional, never diminishes value contribution and must be optimized.

Suspend judgment. Embrace emotion, question it, and do no harm.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.


Ekman, Paul. Emotions Revealed. (New York: Owl Books, 2003).

©Rossina Gil, 2013

Women in Corporate Leadership


Since we each have a predominant proclivity towards a particular style, being able to understand, leverage, and blend the other styles helps an organization maximize its competitive advantage. Another way to optimize strategic input is to incorporate women in corporate leadership.

A recent Catalyst study reported: Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the Board outperform other companies with 53% more returns on equities, 42% more return on sales and 66% more return invested capital.

What keeps women back?

Sure, some women may “opt out” to care for their children, but the real hindrance is two-fold:

  1. External – the culture (ACTIONS)
  2. Internal – fear of failure, perfectionism/underestimation, risk-aversion (THOUGHTS; EMOTIONS)

EXTERNAL. Unfortunately, in my corporate experience in Leadership Development, the external variable is typically attributed towards men imposing a glass ceiling on women. I regret to share my observation how it is also other women’s insecurities projected onto women that prevent the successes of our corporate sisters. Whether it be envy or wishing to be the sole woman at the top, there are invariably those who shove a steel stiletto into the face of the woman climbing the corporate ladder behind (or next to) her. As an Arab proverb goes, “people only throw sticks and stones at fruit-bearing trees,” or in modern-day parlance, as Ryan Seacrest says, “If no one hates you, then you’re not successful enough.”

INTERNAL. Women internalize far too much. Women are more likely to crumble, kvetch, and gripe about having received a negative appraisal or imperfect critique; whereas men tend to blow off the criticism as someone else’s problem. Whether criticism is positive or negative (and hopefully requested as opposed to unsolicited), you may place it into 1 of 3 buckets: valid, invalid, and irrelevant. Congressman (sic) Marsha Blackburn shares, “It can be very helpful to learn to process criticism (just) as you do your mail – sort it while hovering over the trash can: ‘Junk…junk…junk…hmmm, not sure, I’ll open that one and see…junk…’”

The internal variable appears to supersede the external variable…what I mean by this is, history is replete with examples of how women have achieved leadership success (i.e. self-confidence or assuredness in one’s ability), despite gender (i.e. socio-cultural barriers). In fact, there are currently 17 female world leaders in power as Presidents and Prime Ministers of their respective nations, as of January 15, 2013:


  1. Create a community within the organization (& outside) of mentors, role-models, networking groups. Find those who can help navigate through an organization and provide a support system.

  2. Identify your value contribution, your unique talents, what you bring to the work environment to best enable success.

  3. Make sure that your voice is heard. Speak up and speak out.

  4. Don’t wait for a promotion; when you’re ready, ask for more. You don’t ask, you don’t get!

  5. Expose girls to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM careers) subjects early on.


  1. Offer retention-focused benefits such as on-site childcare, maternity benefits, women’s networking groups, mentoring, and development.

  2. Ask women in the organization what they want and need from their employers. What do they value? For some, it may be the option of flexible work arrangements or job-sharing.

  3. Create a culture that appreciates Inclusion; not conformity to the male leadership model (see my blog Workplace Xenophobia).

  4. Take a hard stance on sexual harassment. One company paid its female executive for her lawsuit against one of the organization’s most senior executives, and the company continues to employ him, despite the dozens of witnesses to his harassment. The result? The talent left (which is one less woman to promote); and, what kind of message does that send to the remaining talent base? For an organization to be healthy and competitive, it is imperative that all levels of management be protected.

Susan Lucas-Conwell, Global Chief Executive Officer at Great Place to Work® shared, “Ultimately, an organization that genuinely cares about their women employees will keep their women. We have found that those companies that have active policies in place that ensure equal rights for women and have taken active steps to redress that imbalance, are most successful.”

The question “Can Women Have It All?” is immanently sexist. How the workplace enables us all (men, women, Baby Boomer, Gen Y, etc) to have it all, however we define it, will be the hallmark of a great place to work; a workplace where attrition will be low.

Women, the time is nigh!  Veni, vidi, vici, Baby.

Thank you.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.

Copyright 2013


Marsha Blackburn, Life Equity, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson), 2008.


Workplace Xenophobia


In my last blog, Give Us Strategy!, I mentioned how a true, robust culture is the essential ingredient that must be in place prior to developing a successful strategy.  Well, another aspect of a sound organizational culture is to promote healthy conflict.  This means that the corporate egos  must be secure enough to handle challenges, inquiries, and push-back/dissent to the proposed strategies, and this is possible when Cognitive Diversity is allowed.  People playing roles, in a resulting inauthentic culture of conformity is doomed to fail.

