S3: Ep. 83: Disrupting performative diversity and inclusion initiatives featuring Stefan Kollenber3

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By Keita Demming. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Stefan Kollenberg is a Co-Founder of Crescendo. Crescendo delivers tailored microlearning for every employee inside of Slack. In our conversation, we discuss a number of themes.
I really struggled to summarize this conversation but some of the things that stood out for me were:
Using existing platforms to deliver a novel solution.
Crescendo uses Slack to deliver micro-learning within organizations. I love this idea because it reminds me a past episode with Nick Scott, where he talked about trojan mice. Getting into large well secured spaces through tiny cracks instead of trying to get a trojan horse through the front gate. Their technology solution is so simple and leverages their other existing technology.
Personal Learning Journey’s
The ability to personalize learning is so important. When it comes to diversity, so many people are simply afraid to ask questions. Afraid to feel silly or look ignorant so they do not ask. In this platform, not only can people get customized learning journey’s they can do it over time. I am a big believer that change happens slowly, slowly and then suddenly. A long time frame of micro-learning versus one off workshops seems more lasting to me than what I have seen.
Be vulnerable with your journey
I admire Stefan’s willingness to talk about his struggles with addictions. It is important that we start to have these conversations in public. Stefan owns it and I admire that. He references something he calls radical ownership. In the conversation, I introduce two of my own favorite questions: How are you contributing to the problem? How are you contributing to the solution?
Avoiding unproductive Conflict
Like so many people Stefan has experienced toxic work cultures and has never wanted to go through that again. Part of his mission is to create spaces were people feel like they belong. Teams that are inclusive are a major part of the and his companies purpose is create more spaces were people belong.
Disruption Metaphor
Perhaps my favorite thing in this episode is Stefan’s metaphor for disruption. He describes disruption “like trying to change the current within a set of rapids. So you need to understand how the water flows and then set up interventions to create a path that is easier to take than the existing.” So simple, so visual and so great.
It is all in the narrative
Stefan referenced the work of Marshall Ganz from whom he learned a framework for storytelling. He describes it as follows:
•Start of first with a story of self. Answer the question, why me? Why do you care about the cause or the work you do? Why do you care about the people you seek to serve.
•Next follows the story of us. Why should we care about this issue as a group? How are we implicated? How would we benefit from solving the challenge or following the mission?
•Finally, why now? Why is this relevant to do right now?
In my own work we use a similar framework and I do like this some aspects of this framework.
I posted a video of Mashall Ganz I was able to find here: https://youtu.be/g7CW_10C7lQ

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