A truly hue-man conversation with Eric J. Henderson, Elizabeth Lembke, and Cordelia Gaffar

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Value through Vulnerability (boosted by HumansFirst) Host Garry Turner, Sponsored by Aequip

VtV Coalition

Truly Hue-man Conversations are a series meant to amplify the voices and learn from the teachings of individuals not from the dominant culture.

Elizabeth Lembke is Chief Talent Navigator at Transforming Talent, a globally and virtually active consultancy specializing in people and culture solutions.

She has 15+ years of experience in strategic and hands-on human resources, a background in work, pedagogical and cultural psychology, and is a certified Systemic coach.

Her work has been honored with multiple Innovation Awards, deemed a FranklinCovey benchmark, and led to the highest increase in Employee Engagement ever measured by Aon Hewitt.

Prior to her consultancy work, Elizabeth was Global Director of HR: Talent and Learning for BorgWarner, leading the talent charge for 7000 employees across 11 countries and through five major M&A integrations.

Cordelia Gaffar is the Emotions Opener Transformation Strategist guiding leaders to use their darkest and most difficult emotions to show up powerfully.

So far in 2020, Cordelia Gaffar has been inducted into the Global Library of Female Authors by Ona Miller and her own book related to her Replenish Me Process will be released later this year. She is also Best Podcast Host of 2019 and the ACHI magazine Volunteer of the Year and finalist for Top Influencer and Orator of the Year. She is best-selling co-author of America’s Leading Ladies: who positively impact the world with Oprah Winfrey and several dynamic women.

Eric J. Henderson integrates over 20 years experience in business, writing, and fine art photography. He has built brand and communications platforms for world-leading private and social sector firms including such entities as: GE Capital, Citigroup, The Aspen Institute (Socrates Society), The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (Markets For Good), fashion brand Krammer & Stout, Living Cities, Management Leadership for Tomorrow, and The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) Foundation – the charitable arm of the union of NBA players. He is editor and author of “Making Sense of Data and Information in the Social Sector,” a publication cited by the Federal Reserve Bank.

Garry Turner 0:00
Wherever we go, okay, she’s alive. Okay, so this is the rabbit hole.

Eric J. Henderson 0:06
I like that I like that happen in the rabbit hole. It’s not as dangerous when I saw the little girl fall in, she’s all running around being bossy and everything. I never saw the original movie. I just saw some reiteration of it recently.

Elizabeth Lembke 0:20
Well, you know, she couldn’t decide if she wanted to get bigger or if she wanted to get smaller, you know? Like, someone puts a little vial in front of your face that says eat me or drink me What are you gonna do?

We taught our girls better.

Eric J. Henderson 0:36
First time seeing that I was like, Man, what a disappointment. I expected pure mayhem when you fall in a rabbit hole, or a ride you know like it was that looks like me running around.

Elizabeth Lembke 0:51
Got to read the book. So Lewis Carroll. Yeah, that’s going to be the measurement like Disney. Did you do it as well the rabbit hole as was in the book.

Cordelia Gaffar 1:04
The book is kind of crazy, the kids actually got scared when I read it to them. They were like, Can we watch the movie? And I’m like, I don’t know if that’s any better.

Like that guy was straight tripping. He must have been on acid, for real, way. That was a

Elizabeth Lembke 1:23
girly thing,

right? Oh yeah,

Eric J. Henderson 1:27
that’s real.

Unknown Speaker 1:28
Yeah. Oh,

Unknown Speaker 1:31
yeah.

Elizabeth Lembke 1:33
Well for talking tripping then I would say the next level up is Fantasia like, even though as a kid I’m like, what in the world is going on? Like Cordelia said, we’re dating ourselves. So this is how you can watch on the retro channel.

Cordelia Gaffar 1:55
I watched Fantasia when I was a kid and I was like, please, I don’t want to see this. I can’t Yeah, it was just really, really, really dark.

Eric J. Henderson 2:05
I am ignorant on that one, Fantasia. I’m thinking the singer. I’m like, Yeah, she’s…

Elizabeth Lembke 2:12
Hilarious. I’m thinking of Haribo like Gummies.

Eric J. Henderson 2:20
Real

Okay, see like you call Dame Shirley one of the original belter.

Garry Turner 2:33
I’m so not wanting to record the conversation as much as never not wanted to record a conversation as much as I could keep going. It’s like this is this is priceless.

Cordelia Gaffar 2:44
But, you know, this is I mean, this is just us being us. And it’s totally fine that we don’t you know, where four people from, you know, four different backgrounds that can completely relate on the human level like through popular media. Right, yeah, and you know, Fantasia right is someone’s name and she What year did she win? I don’t know. Yeah, but was like probably 10 years ago now. Right. So she won What was the name of the show? Look?

I really watched that show. Anyway.

Eric J. Henderson 3:21
Um, what is your name? Eric?

Cordelia Gaffar 3:24
We didn’t call him me.

Eric J. Henderson 3:26
Give me the answer

Garry Turner 3:29
for an extra thousand dollars, what’s your surname?

Cordelia Gaffar 3:31
But this is the way they mass manipulate right? And they indoctrinate us through this media. Right? And these are things that are supposed to be for kids. And the funny thing about this is for like, some months, I was actually reading Dr. Seuss, and you know, that you’re supposed to do Facebook Lives and show your expertise. So I did I read Dr. Seuss stories, and I pulled out what it was teaching our kids and what we could still learn from those stories as adults, right? So like, let’s take Marco going down Mulberry Street. Right? So he went down Mulberry Street walking to school every day. And he was just like, man, I live in a small town. I see nothing, right. Let me just, you know, make it really nice.

But his dad was giving him a hard time for that and saying, Look, don’t come home with any crazy stories. And so, right. So what isn’t that there’s lesson number one right there. So he goes through the whole thing. And he’s like, he can’t control it. He’s a kid. You know, we’re born with big imaginations and vision and all those things, right? And so he came up with this fabulous story. And then he got to his house in his dad was like, so what did you see on Mulberry Street and he was like, Man pulling a wagon with a horse drawn wagon. Right? So what’s that’s lesson number? Well, that’s the moral of the story, right? So we get squashed. And, you know, put into this little box. And we can only say what’s accepted and expected, no matter how much we’re full inside and how much we want to share.