History continuously validates the notion that removing the individuality of people ultimately causes a culture to fail.  Putting pressure on people to conform is the equivalent of extinguishing the fire of genius.  How, then, can true cultures execute successful strategies?  Foot Soldiers and “Yes-Men” are not leaders.  It is simple Economics that when everything is the same, and “commoditized”, the value plummets.  The market pays more for what is unique and in short supply.  What is the strategy behind reducing top talent “diamonds” into common “coal”?  Diversity produces collective benefits.  This idea isn’t new.  Plato said this two millenia ago.  For example, Bletchley Park (WW1) was hardly a rainbow gathering, though they were cognitively diverse.  A corporate example would be Procter & Gamble…they found that problems are far more likely to be solved w/ physical chemist, molecular biologist, and a biophysicist than only chemists. Additionally, Scott Page’s Diversity Trumps Homogeneity Theorem essentially states that groups that display a range of perspectives (“predictive models” or THOUGHTS) outperform groups of like-minded experts because a person’s ability to contribute improves if s/he can see a problem in multiple ways and if s/he can apply diverse approaches (“heuristics” or ACTIONS).

Former President John F. Kennedy said, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom, and the enemy of growth.”  Yet, I’ve met privately with one Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) who described that if people were not “on board,” they should start looking for employment elsewhere.  While there is something to be said for solidarity, alignment, and not having a “house divided,” his argument was based on how conformity of thought, style, and behavior is key.  In fact, he saw no reason to support Diversity and Inclusion initiatives – despite having a 75+% female talent base with an all-White male C-Suite and investigations made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  He further emphasized, “This (company) is NOT a nurturing environment.”  Au contraire, mon ami.

The “War for Talent” requires that a CHRO promotes and supports a nurturing environment, if part of the corporate strategy includes pleasing the stockholders and low attrition.  Furthermore, a nurturing environment is conducive to meeting the needs of the marketplace…again, simple Economics and ancient Greek philosophy, i.e. “Know thy audience,” dictate that listening intently to the needs of the consumer and meeting/supplying them is a form of commerce that is nurturing.  So must that treatment also be directed inwards.  And, it just makes painstaking common sense that if you take a hard look at the data.  For example, Catalyst reports that Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentages of women officers experienced an average 35.1 percent higher return on equity and 34 percent higher total return to shareholders than those with low percentages of women corporate officers.


  1. Promote talented women into the C-Suite.
  2. Have your  talent base be reflective of your consumer demographics (i.e. “Identity Representation”).
  3. Have an Organizational Development practitioner perform a cultural analysis on your organizational culture.  S/He can assist with the co-development of an organizational matrix, which is cross-functional.
  4. Incorporate Inclusion into the Leadership Development workshops.
  5. Create age diversity to improve collective performance.

Don’t sacrifice ability for diversity…Just balance it.

Thank you.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.


Address to the United Nations, 25 September 1961,

Scott Page, The Difference (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2007).

Give Us Strategy! (Or Give Us Corporate Death!)


A lot of companies demand a strategy, and this action is metaphorically like placing the cart before the horse.  Culture is the strategy.  Therefore, it is more advisable to focus on the organizational culture prior to focusing on the customer and/or the product.  The organization is the product.  The organization is a collected group of people.  This is why there must be unequivocal emphasis placed on the culture before the strategy can be formulated.

It is for this reason that my Claremont Graduate University professor, the late Peter Drucker, said so long ago, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!”  Many professionals don’t understand this, including a Chief Marketing Officer who wrote about this topic in one of his blogs.  Those confused argue against Drucker’s statement and how “culture trumps strategy” and further pontificate that strategy must be aligned with culture.  Idealistically, yes.  Realistically, not so much…What happens is that networking leads to positions (most especially at the C-Suite level), and it is typically top-leaders who create the “reward band” (i.e. determining who gets promoted), and that is usually how the tone is set of unwritten rules of behavior.  Those behavioral expectations set into motion a shift into what becomes the organizational culture.

Successful organizations have a visceral, palpable culture which permeates all managerial levels (i.e. Inclusion); otherwise, there can be a no definable, sure-fire strategy.  They will probably have a number of full-time recruiters working in-house to attract top talent, but they will certainly not be able to retain their talent– either by resignation or fiscal failure.  The key is having the leaders set the example and that begins by addressing the drivers (see my blog on “How Fear Interferes in the Workplace”).

Allow me to provide some concrete examples that differentiate culture from strategy.  First, what is culture?  Culture is a set of beliefs, behaviors, and values performed by a collected group of individuals.  This parallels my blogs on Thoughts, Actions, and Emotions (not to mention Jim Rohn’s Philosophy, Action, and Attitude).  Second, what is strategy?  Strategy is a plan of action designed to reach a particular goal. 

MILITARY EXAMPLE.  The strategy for the military would be their military plan, which entails which resources to procure, which techniques/commands for soldiers to employ, etc.  The military culture is tough and committed to team loyalty.  If the military attracts soldiers per their culture, then their strategy would work.  If they recruit those who start but don’t finish, who crumble easily, and who are highly individualistic without regard for a soldier left behind, then the strategy would not work.

