Company Spending: How to Budget when the ball is in your court

Featured imageHaving a hefty budget allocated to develop your company’s diversity is fine, but companies have been spending lots of money for years and few have accomplished anything significant. They do things like having conferences to talk about all of the great things they are doing to improve workplace diversity and sponsoring multi-cultural youth programs. It has been primarily about fluff, and here we are many years later, in a boat we were in 30 years ago. Nothing has changed much.

One of the most important things that your budget should go toward is for paying salaries and bonuses of your talented employees. Great employees deserve a competitive salary and the opportunity to earn bonuses for their positive performance.

Second, allocating funds for the creation of your company’s vision and developing active steps and measurement tools is important as well. Create a vision. There are many different ways of doing this and many different products and professionals that offer their services. In some circumstances, creating new positions and hiring more employees may even be necessary.

After that, another portion of the budget should go toward employee support groups (black, LGBT, women’s groups, etc). This helps to engage employees across the board. It also enables you to extend the company’s progress from the employees, all the way to senior-level management.

Last, and probably the least costly, are Diversity and Inclusion study groups. This is also something of substance that can be used to develop workplace diversity. These study groups are often formed from employees within a company. These groups are used much like a focus group is used. They give their opinions on the workplace and how to develop diversity within the company, but on a regular basis. Much of the time, the Diversity budget allocates money to pay the group’s supervisors for their employee’s time out of the office. However, you can have each supervisor waive the inter-office fee to help free up some of the budget.

While these are just a few main points, there are many other things that can be considered. These points also have many, intricate details. I strongly suggest you do your research before deciding to delve into your funds.

Have a question about your company’s Diversity plan? Ask in the comment section below. I have created Diversity and Inclusion plans for budgets of all kinds. No budget is too large or too small!

Who Said You Can’t Have it All? Push Yourself to Your Full Potential.

Major Career or Life Change? Are you retiring from the military, a recent grad, just out of the professional sports field, or someone who is changing careers or starting new? What is the first step?

Take the first step in the journey towards success with Jefferson Consulting!

What did I want to be when I grew up? I wanted something with competitive pay and a chance for advancement. Equal opportunity was on the forefront at the time. Companies were going to have a person of color sitting by the door. Many companies just wanted to make sure that they checked the box of having a minority employee.

What I felt was, if I have something to contribute, and I see a chance of upward mobility, I will be part of the company.  One potential employer was excited about the opportunity to have me onboard, but for all of the wrong reasons. “You’ll be paving the way, you’ll be doing this for your community, and you’ll be the first.” I said, ‘No I won’t be paving the way. I’ll be doing what is best for me and what is best for the company I choose.’

How do you do it? Figure out where you think you want to go. Take a self-assessment, write down your interests in a generic sense. Start with the end in mind. Here are a few suggestions:

What is it you want to be?

Are you primarily money oriented or purpose driven?

Do you want to LOVE your job?

Do you want to travel the world?

Sometimes the picture isn’t all that pretty. Sometimes the picture isn’t clear. Sometimes you figure out you have quite a hill to climb. At the end of the day you can be whatever you want, but it always takes a sacrifice. The question is: What’s the price you are willing to pay? You have to know yourself and what drives you.

What drives me is helping businesses and individuals through influence, knowledge, experience and planning. My hard work and experience through working for Shell Oil for over 30 years and as my role as the Director of Diversity, Community Affairs and Human Resources at Shell Oil Products makes me a well-trusted professional in the Human Resources and Organizational Development/Enhancement field.

Whether working for yourself or someone else, each of us can benefit from a professional coach and mentor in some form or fashion. My job is to tell you who is the best and what they have to offer. I find the best Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion products that are needed to form or maintain a great business that will perform for years to come!

Comment below and tell me one dream and one aspirations you have. How are you going to accomplish each one? 

CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Jefferson Consulting newsletter!

Unemployment Rate Currently rests at 5.5%, But Still in Double Digits for Black Americans.