The

Unknown Speaker 5:23
Yep. And the questions that we ask that are also determinant of what people are willing to share, because it’s also going into that social space of what are they expecting of me? And if it’s too far out of that, do I feel like that’s something I can say, you know, and it’s, I think it’s interesting that you talk about Dr. Seuss. You know, I’m from Oregon. So like, the Lorax is literally a banned book, you know, and it’s really crazy. You know, you have a bunch of people who live off the timber industry, even though you know, it’s raping and pillaging, you know, our entire economy and their livelihood and poisoning. The water, etc, etc, I used to work with foresters there

Unknown Speaker 6:04
you know,

Elizabeth Lembke 6:06
exactly couldn’t tell.

So this whole piece about but it’s such a simple story, and it’s so very, very true. And it comes back to like that statement that they would say, you know, and that one song, you know, they raised down the forest and put up a parking lot and put the trees into a museum, you know, and so Dr. Seuss, I think is a really good one to say, how do you break it down to the what are those lessons and socialisation that we teach? And how do we kind of challenge those paradigms of you know, who we are and who we’re allowing ourselves to be? Or are we self editing? Because we we want to move along so strongly?

Cordelia Gaffar 6:45
Which brings me Well go ahead, Eric.

Eric J. Henderson 6:49
I am agreeing like, wow.

Cordelia Gaffar 6:52
Yeah. Cuz even Dr. Seuss has an answer for that. Like I I read the whole all of his works. McElligot’s Pool. So Marcos a little bit older, and he’s now fishing. And this farmer comes by and he’s like, no matter how long you sit there, you’ll never catch anything in McElligot’s Pool. And now this time Marco was like, I don’t believe the hype, you know, I’m going to tell you look, I might find, you know, different kinds of eels, different kind of seals and all these whale, fish and whatnot.

McElligots Pool

And he really sticks to his guns, you know, and he’s just like, you’re wrong. I’m right. And I know if I sit here for two or three hours, I’m gonna pull something out, right? So as much as we want to squash kids’ imagination and purpose and everything. They grow up and we’re all in this room. Unsquashed

Elizabeth Lembke 7:57
Yeah. Pulling away. From what was squashing us and understanding having the confidence to believe in our own competence.

Eric J. Henderson 8:07
And Garry this arc reminds me of, I think what I’ve seen in some of your posts, which is just storytelling, because cartoons have never been for kids. Bugs Bunny. Oh, how did things move? You said, Oh, we need storytelling. So let’s put that on the past, 10 years where it became an explicit thing. You can do all the policy you want to. I’m working with a few arts groups now, but it doesn’t. It will move something but not as much as the story. So Andrew Fletcher, Scottish politician says okay, in the 1800s you write the nation’s laws. I’ll write, the nation’s music.

I don’t care who writes his laws. Let me write the music.

We only move on to stories which is I wonder about Portland. Because I was talking to a group, Portland Moms, I see 15 of them standing in a police line, one is pregnant. And I spoke to her and I said well, how and she’s standing for women’s rights and so you when you want to enter a difficult conversation, I said now trust. I put all the markers up. There’s no snark here there’s no criticism. I say walk me from how we get to George Floyd on the ground in Minnesota to women’s rights and IED in Portland, just the fact that no, it’s all say that but a kid did throw a bomb. The women are fighting the police with a bit more freedom than I would be able to do that because you wouldn’t. People are like Why are there no black people there? like the

Elizabeth Lembke 9:53
Did you see the video? I’m from Portland, you know.

Eric J. Henderson 9:59
You’re even the one black person there.

You should not get the police. We know how that works out. Yeah. Yeah. I just wanted a rational discussion on Show me how you get there. And the answer came back. Well, you’re intelligent enough to know I think that you know, x about black people. I said, Well, let’s not talk about my intelligence, I’m not happy with it either. But just show me how you got there. Now. I just think beyond all the race stuff we have. What we lack is the interlocutors. Yep. If you have a position so strong that emotion doesn’t lead. I’ve never heard anybody arguing over two plus two is four guy walks in the room. Two inches four. Or they say your president is a clown. The clown says 2 and 2 is 4, you have to say Donny clown, you got a point.

Elizabeth Lembke 10:53
I’m just gonna be quiet here because I actually had that exact argument when when doing Stephen Covey’s You know, because when they’re talking about synergy, they’re talking about two and two can equal something else. And our president was an engineer, and he was so not having it completely derailed the entire programme. You know, my God is is this be somewhat liberal, but I think you are absolutely right when we’re talking about how are we standing up for rights and not taking, you know, this is the wrong word, but bastardising a movement to fit other movements to say this movement is valid and so important on its own.

Why are we morphing it or, you know, if we are morphing it to say this is a broader we’re talking about humanity’s rights and the disenfranchisement and how important it is to see one another and to not have federal policemen kidnapping people and throwing them into cars, or vans to go to whereabouts unknown. It becomes very confusing and I think that it is a strange element of this kind of very intolerant approach. I mean to question your intelligence is just, it’s terrible.

Just straight off terrible to say this, this weird kind of where in a tolerant worldview of our mind, but actually extremely intolerant to say how are we even just kind of floating those ideas to say, how are we actually connecting it so that it makes sense? because like you said, maybe it does. You’re just having the conversation, you know, and, and that’s where we have to be able to explore in instead of feeling threatened or, you know, back to your point around that defensive position. To say, how are we standing up for humanity, but not negating the real reason why I’m doing it and how horrible it was with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and I, you know, and it’s so important to say, you know, this conversation about systemic racism has been such a long time coming. And it’s so important.

And I think, by the fact that we were all in the pandemic at home, I think maybe it got more coverage and momentum that it’s so desperately needed. It’s a horrible thing to say. But you know, in terms of the breadth of humanity, saying what in the world you know, there were protests here in Chicago, you know, and I mean, Black Lives Matter is so important and to say, this movement has been carrying the world, it went way beyond then what perhaps, their original transgression was, and I think, you know, Blackout Tuesday was important. A lot of people around the world educated themselves more and more. So it’s like, how can we tap into those things that are so important to say, just because you didn’t know, doesn’t mean that you cannot become more aware. Right?

Eric J. Henderson 13:53
That’s it.