BEST PRACTICE CORPORATE EXAMPLESouthwest Airlines was founded by flamboyant Herb Kelleher.  Their strategy is a business plan which entails how to keep their planes in the air, filled with passengers, and easy for mechanics to maintain.  Their culture is casual/informal (e.g. shorts, funny songs, jokes, and bags of peanuts thrown down the aisles), egalitarian (e.g. male and Baby Boomer flight attendants, pilots are not superior to cabin staff), and cost-focused (e.g. only one style of plane, no meals).  Their recruitment begins with observing the prospective employee or candidate-for-hire as they board the plane heading for the interview.  If the candidate fits the culture, then s/he, unknowingly, makes it through the first round.  If Southwest Airlines were to recruit those who are stoic, formal, and hierarchical, then the strategy would not work.  Why?  Because it’s too far of a cultural stretch for the new employees to unlearn their natural and conditioned behavior.

FAILED CORPORATE EXAMPLE.  Most companies choose to state as a “strategy” that they are to be the “best” at their product/service.  Without stating specifically and concretely WHAT that looks like, HOW it is measured, WHICH action steps are to be taken, “to be the best” is simply empty rhetoric.  Their “culture” is false propaganda aimed as a lame attempt to market the organization as an industry leader and/or to attract top talent.  For example, the culture could proclaim to be “family, health, and innovative.”  Reality may be that the “family” includes scores of “Cinderellas” and ugly stepchildren, “health” is recognized for the favorites (i.e. emotional health and preferential treatment), and “innovative” is without measure (i.e. subjective).  This type of company lacks culture, and suffers from severe fragmentation and high attrition.


1. Employee Engagement Surveys serve no value if the objective is to aim for a higher score year after year.  Leaders who tout that they must achieve a higher score than the previous year will influence their subordinates to rate a high score and not answer according to perspective.  It becomes a ritualistic exercise in futility.

2. Hire a Leadership Development (LD) professional who has studied Organization Development.  One per every 300-400 employees is advisable.  S/He can conduct a cultural analysis, retain confidentiality for employees (i.e. no documentation of conversations), and develop teams.  Anthropologist Margaret Mead said all change is possible in small groups.

3.  C-Suite executives must have mandatory coaching.  This is to avoid corporate bullies who take on defensive/offensive controller behavior(s) of their respective division(s).  Either the coaching is performed by an external, in order to avoid repercussions (i.e. termination); or, an internal LD professional who has a contract, and thereby has the assurance to do his/her work without “cloak & dagger” consequences.

4. Provide quality Performance Management Reviews (PMRs).  This is a weakness pervasive across America.  Most especially at one recent client where the supervisor would proselytize to others to not “Make Stuff Up” but when it came to himself, his defense was that he was fairly intuitive and others had even told him so!  For these reasons, he believed he was entitled to make assumptions without inquiry.  It would behoove organizations to promote employees with zero direct report experience into supervisory roles, only after they have been thoroughly trained as to how to provide a quality PMR; otherwise, their feedback can be destructive/ineffective behavior that may tear at the fabric of the culture and increase attrition.  Using a Behavioral Science tool (e.g. Ntrinsx) should help those supervisors lacking supervisory experience &/or education.

Here are some tips for quality PMRs:

  1. Feedback has to always be first-hand observation; otherwise, the feedback is gossip and that is not a professional PMRs.  Leaders are not susceptible to hear-say.
  2. It must be non-accusatory and free from condemnation.  Separate the action from judging the person.  One supervisor took his direct report into a room to say how “embarrassed” he was of her.  While the emotion demonstrated is best kept honest, this incident was a reflection of his managerial inadequacies.  Supervisory feedback is intended to develop the direct report; it is not an allowance to use the direct report as a target or therapeutic outlet for one’s deficiencies.
  3. Effective feedback serves as an aid and includes specific actions which are effective, and also provides, as a contrast, specific behaviors that were observed to be ineffective.
  4. Look in the mirror.  This touches upon compassion.  Is the criticism provided also information that you can apply to yourself?  Or, are you applying a double-standard?  If so, you may merit some push back.
  5. Keep it confidential.  This “should” be a no-brainer; however, one supervisor with three direct reports, shared information supplied by one direct report about a second one to the third.  This is called “Triangulation,” in Psychology.
  6. Lastly, nothing should be in writing until Round 2 – this means that feedback must not be a “Surprise!  Gotcha!” event.  The direct report deserves the professional opportunity to rectify behavior prior to seeing it in black-&-white, ready to be filed away.  So, have the courage to have the conversation prior to PMRs to solidify your leadership relationship and abilities.

Be true to who you are, and the rest will follow.  Identity is destiny, or suffer the true corporate death.

Thank you.


Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, author, cultural analyst, coach, speaker, and facilitator.


Jody Hoffer Gittell, The Southwest Airlines Way, (New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2005).

Jim Rohn, Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, (Lake Dallas, TX: Jim Rohn Int’l, 1991).