Featured imageThe question is why is the unemployment rate for black Americans still so high? Why does this situation exist and persist? The short answer is a combination of poverty and a general overall lack of education is what makes the unemployment rate double what it is for white Americans. Both the lack of great public K-12 education for poverty stricken children and the lack of resources to get a college education are two of the biggest reasons the unemployment rate for black Americans is so much higher than the general population. As our society as a whole becomes more educated, the black race continues to fall further behind. As the education system becomes more balanced for people of all races, genders and sexual orientation in terms of the quality of the content delivered becomes equal throughout we will achieve equity from an educational standpoint. Many of our societal problems and issues will subside, or diminish greatly.

Poverty stricken adults, have to think about how to survive the day, week, or month. It is impossible to think beyond that. They worry about how to pay the electric bill and the rent in the same week. They work overtime to be able to pay for the most basic things. Many can’t afford to own a car or a house or have any kind of savings, or a bank account at all for that matter. They cash their check at the corner store on Fridays and they are broke on Monday. There is no going out to lunch with the co-workers on the company. The only kind of bonus they get from their employer is a turkey at Christmas time. The law of nature and self-preservation kick in. Instead of getting an education, they believe, “If I have to get a job to help my family to have the basics, food and shelter, then education can take a back seat.” This lack of education makes the poverty stricken black community disposable. They end up working low-level positions, in at-will employment, making them a dime a dozen. They can be hired and fired on a whim.

There are many explanations beyond education and poverty, as to why the unemployment rate is the way it is for black Americans. Some say there is a lot more road to cover, therefore it is just taking longer to snap back. Others say black people experience longer unemployment lengths than other races. Other explanations include, “The résumés of black workers, on average, are less competitive…they are less likely to have a college education… [And] are more likely to have been convicted of a crime” (, 2015). With all of these different explanations, there has to be something that our society can do to improve the lives of this group of citizens.

The one thing that isn’t mentioned when explaining unemployment is this: Black people have been notorious for bucking up against, “the system” or refusing to “work for the man,” leaving them unemployed by their own doing. Some believe the only people in power are white, that no matter what they do or how hard they work they won’t be able to be anyone of importance. They feel discouraged. Personally, I was encouraged. I knew I could do it too. I could find success just like any other person. The color of people’s skin did not matter to me. It was inconsequential in my mind. I became educated, worked hard, was persistent and accountable. I didn’t believe, “the man” could keep me down. I believe we all work together to accomplish business goals. I believed my hard work would pay off. And, it did. Boy, how it did!

What I urge everyone to think about is their circle of influence. Ask yourselves, is what I am doing going to make our society better for all? Let your circle know they can get a grant or a loan to go to college. Tell them to do what they need to do to survive, but to make time for school. Preach to your circle, let them know education should take a front seat! Stay in school. Get a college education. I just learned you can take two semesters of community college while you get your high school diploma or GED. You don’t even have to have a diploma to get started in college.  School, work, study! Make progress within your circle of influence. Impact those who are closest to you. With that, you can create a ripple effect. With your pebble of influence, you can create waves. Waves of change.


(Image from)

7 Interesting People Involved In Gender Equality and Women’s Rights

In honor of International Women’s Day, I bring 7 interesting people involved in gender equality and women’s rights. It takes men to make this happen and I choose to be one of those men. Enjoy.

Featured imageElizabeth Cady Stanton was one of the creators of the Women’s Movement and was good friends with Susan B. Anthony. At her wedding she decided not to say, “Promise to obey” to her groom since it was agreed that their partnership was 50/50.

Featured imageCongressman Henry A. Barnhart was a Representative for the House. During his time in office, he had the opportunity to vote on the suffrage amendment of 1918. At the time, he could not walk. However, he wanted to vote so badly, he was carried in to do so, on a stretcher.

Featured imageCatherine the Great, a Russian Empress was associated with many negative things. However, she promoted Enlightenment and schooling all the while, expanding the borders of her land.