Garry Turner 13:56
If I say love what you say what love what you spoke to though, as well, and I’m No, I can be guilty as well. Jumping to an assumption with our brain that goes for the shortest distance between where we are and what we want to believe. But what I’ve really learned the last sort of couple of months is that the ability to hold opposing views in each of your own hands and stare at both and go, What am I thinking and sensing around them? Like, that’s hard. But it’s the work. It’s not to jump on either side and No, you’re right, you’re wrong. It’s just like, exploration. Like how, why am I thinking and feeling that… and that because it’s always a paradox. Yeah. It is. It’s like,

Cordelia Gaffar 14:42
okay, it was like I was and the friendship bench. I think it was called racial. The racial divide. Where do we go from here? So in that conversation, we were in like 45 minute breakout rooms. And a guy brought up this argument that I hate to hear, about our reptilian brain, right? And then some other woman was talking about you never heard that one, hmm. So then the woman was talking about something spiritual, right? So that the argument is always that we’re in fight or flight, and that comes back from when we were cavemen, and that’s our reptilian brain, whatever. And that’s what drives us. However, there are female scientists who have actually done in recent research in the 21st century, and written a whole book about the molecules of emotions, which says that the human brain actually is driven by bliss, which is in our frontal cortex.

So it’s not fear that drives human beings, it’s bliss and love that drives human beings. Again, back to my point about the abundance economy. And so I even so in that moment, when I was trying to make my point about the part of the brain that we should be focusing on, I said, you know, I’m actually a little bit split here because I could also go the side of the Divine Feminine being ignored, right? And I said, but let’s not get too woowoo. Because really in the real world, we need to have our masculine and feminine energies aligned. And that’s where the real issue is, which just takes us back to the way all humans are created. And that’s with the bliss running the show.

Eric J. Henderson 16:19
It doesn’t need to be a woowoo lasso. Because once you get to the metaphysical, I believe that our tendency is to use it as a cop out, meaning it may well be true about this molecule in my brain or whatever. But for all we know about the physical and the daily, it’s practically metaphysical. Like, having a basic discussion is itself metaphysical in terms of our distance from it. Before we even get to like, what’s causing this and the other, no, think of it even as looking at just a chair or something when someone tells you, you’re looking at more empty space right now than you are things, just because of the composition of atoms and whatever then okay that’s the physical being absolutely metaphysical, you know people look at me and say I see more empty space. I’ve heard that before.

I don’t know how to take that but I totally believe it we just got the in it’s affecting the foundations of how we deal as humans. I’m on to the Financial Times on a regular basis, not because I visited London one time and now say the word I’ve been on holiday, no you were on vacation. Once one week, it was vacation my friends come back here in New York. Where were you? I was on holiday. No, you weren’t.

Elizabeth Lembke 17:42
Were you on Christmas? Were you on holiday?

Eric J. Henderson 17:55
Never been gobsmacked.

Unknown Speaker 17:57
What, you were in the UK

Eric J. Henderson 17:59
Yeah, you’re not you’re just not knackered,

But I look at how it’s affected the foundations. And so I picked this paper up because it looks like it’s not a commercial. It’s been so hard for media not to fall down the rabbit hole. So all of our American media, they’ve had to choose sides even more than they chose sides before. A case in point no matter what you believe, when you see the word fact check, would be what does that mean?

Cordelia Gaffar 18:30
They probably were interviewing Trump and they knew

Elizabeth Lembke 18:34
Exactly then then they had to go to Mother Jones or Trevor Noah.

Eric J. Henderson 18:39
And so look at this now the word factcheck automatically means somebody’s lying.

Elizabeth Lembke 18:45
Well, I wouldn’t

Eric J. Henderson 18:46
You’re 180 degrees away from fact check to conclusion.

Elizabeth Lembke 18:53
And so or, and also be the piece of what was our expectation of journalism. So I think this is you know, in terms of yellow journalism back to you know, when you’re in UK because that’s of course where it originated.

But it is that piece of what are those expectations around what is good journalism, I mean, the times of Walter Cronkite, etc, where we felt like we could trust you know more in terms of what what the news outlets were. I know Murdoch and co, there there has, you know, news has become entertainment, which has also led to unfortunately, the situation where it is that challenge to say how are we checking the facts, we aren’t just immediately tweeting what we believe to be true or could be true.

These half sentences, it all of a sudden put into the world and even if it wasn’t the intention, it wasn’t even an opinion in terms of how I think it could have been construed, all of a sudden so quickly, it’s out there so that the topic of fact check is for people’s perhaps for their own protection as to you know, how is this really actually meant to you know, like, Okay, what were the researchers were, you know, what’s the molecules? What is it? What was there? Exactly? What’s the methodology? You know, would this have been in classs, in eighth grade class? Or would you have not, you know, like plagiarism or not even doing simple checks.

Eric J. Henderson 20:26
And that’s how serious it is because we can absolutely be a bit like that. But this is not eighth grade class. These are major newspapers and I said, well, have more credibility is no matter who’s up and I’m not talking Trump, even though that’s the consequence of our time. Whenever we thought people think here is a proxy for Trump. I say well put anyone there once we tear the tread off the word factcheck. You know, how long is it going to take us to recover that when we really want to do a hack check. It can be at your board gear you can just use You’re not important yet, maybe we you start getting closer to methodology. There was one poll called the USC Dornsife poll out of USC, the Department of redundancy department.

They’re the one poll that predicted a Trump victory. They did it on the basis of intensity of voters, intentions, something that wasn’t measured in other polls. And they’re the only survey that freed up all of the data. It was open data available to everyone. So the data and the methodology are there. Do you know these scientists, another word that’s lost cultural science, follow the science. Well, the first iteration of evolution was I came from a fraud and it was marketing like what science Do you want me to follow?

And so the USC Dornsife Poll published that it looks like he’s gonna win this and they got major sheet from scientists as well. And all they can do is say no, but that’s fine. That’s the data right there. That’s this is how we did it. Let’s back up to our first point here. You just need some reasonable interlocutors to say, well, either you miss something or we’ll go with that just disappointed. No. But you can look at when they give you the whole peanut butter sandwich and not say that there’s not peanut butter here, jelly here and white bread. Like you tell me what’s different? Yeah.

Elizabeth Lembke 22:31
But I think that’s one of the biggest problems is this professional culture clash around, you know, we don’t you know, what is the Oracle method the Oracle method is you have a mixture of different people with different backgrounds, you know, doing extreme teaming around some particular subject, their professional expertise is outside, you know, is diverse. It’s from all different areas. Exactly. To avoid that, that those kind of blinders that we could in, you know, I’m a psychology, therefore, I don’t like any psychiatrists, you know, there’s these these weird kind of, you know, here, I’m in this in group and therefore, that other group doesn’t have the same validity in terms of what they’re saying.

And there becomes a real barrier, in my opinion to looking at what we have as the methodology as to how did we get the data? And what are the conclusions that we’re drawing from this data and using a qualitative method and have and order it to to say how could we take this same thing and look at it through a different perspective and different lens and how can that actually help us gain further insight?

Eric J. Henderson 23:39
Didn’t your field also like there at the beginning of the election, you had people offering opinions and there was a big split. They say, Well, unless this person is in my care, and we’re sharing private information, I can’t reach out and make public diagnoses. These also appeared even editorials in your school. Well, we’re so far down to it. Here’s the professional ethics but I’m going to make an exception in this case, I’m not saying you can’t make an exception, but you have to realise Okay, where are you going with this now that the next group that may not agree with you deploys the same methods.

And so I’m totally freed up I love that. I love that Trump was elected and people say what I said no, no, no, because it frees me from talking about politics. Because everybody’s everybody’s plainly in the rabbit hole. The whole time saying, yep, I hear the anger. I feel the fire. I feel it. So I’m just wondering is two and two four. They’re like, harass it Yeah. To to that for yet. It four equals two plus, when we finally get down to discussion, and that in go back to the beginning, it would be my fault if I talked to the Portland mom. She starts off with insult to my intelligence if I were to take off right from there, back to number one Defeat mount point. Yeah, trying to have a discussion. But to me, we just lose everything. Yeah, so I’m quite serious. I don’t deal in people’s politics because it’s been about 10 out of 10, where the emotion is the main thing we’re doing

Elizabeth Lembke 25:16
well, and I think it’s that’s that piece of rigid response of threat, I think we can ignore that, I think, where and that’s why, you know, when we look at stages of grief, how do you, you know, go through them before you can actually get to that point of acceptance and say, Okay, and then how do we go from a state situation to an action oriented that we can actually do something with it and, and emotions need motions and the rigid response are, are the things that are helping us because like Cordelia said, you know, here when we go into when we’re in that state of flow, when we’re in that creativity, when we are having fun and bouncing off each other’s ideas, when we’re constructively collaborating, that’s when the best innovation happens. That’s what we’re trying to get at when we’re looking at good teams, but when people are worried about how am I protecting, you know, how am I exposing my, my opinions, etc? Or censored?

Or will Is this a brave psychological space for me to be in it, it is really about that, that element of do I feel like my voice has a place where I feel like I can say, I believe I can fish in this pond and I’m going to get something out of that even if you tell me I can’t. And that’s a huge leap in security and confidence in your own abilities to be able to do that. And I think with this kind of attack culture, I think the cancel culture is not helping at all. It’s this this, this weird kind of intolerance for any sort of perceived intolerance to say how are we actually moving, accepting the fear based reactions? And then like, like you said, going towards the bliss what, how can we co create how can we envision a better future? We created what has been but that but we can also create what will be? And how can we reimagine a better future together and go into that space. That’s where the power happens. That’s where the fun happens. That’s where the metaphysical pieces of thriving not only just surviving, that’s where the fun is.

Cordelia Gaffar 27:23
And that’s why, you know, since we haven’t been really taught that coping mechanism and how to deal with our emotions, that’s when that conversation has to happen between your inner and outer self. So to bring Dr. Seuss back again, love it, love it, love it. Sam I am is the same person. Right? And green eggs and ham. It’s his outer self talking to his inner self. Remember, there’s this like Sam I am so happy and nice. I call you know, you got to do this. Can you do with the mouse Can you do it and how house with you know, and so but when we grow up, we’re all grumpy and we’re no and rigid, right? But your inner self is still is still, that’s that small voice that little kid, right?

And so if we allow that conversation to happen and just try the green eggs and ham, what happened to guy I am at the end he was like, Oh yes, I love Green Eggs and Ham I’ll have them with a fox in a box on a train on a plane and all the places and in fact he wants to give it to everybody. Right? So we have to look at ourselves. It is you know, that introspective like, in the moment that filter has got to be is this even true? Right? Do I believe that? Do I believe the hype? Do I believe what’s been expected and accepted of myself my entire life and now what’s generally expected and accepted and is there a cost to grieve or zero cause to celebrate life. Thank god Finally I can say, look, I just think this whole thing is stupid.

Elizabeth Lembke 29:08
Yeah, exactly. Why are we still doing it?

Garry Turner 29:14
I’m checking your box there. That box is well and truly checked Cordelia. Yeah, just think what’s really interesting about this lovely hearing on air. You will explain that the truth bit. Because I think what’s interesting is, there is no objective truth. Like we’ve all got a personal perspective. We’ve all got an opinion. We’ve all got an experience. But is there actually a truth? There’s no one objective truth. There’s just fragments of experience, I would have thought. So is it not important to understand what what another version of Truth is, so that we can actually heal? Because as long as we think our version of truth is the truth, we sort of we can be shut down to understanding or listening to what other people’s experiences I don’t know if that makes any sense at all. Or if you challenge that After that, that’s what came up to me. We’re talking about truth. It’s really intriguing.

Eric J. Henderson 30:03
It doesn’t make sense and exactly, because in this discipline dispensation of just being plain old humans, I don’t have the truth. But I do believe there’s an objective truth the same way I don’t own the two and two is four. But that truth you’re talking about it resides outside of us. And so all opinions are not equal, or truth and so that that by that rationale, you should just engage in debate, because the only thing if the debate is reasonable, then eventually there will be a clear pointing to truth. And the problem we have is when one person who owns the reason that points to it then tries to claim the truth as his or her own.

Well, it didn’t belong to you in the first place. And I appreciate your point Liz before with actually slowing down and challenging these things. I practice this just the other the other month as if that today, I spoke to a landlord and I said, Well, since you don’t like black people and his eyes got big, I said, No, no, no, I’m, I’m really not being funny. I’m not even mad at you. But I heard you when you said, You know, I want to meet a low motivation aggro, no one to look nervous, but I can’t stand even the smell in more black people. And so, but no, it’s just, you know, you can detach yourself, trust me, I don’t, you know, you live you don’t detach when people know, Mark you in any particular way. But if he wants to own that we want to have discussion and you’re not really surprised if it’s really what you believe. You should be able to stand flat footed and say, Yeah, I really don’t. You heard correctly now, but he didn’t and he just like got quiet.

And so that’s when you know, the emotion is a form of avoiding too because people throw the word I hate the word racism. Because it’s another one that’s lost tread. When people are speaking on behalf of others that are racist, so well. Racist would be someone who could stand there look us squarely in the face and say yes, because you’re from Bournemouth. And you look when do you look exactly like you do. I’m aware of the striped shirt. And I hate that. I hate you in it. I hate everything that they Chappelle. Hate all the trees behind you. I hate and I’m fully cutting that takes a real with that person that they do exist. We call them psychopaths in a way because there is the objective truth of humanity. But it’s not that it’s not conscious. Well thought. I mean, those are the guys that write manifestos. And so you, you want

Elizabeth Lembke 32:49
to enjoy ones but

Eric J. Henderson 32:53
you want to engage carefully into a real one. So I see everyone just casually throwing away around, they haven’t felt that. And someone’s not the word. There’s a football coach here who just use the word academically. And in his team meeting at Texas Christian University, you know, major American football team. And the whole team walked out a meeting, they said, but he didn’t call anyone that. He just used the word with the hard capital R on the end of it.

And so it throws people and now I think we should, we should get rid of these words, you should be able to use context for you. That’s one thing but she’s also use judgement. Peter, and I said, Well, you can’t fire the man. He’s not a racist. That’s it what the university chose to do. So they would press B right and doing that even though he did not insult directly because I take your defensive back the guy I’m charged with covering a wide receiver. I slip and fall in a wind field, my guys was a touchdown, or I totally blow my courage I forget what I’m supposed to do my god scores a touchdown. The end result is the same university is just had a touchdown scored against it because of you.

And so the consequence can’t be mitigated. Not with an apology, you just have to go say, okay, he slipped on this play. Let me look at his record, let me look at his person and say, Okay, we’ll keep him on. Keep him on the team. I don’t know what should happen to that particular coach. But yeah, that word came out let’s everybody calm down and and go ahead and coach you have the floor.

You know, keep keep talking.

Elizabeth Lembke 34:41
To that point, for me, it also is this piece of, you know, how are we having actually respectful conversations to be able to say, Hey, you know, I overheard this, you know, are how are we going to deal with this? This is this is an issue, you know, and to say, how are we having respectful conversations? I think it’s very hard to have conversations where it is about the actual thing that people are saying. I think people right now on the one hand have become so horrid, just absolutely horrible and in their freedom to be absolutely despicable towards other people in terms of complete disrespect.

And then on the other hand, if you are, you know, positively liberal, you get, you know, I’ll just put it like that you get threatened with your job if you this is just very close to home because when my sister got in trouble with her job because she was, you know, during pride month she posted something, and the very conservative board member basically called into question if she should be able to have her job and it says For me, it’s absolutely strange that we go oftentimes with these models, every child every day, every future, but we don’t understand what that means. That means everybody that means how are we having respect for all the children, all the different nuances that we have? And we as educators, we have to be there for them.

Because these are this is the plurality that is the beauty within our, our world. And if we’re not having real conversations and calling out that, hey, he’s saying that you hate all people of a particular race. I mean, I get it differently. But I do understand, you know, in terms of you know, right now, I’m in Germany being lumped together with all the horrible Americans, I’m having to defend what it is to be an American. Is it easy? No, but do I understand where it’s coming from? Yeah. Do I go into conversations if the person’s respectful and actually wanting to understand a different perspective? 100% because if we don’t entertain I hate that word. But if we don’t go into the real, respectful conversations, how’s the other person supposed to help grow? When you get in there?

Eric J. Henderson 37:07
Yeah. When you how do you get in there in your conversations with people that are deep? Because I know there is emotional and and like a judgmental? Like you said the answer, but how do you how have you brought people into that? closer?

Elizabeth Lembke 37:20
So I show the plurality that they have in their own, you know, I go into the plurality that they have in their own town and their own classroom in terms of just like, okay, or their own family. It’s like, okay, who has this political view in your family? Who is the other one? Do you guys still get together for Thanksgiving? You know, and how do you deal with that to say, hey, that’s, that’s part of the web we weave as different people, we’re allowed to have different opinions for sure. But absolutely negating someone’s being or justification for them being a human. That’s just hard. You know, and, and that’s just not you know, that’s, that is I don’t know, it’s My rights are going to be taken away by something else. So I need someone to blame rather than dealing with my own inner fear as to why do I feel a perceived threat for something that really isn’t there.

Cordelia Gaffar 38:13
So this is the deal with institutionalised racism, right? So the teachers that can’t teach the black kids in the class, it is their fault, right? Because it is actually been written into the laws for years, right or years. And so they they can, you know, while they have plastered on the wall, you know, leave no child behind. Right? Well, except for the black one, because the laws in America never apply to black people because we were never people, even though which amendment was it? Was it the 15th amendment said that we were actual people well, right. So it took three amendments to Allow us to allow the men the black men.

Right. So like the black men could vote and the black men could have land. But they, but there’s a big but, unless they committed a crime. And therein lies the institutionalised part of racism. You are because they they have this whole media campaign that that basically defames black men, right? So black men are criminals. And we’re going to prove it in all the different ways that a human being can be criminalised. And we’re going to just slide that under the radar. It’s going to be in our movies, it’s going to be in the songs, it’s going to be in the cartoons, right.

And all the things that we’ve been we started this conversation talking about, and, you know, even the fact that I was in this conversation last week, talking about the racial divide, and we started the conversation and I was like, Yeah, I was the black person in the room. And they’re these two white men that were maybe a generation or two ahead of me. And they were like hamana hamana hamana. Like, how do we start this conversation with one of the N—- in the room? You know what I mean? So, no, he didn’t say that, but I know.

Elizabeth Lembke 40:22
Exactly good. You like,

flat in the eyes. You know what that looks like? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So,

Cordelia Gaffar 40:31
But eventually, when I was deemed as an okay, black person, right, because I have a friend who’s black, and they’re not like that. Let’s see if we, if we can warm up to her and see if she’s alright. Because she has one of those rags on her head too, you know? So, but when they saw Oh, you know, she talks us like us. She walks like us, and she says cool things that we say. This is gonna be all right. Yeah, and then he pulled out that lizard brain shit and I’m still my friend. I was like, we’re not going there, don’t bring it back. This is like some 120 year old, like.

Elizabeth Lembke 41:15
Yep. Yeah. So no.

Eric J. Henderson 41:19
There are ways you pull people off the ledge and Liz, the way I mean, don’t get me wrong Cordelia, sometimes it does come straight to the chest when I just have to say that I’ll make light or sport or wargames doing this. But when they have the chance to talk to people. In Germany, for example, when you show them the plurality, I might ask, Well, how does Germany know it’s only as old as a wall coming down? The United States is 56 years old. If you define democracy by everyone having full access to the franchise, Spain is as old as well. 1985 Franco and so And and in Germany, I might say, oh, tell me about all those Turkish cabinet ministers or in France and my friend said you guys have such racism in the United States? I say, yeah, and all those Algerian born, you know,

Elizabeth Lembke 42:13
he says in group versus out group, and which one do you ostracise? Yeah.

Eric J. Henderson 42:17
And we get straight to that. important

that the assumptions and look what they all have in common. Just picture an axis with conflict here. distance here. If I have a drone that can do damage, or people just type and do all kind of damage, if I’m standing face to face, there are many less fistfights. And so what is the internet gives us It gives us pure distance and so people just couldn’t. There’s no couldn’t I hear conversations. I sit in a cigar shop. I’d be out there right now smoking, but the conversations are much more respectful when the guy sits right in front of you. Even heated but still respectful.

They don’t cross the line they cross. And so I always think about that with any media in any communication. There’s a direct function of distance and conflict. Yeah. So down to the language, I say, Okay, let me just get closer, I’m gonna let you get your emotion out to into this for that. Sorry about that. keep getting it out. I’m gonna keep getting close. At some point, you’re going to calm down, you know? So I try to reconcile it that way.

Elizabeth Lembke 43:26
Yeah, it’s it’s interesting that you’d say that Heineken a couple of years ago, they tried to take completely polar opposite groups, and individuals, and then they would be given a task, they would meet up, they didn’t know that the other person had a completely different opinion about, you know, I don’t know gay rights, etc. So they tried to take really extreme opinions. And then they would come together and they would be given a task, they had to build a bar and once they built a bar together, then they can share a beer together.

So it takes him like about two, two hours to three hours to build this bar. And during that time there would be rapport building, etc. And so it would and then it was then this social experiment to say, Okay, how did this work out? And then they would at the very end expose that they had two completely opposing views and how can they reconcile, become rock, camaraderie and the sharing of beer together? And how can that that be symbolic of sitting down breaking bread and having real conversations rather than being so divisive about one particular aspect and say, hey, how can we actually move forward by actually trying to understand the other person’s point of view?

Eric J. Henderson 44:39
And their proximity is everything you remind me about a book I found Crawling the 12th Netherworld in the stacks at Texas A&M, by Lewis Jablonski? He was a premier researcher on gangs about 40 years ago, I believe, and I didn’t read the book. Let me not play smart, but I turned to one page that jumped out He, and he’s not making theory. He studied gangs in Chicago and he said, there are very few prejudices that survive close that this survived the crucible. close contact. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 45:15
yeah. That

Unknown Speaker 45:17
contact that scene and part of it. Yeah.

Garry Turner 45:22
So this is so cool. Like I’ve done Oh, this is brilliant. Like you’ve just designed a whole new format for these challenges. Right? I’ll tell you. It’s brilliant.

Elizabeth Lembke 45:32
It’s co creation.

Garry Turner 45:35
Yeah, yeah. But you know what, I’m loving it. But the common theme for me though, is that food is exploration is that I love this thing about proximity. Eric, I think that’s really powerful because people talk about being in the arena, you know, having the difficult conversations. Like, you really can’t do that. Well, unless you are close in proximity. Like, that’s really coming up powerfully for me actually. How can you have really meaningful, difficult, challenging, but productive conversations. If you’re so far apart, like that’s really coming up strongly with me. It’s brilliant.

Eric J. Henderson 46:09
I know my mind thinks analogies, but we make it easy for me. The most violent sport people think, you know, UFC fighting, anything goes and even boxing. There’s intense disagreement, but they’re right there. There are rules, they engage on principle, nobody quits. Nobody starts calling names, your that we have examples of that proximity and being able to work something out. You know, even even when it has to come to that and then look at when they even when they leave the ring. You know, most of them don’t leave as enemies and even fighting they can’t get emotional because it takes the skill out of your game.

Elizabeth Lembke 46:57
Now and it’s perfect for us. Respect for the person that you’re fighting against. It’s interesting. So, yeah, exactly when I was doing I did my thesis in Brazil on, you know, it was a Brazilian German work team, we were trying to establish a technology transfer in Brazil and what really the first thing I noticed is like, you could never talk about business, you could never talk about anything, until I figured out where we were close.

You know, were we interested in the same sports team? Did you know Did our parents come from the similar region there was, you know, until we found something like you there was no way there was no way you could go into a business discussion. And it was this piece of we have to create warmth and connection before we can actually go into that other space because that other space is not as important as me connecting with you as a human being first, and it’s

finding that proximity

Eric J. Henderson 47:55
that’s why I love Marina Silva.

She was able to connect through the racism. She didn’t pay to speak it. She just spoke it plainly got 20 million votes the first time she ran almost did their thing. But even their ideas on sustainability is like, no, not let’s not just plant a green tree. And we’re talking finance, education, housing, whatever. There has to be this thing running throughout. I’ve got to get close to every single department for this thing to work as a goal. I’m not the green tree lady. That’s her. I haven’t heard anyone bringing sustainability at that level with such clarity as well. There Saskia Sassen at Columbia, who speaks of you have to read dead, dead land and dead dead water as opposed to climate change by Marina Silva.

And then she connects in that that way and I’ll leave it right here because I can go on forever about her she talks about growing up illiterate until 16 years old, no food one day her parents, they come to find out Something for the kids to eat. And so you know the deal they put the food on the table. The kids eat and she says we’ll say it’s no bunco man and the parents say no is no stomach come for me. Mommy daddy Aren’t you gonna eat? No babe we’re not hungry. That strength yeah is that connects job you’ve got brought her so close the people on black, white and whatever they realise I get it now.

Now I’m a PhD I do this but it’s not so hard for people to navigate that space between being intellectual and coming from broken, whatever. It’s always a real especially in the United States. They put it up as some kind of dichotomy look where he came from. I’m like, boy, I left Texas speaking three languages with people who never travelled. Mm hmm. Go to cheap Texas and my grandmother would say, well, we travel with books. There are these books have languages in them. Yeah, leave Texas. They don’t know. You’re the they look down and see if I have shoes on when I say I’m from Texas still. You can see in the meeting they go, Oh, Eric, it’s your turn. Yeah.

You just mess up meetings.

Elizabeth Lembke 50:15
That’s what you gotta do

it, but I love it, but it’s, but okay. Now this has to take me back to you know, there’s been this theory that it has always been the competitor who won in terms of evolution, you know, in terms of how do I eke out the other, which is absolutely wrong. Collaboration is is how we evolved. And this whole Gordon Gekko, Wall Street, dog eat dog world has been so bad for how we understand how important it is to how are we connecting? How are we standing up for one another? How are we helping and supporting one another? And on the other piece of that, how are we asking for support because I think oftentimes that’s also

Harder than then then offering our own support to others is actually asking and receiving as a human challenge. It is. Yeah.

Eric J. Henderson 51:08
Very well said. And look at the pyramids. They weren’t built with slave labour. That’s documented by historians. The cathedrals were. Yeah. So it’s sitting right in front of you as an object. Yes. Collaboration because yeah, all of them weren’t engineers. And so you have stones that are when within one 1,000th of an inch and precision, which means it’s not a it’s not a mechanical feat as much as is collaborative and communications fee. Because you get an educated, educated people, you had to translate the engineer’s idea to build something that some guys had, man, they won’t be able to figure this out.

We can’t figure it out. It’s not the math is because and there’s another guy who’s Oh, he’s a brilliant though. burn down this watch right now. He’s talking about what’s hindering sciences. I’m scared. You going I use my research and take the credit. So you’re not able to club there’s real huh? Absolutely us. Yeah. Yeah, they say there was this study, but study means nothing unless I put it in this scatterplot with 3000 of them and then we can together figure out Oh, wow, there’s this but then never go to science again. This is Yep. It’s amazing but the pyramids right in front of us and everyone starts getting that difficult me I’m like, Oh, that’s beautiful. Where’s your pyramid? Show? Show me. Show me that one year to build. It’s standing right there. Just go, you know, reverse engineer that thing. And it’s gotta be more of a communications fee than it is an engineering fee.

Elizabeth Lembke 52:47
Well, I think that’s one of the beautiful things about is like, open innovation like Wikipedia, you know, and these are the things that are so incredible is is people will collaborate and will do these you know, they will Create pyramids. But it is that peace of how are we having that perspective that not only private industry is where innovation comes from?

Eric J. Henderson 53:11
Yeah, it’s everyone. That’s another

book called The difference, which is named dog Connie University University Michigan Professor talking about diversity in the sense of I could get 10 people who went to the same school in a room to solve a problem, that same background or whatever, and I would have less and it’s not theory these are, you know, blind, placebo controlled whole nine. And you have a greater range of solutions when you have the proper kind of diversity in the room, but just so people don’t think I’m going Woo, you can achieve higher results without diversity. And that happens when when the team rebels against that diversity. So it’s like we could have 10 but I want to be good with five because I don’t want cordiali on the team and so I let’s just

Cordelia Gaffar 54:12
let him know Liz right because you missed Yeah, this would vote with both of you missing

a man Okay.

Eric J. Henderson 54:25
Are we are we are the world you are?

Look at that, that that mess that people are willing to forego and then you people say, oh, there’s no discrimination because it’s all about money people do when when something has to be done to get the most talented people on the team. I said, Well, what is it about money in 1950 when the lunch counters made the same calculation, I can forego this 50 cents not to have the black person sitting here and have my business which will make $10 a month it’ll make five but guess what? I’m good with that which means even today race in whatever ism you want to put on them economic goods, and I hate that he won both sides recognise that the French guys they say what eradicate racism.

I’m like, you’re not going to ever eradicate a single economic good in mankind. But if you recognise it as such that there are some teams who No, no, we’re not diverse, we won’t have women, we won’t have a woman with a thing on our head. We won’t have anybody for sure. You know. And, and I’m cool with that. There are there’s that it is true. Yeah, that knit. And so that’s why I said to my landlord, straight up, I said, Look, I’m not even mad at you. It’s not a fantastical thing that you don’t like black people. I’ve seen it on television. It’s like, let’s just figure out what you’re going to do with my security deposit.

Garry Turner 55:50
Eric may ask, though, from your point of view, as we look to wrap up this this amazing exploration, let’s be honest, like how do you feel like in that moment, As you’re talking to that landlord, I’m really curious, like, is there what is there any emotion coursing through your veins, ie really that present? Because you’re sort of used to that experience and what’s going on for you inside as you have that conversation with the landlord?

Eric J. Henderson 56:14
Well, I put it in the same context as having any conversation. Like if I’m sitting in the cigar shop like Eric, be ready to whatever you say there is consequence. And so it’s always I’m going to control that when I when I know I’m entering into a potential conflict situation. So that control keeps us both control. But I’m, I’m ready. So you say how do I feel? Oh, my heart was beating hopefully wasn’t beating through my mouth because I’m trying to sound bill calm. I said, No, you don’t. So let’s just mark that. Tell me what you’re going to do with the security deposit. And then he totally doesn’t deal with that.

And I’m not bringing up as a Hey, your race. I’m saying I know this is a context. everything going on here. And back same way trying to practice don’t have it down. I’m trying to practice when you go into meetings and your amendments have been loose when you when you accordingly when you you hit them right here squarely in two different ways and but you know what you’re doing I call that setting and control fire. We got we gotta light it up. Yeah, it’s gonna be lit up. Not easy, but I want to set Okay, like it’s a control burn where we both do we know not to burn that. So how do we get there there’s no way around setting the fire where we are right now and so I just don’t want it to happen in a way that both of us just all of a sudden find the whole place in flames not knowing that. We did that, you know?

Cordelia Gaffar 57:41
Yeah, I have to. Whenever I’m in those situations, it’s Yes, for sure my heart’s beating out of my chest, but that’s how I know that I have to speak up. Right? It’s a large, right. A lot of people are like, when you get angry, you know, how do you communicate? It’s like when I get angry. That’s what I know I need to communicate. Someone is just not up against my values Hello, tell you something, you know, my language changes, my tone of voice changes my choice of words changes. Have you noticed that? So, you know, this is this is leaning into the emotion to stand up for your values and what you believe in. So that’s when you know that you have to open your mouth and all these contrite sayings and maybe all those private conversations that we black people have, when you white people are not around, you kind of have to say those things to those people in those situations and say, oh, by the way, you know, yeah, no.

Elizabeth Lembke 58:48
Hugely so. takes a lot of courage. And it’s so important.

Garry Turner 58:53
That’s on your mind to my friend Liz. As we look to bring this wonderful exploration to a close I really would love those people. wouldn’t listen to our wanderings to be able to know how to contact you. So anything else in your mind as we as we disappear this evening?

Elizabeth Lembke 59:07
Now, there’s a lot of things on my mind, I think, you know, here’s this piece around civil courage how do we stick up for others would be the other thing that comes into my head, you know, how are we, you know, helping others and being there for them and where they may be still scared in their own space. So that’s what I’m going to be chewing on a little bit more.

Garry Turner 59:27
How about you, Eric, anything else different come up to you through this anything else on your mind as you go into your evening?

Eric J. Henderson 59:34
I’m going to pick up that baton right there. When you say stick up for others, like I can argue for black all day long, but it’s less powerful. mean you have to fight for yourself first, but it’s less powerful than when you show up asymmetrically. Now, if people didn’t know that any one of these other three people in the call would just show up when they heard something was happening with Eric. All it was really chasing behaviour. That’s the problem I see and an opportunity which is With black lives matter, whatever, I’m like you should go to the Native Americans.

They’re more likely to be killed in police custody than anybody. I think whelming person Yeah, no one speaks to that. You should go to emulate you should go to Eastern Kentucky where there’s not running water for some people. You should go to Tennessee should come to Texas. Like when you build the kind of coalition based on that proximity, then yeah, you’re gonna fight pretty so. But if I’m fighting for myself, I hear somebody with my friend. That’s what can move things forward.

Garry Turner 1:00:31
Yeah. That’s beautiful Cordelia. Anything else your mind as you go into the evening,

Cordelia Gaffar 1:00:38
I’ll just pick up where Eric left off and say, that brings us full circle into the collaboration piece.

If if we could survive alone, there would not be seven point however many billions of people that are on the planet. So we’re the human race.

Elizabeth Lembke 1:00:59
Yeah. Yep,

we’re all cousins.

Garry Turner 1:01:04
Oh, it’s honestly thank you for like,

we’ve never done this before. It is literally this guy. Now let’s hit record, like it’s been a fun start great exploration. And I think there’s something beautifully real about it. You know, and it’s sort of really, I’ve even felt myself appoints go like, hey, this wasn’t the script. This is really cool. Like, and I think there’s a learning there for me as well, like, of human nature. Like, I think this is part of the challenger is having these preconceived ideas, or we’ve done it that way, even in the last four conversations.

Like, there’s been a beautiful disruption for me to go through this journey with you three to go actually. Like, if we want to have a chat or explore, and it feels like it’s going that direction, let it be because that’s where it needs. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of that in terms of the conversations we have. So thank you three. It’s been amazing. So let’s Find out how people can go. Elizabeth. Elizabeth, Liz, how can people get hold of

Elizabeth Lembke 1:02:07
any one of the nicknames works, so people can get ahold of me? At best probably curl LinkedIn. So Elizabeth Lemke, which is a weird last name. So Elizabeth with a Z, and then Lemke is le m bkt.

Garry Turner 1:02:22
Wonderful, guys. Thanks very much Liz cadila How can people find you?

Cordelia Gaffar 1:02:28
Um, I guess the best way is you can I’m open to responding to emails, but if you’re too afraid, right, my email is Hello at Cordelia. ghafar calm.

Unknown Speaker 1:02:40
Hello.

Cordelia Gaffar 1:02:43
Hi, now how cool is that right? Or, you know, if you’re one of those like keyboard warriors, just go to Cordelia ghafar calm, and you can fill out the little pop up there. But yeah.

Garry Turner 1:02:55
Thanks, Eric. How can people find you my friend?

Eric J. Henderson 1:02:59
It’s Lincoln. Eric J. Anderson, but I know no one’s gonna go there before they Google you. So just

so if you google Eric J. Henderson, I’m the same guy that you know, that’s the one with that camera. That’s it’s the same guy. Gotta have a little more sense on LinkedIn, in different lanes. There’s no lessons in the headline.

Cordelia Gaffar 1:03:27
Yeah. Now you’ve called us all out. They’re gonna Google us, Eric. Yeah.

Elizabeth Lembke 1:03:34
Yeah, it’s HR improv. Meet people.

Eric J. Henderson 1:03:38
They’re like, Oh, nice to meet you.

Elizabeth Lembke 1:03:42
I’m not a stalker. I’m in recruiting is what I like to say.

Cordelia Gaffar 1:03:46
What’s the difference?

Please Note: The content above is a semi-automated transcription of the podcast episode. We recommend listening to the podcast, in case any of the content above is unclear.

Garry Turner

With over 20 years of international sales, business development and relationship-building experience combined with a deep understanding of people, team and culture dynamics, Garry Turner serves individuals, teams and leaders as a strategic advisor and interpersonal catalyst.

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