Featured imageJeannette Rankin fought and won the woman’s right to vote in Washington and Montana. She was later the first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress. Plus, she alone voted against World War I &II.

Featured imageFrederick Pethick-Lawrence, owner of a right-wing newspaper, bailed about 1000 people out of jail who were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

Featured imageIsrael Zangwill did many things to support equality for women. He wrote and gave speeches. He published essays and letters. His efforts helped bring understanding and acceptance of women’s rights to the Jewish Community.

Featured imageRepresentative Bella Abzug introduced the successful bill that set aside a day to officially celebrate the right women have to vote, or more officially, the 19th Amendment. During her campaign she said, “This woman’s place is in the House—the House of Representatives.” (


Does it matter what generation you were born into when it comes to Managing, Mentoring and Motivating Millennials?

It used to be the Baby Boomers asking the question, then it was Generation X, now it is the millennials. Managing any particular group, is a fad. These fads are always evolving, so the information in this article is relevant, but I don’t feel it really needs to be categorized in this fashion. Remember, most people want to know, WIIFM. Employees will always be asking (as they should be and) as they always have, “What’s in it for me?” Whether it was childcare in the same building as their office, having paid gym memberships with employment or the option to permanently work from home there has always been a need for improvement. Employee wants continue to evolve, generation after generation. 

Read the article in its entirety below. Find the author at LinkedIn: Leave a comment and let me know what YOU want from your company.

5 Key Tips to Managing, Mentoring and Motivating Millennials


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJ4AAAAJDRlM2QzOTM0LTViZjItNDBmOC1iMGM0LWJhMmFjYjA2NzUwYQRecruiting, retaining and growing young and new talent is more important than ever before, but the majority of businesses are ill-equipped to do so. Deloitte’s 2014 Millennial survey found it costs $15k-$25k to replace a millennial, and by 2025 70% of the workplace will be millennials.

So it’s a pretty big deal, right? All of you nodding your head, do read on…

From my experience training and developing millennials on a daily basis, and working with their managers to help ensure their skills are continuously developed and coached back in the workplace, bridging this gap is hugely important and understanding is the first major step.

However before we go any further I feel the need to stress the difference between understanding a millennial mindset and simply being ageist towards young people. Many individuals hold a grudge against young people and hide it behind the ‘millennial mindset’ excuse. Quite frankly it’s counterproductive behaviour, and just plain wrong.

Recommended for YouWebcast: A Week in the Life of an Agile Creative Team“They’re overly ambitious, they’re lazy, they’re too entitled, they don’t understand their place”: these are ageist remarks from people threatened by the younger generation, and they’ve been muttered by crusty old corporates before the term millennial or the millennials themselves were even a twinkle in their dad’s eye.

What defines a millennial? Well technically anyone born between 1980-2000 is both a millennial and a Gen-Y, however the term has really struck a chord with the latter half of this group due to its positive, progressive undertone. As a result the widely accepted definition, and the one to which I am referring, is professionals from 18-25 years old today.

So, with my rant out of the way, here are 5 key points I personally believe you need to consider when working with a millennial staff member:

Embrace Feedback and Give Clarity

The importance of feedback in the world of a millennial is phenomenal compared to other generations. This is a generation who has grown up with social media, and if the picture of their quinoa berry chia seed pudding didn’t receive 20 likes, retweets or pins it wasn’t worth eating in the first place; a generation whose helicopter parents and teachers have encouraged them from their very first step, and helped them become their authentic selves.

This constant recognition has turned millennials into feedback junkies, and naturally this mentality will be taken into the workplace. Managers need to be aware of this, and manage it correctly. Don’t ignore, don’t put it off until after their quarterly performance review. Use this thirst for feedback as an opportunity for coaching great behaviours.

“Millennials are too entitled and want to be CEO next week”…Ageist! Of course there will always be millennials who do fit this description, but you’re telling me young Gen-Yers, Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers didn’t have their own ultra ambitious apples in the basket?

Most professionals want to climb the corporate ladder, millennials are just a little louder and expect a bit of clarity. Use feedback as your leverage point. Coach your staff member to align all feedback to a clear, concise and achievable progression plan. This will help ensure a more motivated and productive future star.

Encourage Collaboration

Another big difference between millennials and generations past is the way they have learnt to learn. Schools, where people are at their most malleable, have changed the way they teach to focus on collaboration and teamwork.

When I was at school you sat at your desk, you did your own work, you got your own grades. This is not the school millennials know at all; tables are set up in pods with everyone facing each other, discussion and idea sharing is encouraged, group work is constant, and collaboration is king.

Susan Cain points out in her book and TED talk ‘The Power of Introverts’ (below) the negative aspects of this educational evolution, and she does have a point. But it’s not all bad.

This millennial thirst for collaboration pops up in meeting rooms, conference rooms and board rooms all around the world every single day. And whilst I am not saying every single meeting should be an idea-orgy, collaborating on ideas and looking at problems from a fresh perspective is something you should encourage when your millennial staff member is invited. Listen, appreciate, and respect their ideas. Do not squash their thirst for involvement! The biggest gripe from delegates I train isn’t that their ideas aren’t implemented, but that they themselves feel ignored. Think about the repercussions of getting this wrong.

Social Awareness and the Importance of Communicating Your Why

Millennials as a generation are more socially aware than any group in history. The interconnectedness of social media and the subsequent freedom for people from all around the world to share ideas, find and engage with like-minded individuals is the world millennials certainly live, breathe and feel. This creates much stronger sense of community and global conscience.

And further to this, what are the topics which have dominated their formative years? Climate change, oil spills, terrorism, debatable wars, GFC’s, corporate bail outs, the list goes on. As a result millennials feel far less aligned with the business world, certainly less so than their suit and tie predecessors and new managers.

So what does this mean for corporate’s? Again it’s not all doom and gloom, but you need to look a little deeper into what your company actually does and communicate the greater ‘why’. Simon Sinek’s brilliant TED talk on the topic (below) shows the importance of communicating in this way from a leadership perspective, and it is even more important when leading millennials.

Stop talking purely around commission structures and profit, and look to tap into the intrinsic motivators. Communicate what your company does to help a community and you will start building a loyal tribe of motivated millennials.

Flexibility and Work/Life Balance

This is a tricky one to handle if your company simply forbids it, but the reality is millennials crave and expect worklife balance. These are not the walk in the door at 8:30 and leave at 5:30, head down, bum up generation. If this sounds scary for you and your company now, I’m sorry but it’s only going to get worse, so you best embrace the future.

Millennials are masters at the very tools which have been developed for this very purpose: instant messaging, smartphones, tablets, video conferencing, cloud applications. They are also extremely proficient at multi-tasking as a result of growing up in an increasingly disruptive world. So let them!

In my experience using a WFH day per fortnight or month as a carrot for hitting KPIs is an extremely effective way to leverage this thirst for balance. Flexibility and understanding that your employee’s life is more important than their work is key.

Action in Learning

Millennials are extremely confident and want to get in and get things done. They are less attuned to theory and much prefer action. For me this is particularly evident in the training room.

Running training for millennial sales professionals, this need to actually practice what is learned is crucial. Whether its learning the more intricate details of negotiation skills, advanced questioning techniques, interpreting eye accessing cues and body language, presentation skills and everything in between, applying the theory in a practical setting is key to making the training stick. Role plays, exercises and the peer feedback sessions which immediately follow are in many cases a more important part than the theory itself, and the feedback commonly is that this is where they have learnt the most.

So what does this mean for managers?

When training or coaching millennials it is important to focus on skills they can put into practice now, and a blended approach of theory and practice will yield the best results. Coaches should embrace side-by-siding on sales calls with a debrief on the positives and negatives after each call. For face to face meetings give them bite sized chunks of the agenda to make their own and deliver in real life experiences with customers. If you have recently sent a staff member on a presentations skills course get them to give a presentation to the management team upon their return. This stretching out of the comfort zone is critical, and millennials embrace it and grow from it more than most.

Similarly don’t bombard staff with either too many objectives at a time, or skills can’t implement straight away. At this stage of a millennial’s career it is important they’re introduction to corporate learning is uplifting, stretching, effective and very much based in the real world.

This is just one opinion based on my personal experiences working with millennials every day, and by no means am I professing I know it all. But I’m determined not to stop learning, and hope in some small way I’ve encouraged you to do the same.

So finally, whilst Deloitte have put managed to put a hard cost on getting it wrong, what do you think the wider cost really is? To yourself? To Millennials? To the wider corporate community?

And for those who get it right, what about the rewards? I would love to hear your thoughts…

Originally published on LinkedIn


Same Problems Still Exist. Shown by the “Ferguson Report.”

Featured image

According to CNN (2015), “The Justice Department on Wednesday released a scathing 102-page report revealing systemic racial discrimination against African-Americans at the hands of the Ferguson Police Department and city officials. After an extensive federal civil rights probe, the Justice Department found what it described as “unlawful bias against and stereotypes about African-Americans,” resulting in repeated violations of the First and Fourth Amendments and excessive uses of force.” (

The “Ferguson report” has done nothing except to confirm what I already knew, as did many black men in this country. That is that there is wide spread discrimination within police departments across this country that plays out as disparate treatment toward black men. To me, the $64,000 question is, will this report then lead to meaningful discussions on this issue? Will it result in any positive change if discussions ensue? It is my hope that it does but it is my belief, based on my life’s experiences, that nothing of significance will really change. Once the media attention fades, so will the interest in dealing with the issue of blacks being disproportionately stopped, ticketed, arrested, tasered and shot than people of any other ethnicity. I have seen it over and over again throughout my lifetime. There have been miniscule, unimportant changes to the police department, such as allowing black officers to arrest people of any race. We have also allowed more black people on the force altogether.

However, we obviously still have the same problem, which is proven by this report. There is no reason for me to believe that this time it will be anything different. Yes, this report comes from one town in the Midwest. But, this reflects the situations that pop up all across this country. Because I do not believe that things will change on any level of importance, I will continue to do what I can within my circle of influence to make things better for everyone regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. I encourage all of you to do the same. Teach tolerance, humility. Teach your circle to treat every person as an individual; not based on the color of their skin, or their religious beliefs, but on their personality, their inner being. Use your courage and resources to make a ripple in your pond.

My thoughts on Diversity and Innovation

My comment from the Forbes article, Five Trends Driving Workplace Diversity In 2015:

We can’t get distracted from the fact that you need a diverse (as in gender, race and sexual orientation) workforce, in order to foster all of this innovation. When diversity is talked about from a race and gender position, you automatically get people with different backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, creative ideas, etc. So, it goes without saying that we get this “Diversity and Innovation” you are talking about by simply hiring a diverse group of people.

It is important to recognize that we have to be careful not to drift away from the basics. I don’t know why we would want to cover up or gloss over Diversity and Inclusion. We are still a long way from having a workforce that is truly diverse as reflected by gender, race and sexual orientation. Look at who the CEOs and decision makers are today. Look at those numbers and you see we still have  a long way to go to get women and people of color into these positions.

It is alright to tweak Diversity and Inclusion, but at the core we need a workforce that looks like the job market where we pull talent. This diversity needs to run throughout all levels of a company. If we do that, we will get diverse people with creative thoughts and it will take out the “Group Think” mentality automatically.

In conclusion, Diversity and Inclusion is still quite necessary. With true gender, race and sexual orientation diversity comes “Diversity and Innovation.” Diversity throughout all levels of all companies is still needed. If you don’t have it, eventually, you are going to become non-competitive.

Leave a comment and let me know what YOU think of Diversity and Innovation.

Five Trends Driving Workplace Diversity In 2015 (Original Article can be found at: