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How to Change it Up

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Those working from home, which is 26% of U.S. employees, have likely experienced some benefits and some drawbacks since they started doing so two or three years ago. First, let’s start with the pros.


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As long as the work is done and results are strong, many remote jobs also offer flexible schedules, which means workers can start and end their day as they please. In terms of managing your personal life, this control can be invaluable.

Additionally, a FlexJobs 2020 survey found that working remotely actually led to higher productivity among workers who thought they might be more productive from home. It has also been shown that workers who work from home are happier and more loyal employees. Why? Partly because of the lower stress levels, the more time they have for hobbies and interests, and the improvement of their personal relationships.

If that isn’t enough — you’re able to customize your workspace however you want. And you can save both time and money by no longer commuting.

At the same time, working remotely comes with its fair share of drawbacks as well. Most notably, there’s a lack of social interaction with colleagues and customers. Additionally, there are communication gaps that can bottleneck collaboration. It can also be challenging to stay motivated and meet your goals if there is no active supervision and no one is working around you.

Worst of all? It’s incredibly easy to get into a rut when working remotely. However, you can get out of this funk by changing up your routine.

1. Review your calendar. Then review it again.

When you don’t have to commute, you can use your morning more effectively. You could, for example, read your email and to-do list while having coffee and breakfast instead of riding the subway or driving to work.

Moreover, it is imperative that you review your calendar every week at the beginning of the week. Personally, I prefer Friday of the week before. Identify meetings that you need to attend and schedule any action items and preparations you need to do. Schedule time to make them happen if they’re important.

Review it again. Every morning.

I do this first thing in the morning. After all, things tend to change overnight. Additionally, I’m going to take a peek at tomorrow about 30 minutes before I finish scanning my Calendar. This will enable me to see what I managed to accomplish, as well as what I didn’t.

This might seem excessive. It’s possible, though, that what was important on Monday could be different by Wednesday. Sometimes you forget a meeting without a colleague reminding you or get distracted by home chores. In many instances, I’ve avoided disaster by taking a moment to reflect at the start of the day.

2. Change which days are “workdays.”

Think about working on Saturdays and taking Wednesdays off if the ‘five days on, two days off’ routine becomes monotonous. You may be able to get yourself out of your rut this way. As an alternative, if you must work from home constantly, consider working only Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Routines like ‘two days on, one day off, two days on, two days off’ are beneficial to many.

Yeah, that’s one less day at work. However, according to Parkinson’s Law, “work expands to fill the available time for its completion.” It’s pretty unlikely that you will lose any productivity by working one fewer day a week. The only way to know if it works, though, is to try it.

3. Get out of your home office.

There is no doubt that your home office is only a few feet away from your comfortable, warm, cozy bed and a few steps from the refrigerator. It’s exactly for this reason that you should make an effort to work outside your home office more often.

For example, consider working from a local coffee shop. It’s an obvious choice. However, it’s not uncommon to find remote workers, freelancers, casual coffee drinkers, and book lovers in coffee shops.

Why?

You can incorporate social interaction into your work-from-home routine rather than feeling isolated.

It is possible to talk with the barista and immerse yourself among other workers at the cafe. There is also evidence that coffee shops increase concentration and productivity.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, “… participants exert more mental effort when the person next to them [is] doing so… Simply performing a task next to a person who exerts a lot of effort in a task will make you do the same.”

However, you do not have to limit yourself to coffee shops. There are many great places to work, including libraries, community centers, co-working spaces, and restaurants.

Ideally, you should choose a location that works for you and your concentration levels.

As an example, libraries are suitable for benchmarks if you need peace and quiet. If you’re more productive in a lively environment and with people around you, try a local restaurant.

4. Get a head start (for early risers).

Take advantage of being a morning bird if you are not required to be online at a specific time. In order to get a head start, you’ll need to get up around 7 a.m.-8 a.m. and clock in.

How does clocking in early benefit you?

Well, you get off work earlier. Plus, there aren’t as many distractions.

When you clock in at 7 a.m., you’ll be off at 3 p.m. for an average work week of 40 hours. So what do you do now? After an early morning start, you have the rest of the day to accomplish unfinished tasks, run errands, spend time with your kids, or engage in self-care.

5. If you’re a night owl, get a late start.

Maybe getting started later would be a better option for you if you hate mornings since you’re a night owl.

In the morning, sleep in, finish some tasks during the day, and begin working in the afternoon. Keep this schedule in mind, but don’t make it your daily routine. Rather, sleep or change your pace when you need it.

And be careful not to start too late; otherwise, you’ll work all night long.

6. Make a style change.

You can definitely work in yoga pants and a T-shirt instead of stuffy business suits. The thing is, dressing sloppy at home can negatively affect the work you produce. “In some ways, the clothes that you wear might have an even bigger impact because we can often see ourselves and what we’re wearing, and that sort of draws that symbolic value [attached] to it even closer to our consciousness,” says Dr. Adam Galinsky, Co-author of pre-pandemic research on “enclothed cognition.”

In short, before you begin your day, make sure you get dressed and showered before sitting at your desk.

But don’t stop there. Take 15 minutes before you end your workday to clear your mind—and your office space. Make sure that you toss any unnecessary papers and file the rest. Taking care of both yourself and your office space can help you shake up your WFH routine.

7. Reorganize your workspace.

When you stay in the same place day after day, it becomes stagnant if you don’t change it a bit. As such, it might be a smart idea to move some stuff around and redecorate your home office. Why bother re-organizing your home office when you’ve already done it three times? Consider moving your desk to a different part of your house for a couple of days to get some fresh air.

SpaceWise says rearranging your workspace requires you to place it near plenty of windows or some natural light. This is because working in a dark room can cause eyestrain and exhaust you unnecessarily. A change of workspace is sometimes what you need to ‘switch it up’ and get you excited about where you work.

8. Take a lunch break.

Working through meals is easy when your desk is close to your kitchen. You may think it’s OK to eat lunch at your desk and type between bites if you’re pressed for time. If you’re really behind a deadline, that might make sense. Don’t make it a habit, though.

The thing about working through eating is that it feels like you never take a break. As a result, this increases stress. You should schedule WFH in a way that you can get away from work for a bit. You might want to take a few extra minutes to make lunch or do something else you’d normally put off.

If you’re always working, you can’t get away from your work life even for a minute. When working from home, it’s really helpful to separate “work you” and “home you”; otherwise, you’ll burn out. Consider making a timetable and make sure you leave time for short breaks, meals, and snacks.

9. Pursue a new hobby.

Try asking yourself, “What have I always wanted to do but never had the time to do?” Even though working from home blurs the line between work and home, it has its advantages as well. For instance, being able to pursue something other than work.

Take a break from the routine by getting a new pet, cooking, dancing, or creating TikTok content. Who knows? By pursuing this, you may be able to find an additional source of income.

10. Host a silent study hall.

Self-accountability is more challenging when you’re on your own. If you check your phone in the middle of your flow state or are procrastinating, there isn’t a coworker to keep you in check. The solution? Create a silent study hall.

Based on the silent book club trend, everyone in this community will read or work together in companionable silence. As a result, everyone will be able to finish their reading and work in a timely manner, and they will enjoy this time of the week.

Zoom is a handy tool to use to connect with other work-from-home friends. Set a timer and log in. Mute yourselves, then get to work. The simple act of having others on the call with you will help you be more productive.

11. Schedule time in green spaces.

Approximately one in five American workers believes substance use has negatively impacted their work performance, according to a survey conducted in 2022. This study was conducted by Quit Genius, which has opened the nation’s first digital clinic for opioid addiction and has surveyed more than 1,000 Americans.

“These survey results point to a troubling trend of increasing drug use and low awareness of employer addiction-treatment programs,” said Yusuf Sherwani, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Quit Genius. “As the opioid crisis worsens, there are important steps employers can take to increase access to and participation in addiction care programs, including ensuring confidentiality and job security while lowering the cost of treatment.”

While you should definitely seek help if you’re struggling with substance abuse, visiting green spaces may also help.

According to research, visits to parks, community gardens, and other urban green spaces may reduce the use of drugs for anxiety, insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, and asthma among city dwellers.

Finland’s researchers found that going to these places three to four times a week cut drug abuse by a third and asthma by a quarter.

12. Adjust to changes in household routines.

“Another reason to adjust your work-from-home schedule is to account for shifts that may have happened not to you, but around you,” writes Elizabeth Grace Saunders for HBR. “For example, maybe your spouse has gone back to the office, so they’re gone most of the day, or your kids have changed schools, so the pick-up and drop-off times are different, or you got a puppy, and now you need to fit walks into your schedule.”

As your environment changes, you need to think carefully about everything you do throughout the day. Should you adjust your start time to a later or earlier time, for example? Would carpooling help be helpful for school, sports, or both? Is it necessary to modify your

“Acknowledge how the changes in your household routine give you more or less time and then reset your expectations accordingly,” she suggests.

Image Credit: JÉSHOOTS; Pexels; Thank you!

The post Your Work at Home Routine: How to Change it Up appeared first on Calendar.

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3 Growth Stocks to Buy Now Before They Heat up

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The gradual decline in inflation and decelerating wage growth might prompt the Fed to slow the pace of rate hikes this year, which might help growth stocks to stage a recovery. So, fundamentally strong growth stocks Salesforce (CRM), HF Sinclair (DINO), and Box (BOX), which look poised to soar in the near term, might be ideal buys now. Keep reading.

December’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.1% for the month, in line with the Dow Jones estimate, marking the largest month-over-month decrease since April 2020. Moreover, the Labor Department reported that employers added 223,000 jobs in December 2022, reflecting a slowdown from the pace of job creation seen earlier in the year.

Also, average hourly pay, which had been increasing at an annual rate of 5% in September, fell to 4.6% in the month.

The sky-high inflation and the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes to tame it have affected growth stocks significantly last year. However, the easing inflationary pressures and declining wage growth signals that the Fed’s rate hikes are having their intended effect, which might prompt the Fed to slow its rate hike pace.

The Fed is widely anticipated to deliver a 0.25 bps rate hike in its next meeting, a step back from a 0.50 bps hike last month.

Furthermore, as per Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee, US stocks will surge back toward record highs in 2023 once the Federal Reserve signals that it’ll ease up on its monetary-tightening campaign. Lee also said that he expects the S&P 500 to steadily climb to hit 4,800 points this year.

Given this backdrop, fundamentally strong growth stocks Salesforce, Inc. (CRM), HF Sinclair Corporation (DINO), and Box, Inc. (BOX) might be ideal buys for solid returns this year.

Salesforce, Inc. (CRM)

CRM provides customer relationship management technology that brings companies and customers together worldwide. The company’s service offerings include Sales, Service, Marketing, and Commerce. The company provides its services through direct sales, consulting firms, systems integrators, and other partners.

The company’s forward Price/Book multiple of 2.79 is 32.8% lower than the industry average of 4.15.

During the third quarter that ended October 31, 2022, CRM’s total revenues increased 14.2% year-over-year to $7.84 billion. The company’s gross profit increased 14.5% year-over-year to $5.75 billion, and non-GAAP income from operations increased 30.9% year-over-year to $1.78 billion.

The consensus EPS estimate of $1.36 for the fiscal fourth quarter ending January 2023 indicates a 62.3% improvement year-over-year. The consensus revenue of $8 billion for the same quarter represents a 9.2% year-over-year growth. CRM has an impressive earnings surprise history as it has surpassed the consensus EPS and revenue estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.

Also, the company’s revenue and levered free cash flow have grown at a CAGR of 24.1% and 21.8%, respectively, over the past three years.

The stock has gained 26.7% over the past month to close the last trading session at $167.97.

CRM’s POWR Ratings reflect its promising outlook. The stock has an overall rating of B, which translates to Buy in our proprietary rating system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

It has an A grade for Growth and a B for Sentiment. Within the 138-stock Software – Application industry, it is ranked #27.

Beyond the POWR Ratings just highlighted, you can access additional CRM grades for Value, Momentum, Stability, and Quality here.

HF Sinclair Corporation (DINO)

DINO is an independent petroleum refiner that produces and markets high-value light products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, renewable diesel, and other specialty products.

Its forward non-GAAP P/E of 3.80x is 53.8% lower than the industry average of 8.23x. Its 0.27 forward non-GAAP PEG multiple is 59.6% lower than the industry average of 0.68.

The company pays $1.20 annually as dividends, which translates to a yield of 2.81% at the current price. Its four-year average dividend yield is 2.99%.

DINO’s sales and other revenues grew 126.2% year-over-year to $10.60 billion for the third quarter that ended September 30, 2022. Its adjusted EBITDA increased 267.9% year-over-year to $1.50 billion. The company’s adjusted net income increased 368.2% year-over-year to $982.90 million, while its adjusted EPS rose 257.8% year-over-year to $4.58.

Street expects DINO’s revenue to increase 106.6% year-over-year to $37.99 billion for the fiscal year 2022. Its EPS is expected to rise 789% year-over-year to $14.96 for the same year. The company has surpassed the consensus revenue estimates in all of the trailing four quarters.

Moreover, the company’s net income and EPS have grown at a CAGR of 39.1% and 33%, respectively, over the past three years.

The stock has gained 9.7% over the past month and 61.8% over the past year to close the last trading session at $56.90.

It is no surprise that DINO has an overall rating of B, equating to a Buy in our POWR Ratings system.

It has a grade of A for Growth and Momentum and a B for Quality. It is ranked #10 among 93 stocks in the B-rated Energy – Oil & Gas industry.

In addition to the grades stated above, we’ve also rated DINO for Value, Sentiment, and Stability. Get all DINO ratings here.

Box, Inc. (BOX)

BOX provides a cloud content management platform that enables organizations of various sizes to manage and share their content from anywhere on any device.

On January 10, BOX announced that BETC, a global communications, marketing, and advertising agency, have chosen BOX’s secure content management capabilities to power collaboration and accelerate processes around content management.

Sebastien Marotte, President of EMEA at BOX, said, “We’re delighted to support BETC in powering the next generation of creative content for their prestigious clients. We look forward to our continued partnership as BETC continues to expand its use of Box and develop its Content Cloud journey.”

In terms of forward non-GAAP PEG, BOX is currently trading at 1.36x, which is 14.8% lower than the industry average of 1.60x. Its forward Price/Cash flow multiple of 16.32 is 11.2% lower than the industry average of 18.37.

BOX’s revenue increased 11.6% year-over-year to $249.95 million in the third quarter that ended September 30, 2022. Its gross profit rose 15.2% year-over-year to $185.46 million. Also, its EPS came in at $0.03, compared to a loss per share of $0.12 in the year-ago period.

Analysts expect BOX’s revenue to rise 9.9% year-over-year to $256.48 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended January 2023. Its EPS is estimated to grow 42.6% year-over-year to $0.34 in the same quarter.

Its revenue and levered free cash flow have grown at a CAGR of 15.1% and 29.1% over the past five years.

The stock has gained 22.4% over the past year to close the last trading session at $31.99. It has gained 10.1% over the past month.

BOX’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its POWR Ratings. It has an overall B rating, which equates to a Buy in our proprietary rating system.

It also has an A grade for Growth and Quality and a B for Value. BOX is ranked #6 among the 78 stocks in the Technology – Services industry.

Click here for the additional POWR Ratings for Stability, Momentum, and Sentiment for BOX.

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CRM shares were trading at $168.63 per share on Wednesday morning, up $0.66 (+0.39%). Year-to-date, CRM has gained 27.18%, versus a 5.98% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Kritika Sarmah

Her interest in risky instruments and passion for writing made Kritika an analyst and financial journalist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in commerce and is currently pursuing the CFA program. With her fundamental approach, she aims to help investors identify untapped investment opportunities.

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The post 3 Growth Stocks to Buy Now Before They Heat up appeared first on StockNews.com

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OpenAI Rolls Out New Tool to Combat ChatGPT Plagiarism

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Since its launch in November, ChatGPT has disrupted various industries — from real estate to law. However, in the context of academia, teachers have growing concerns about whether using the tool is considered cheating.

ChatGPT, created by artificial intelligence company OpenAI, has the power to create essays, poetry, draft legal documents and more when given a prompt. While the results may need some editing, the tool’s efficiency has garnered worldwide attention for its accuracy.

Related: Professionals In This Industry Already Can’t Imagine Life Without ChatGPT: ‘I Can’t Remember the Last Time Something Has Wowed Me This Much.’

Public schools in Seattle and New York City have already banned the use of the tool over cheating concerns and its power to disrupt genuine learning. Now, OpenAI has announced a new feature that may help teachers spot the presence of ChatGPT in essays and other assignments, CNN reported.

The feature, called “AI text classifier,” is similar to the plagiarism software Turnitin in that when submitting a body of text, the tool will rate the input on a scale ranging from “likely generated by AI” to “very unlikely.”

While educators have been longing for such a tool to combat the increasing use of ChatGPT, OpenAI has admitted that the new feature is “imperfect” and should be “taken with a grain of salt,” CNN reported.

“We really don’t recommend taking this tool in isolation because we know that it can be wrong and will be wrong at times – much like using AI for any kind of assessment purposes,” Lama Ahmad, policy research director at OpenAI, told the outlet. “We are emphasizing how important it is to keep a human in the loop … and that it’s just one data point among many others.”

Related: Princeton Student Builds ChatGPT Detection App to Fight AI Plagiarism

Despite the imperfection of the new feature, OpenAI told CNN that the decision to release the “AI text classifier” has to do with hopefully deterring individuals from claiming AI text was composed by a human, as well as addressing the question of whether humans have a right to know if they are interacting with artificial intelligence.

“This question is much bigger than what we are doing here; society as a whole has to grapple with that question,” Jan Leike, a lead on the OpenAI alignment team, told CNN.

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Why All of Us Need to Join the Fight for Workplace Diversity

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The Ernst & Young 2020 Global Private Equity Report found that 74% of private equity firms under $2.5 billion did not have set targets for ethnic diversity and had no plans to set any.

While this might come as a surprise to those with no history working in private equity or hedge funds, this statistic and the recent media attention Soo Kim has received regarding the TEGNA takeover, unfortunately, come as no surprise to me.

As a former employee of Standard General, one of only a handful of Black Americans working in the hedge fund sector and an immigrant founder, I’m appalled at the lack of diversity in this space. However, I can firmly say that it would be a lot worse without Soo Kim’s contribution — but we need more than just him to join the cause.

Related: 18 Business Leaders on Creating an Inclusive and Equitable Society

What’s happening with Soo Kim’s TEGNA takeover?

In February 2022, Soo Kim’s Standard General, with funding from Apollo Global Management announced a deal to acquire TV station owner TEGNA for roughly $8.6 billion. TEGNA is the second-largest local TV broadcaster by revenue, operating 64 TV stations and two radio stations across various markets in the U.S. Contrary to large TV consolidation mergers, this particular deal has drawn a number of vocal objectors.

Ostensibly, the critique has come from a union — The NewsGuild — that purports to be concerned about jobs, despite the public commitments that Standard General made to preserve local station employment. While concerns about jobs are admirable, the publicly filed comments from these groups include statements that, in so many words, say that Soo Kim’s ownership of this station group would do nothing to advance diversity as understood by the civil rights community and public interest.

Is there a “wrong” type of minority?

These commenters continue to say that Soo Kim was not barred by his race from becoming a successful entrepreneur.

As a fellow New Yorker and both graduates of Stuyvesant High School, I can speak to our experiences. Using his Asian ancestry against him is exactly the kind of short-sighted hateful rhetoric causing so many issues for Asian communities across America. I have seen this in all aspects of American life, from Wall Street firms to my days at West Point and in Baghdad.

When there’s a flag draped over your coffin, there is no “wrong type of minority.” Yet we seem to treat immigrant founders and founders of color like there is such a thing as a “wrong” type of minority.

The indivisible nature of the United States is our greatest strength, but that strength is weakened by the belief that Soo Kim being Asian makes him unqualified to pursue the commercial principles that our country was founded on.

However, what worries me more than anything is that Kim hasn’t been treated fairly by anyone throughout this deal. Are these political letters and criticism influencing the regulators whose judgment the closing of this deal depends on? I know firsthand how hard it is for founders of color to access the capital to pull off deals of this magnitude. An adverse outcome here would have a chilling impact on minority ownership of broadcasting assets at the very least. Perhaps this is what the objectors want.

While the thought of that is troubling at the very least, I believe what’s been so impactful and appalling to me throughout this entire debacle has been the fact that I know Soo Kim. I’ve worked with him, I have represented him on public company boards and I’ve seen what he stands for. It’s unimaginable to me that he could be on the receiving end of such racism when he so clearly stands for justice and equality.

Related: 6 Ways to Offer Allyship to Black Entrepreneurs

Commitment to diversity

As the founder of Standard General, Kim has been tireless in his commitment to diversity: from hiring to using his power to change companies to better reflect what America really looks like. More importantly, he didn’t limit his search to just Asian professionals. Black, Asian, Jewish and white employees all were represented in the 12-person team at Standard General while I was there. He has also consistently appointed women and people of color to the boards of his companies throughout the years.

I have seen the good he does in his companies and how hard he works to provide equal access to opportunities regardless of race or gender.

And, because I am the diversity and inclusion officer for the MediaCo board of directors, which owns the radio stations Hot 97 and WBLS (which has a management team that is over 50% diverse and a staff that is over 70% diverse overall), I would say that it is precisely Kim’s unique background that could help improve TEGNA own documented diversity issues.

If other leaders follow Kim’s lead, we can slowly but surely change the diversity problem. But we all have to actually commit.

How the TEGNA deal compares to other acquisitions

Just to drive my point home, I believe it’s important to take a look at how this TEGNA deal compares to other similar acquisitions.

Recently, the TV industry has seen a surge in big deals. For example, Gray Television acquired Meredith’s and Quincy’s local stations with virtually no opposition from across the aisle. Scripps bought ION Media Group and Nexstar Media Group also added to its empire by snatching up Tribune Broadcasting — moves that heavily concentrated power in this industry space.

All of those prior deals did not face any of the scrutiny and criticism from this deal, which is curious because the TEGNA deal shrinks the company with the concurrent sale of a number of stations to Cox Media Group, and does not require any statutory divestitures or regulatory rule waivers as each of the above did. And yet, with Standard General’s deal, the informal 180-day “shot clock” for a regulatory decision has long passed.

The point? The lack of opposition to other similar deals shows young entrepreneurs and immigrant founders that even when you try to play fair as a person of color in this industry, you just can’t seem to win.

Related: 5 Ways Entrepreneurs of Color Can Determine an Ally’s Authenticity

The system has to change

In one interview, Kim said that after the takeover, TEGNA would get a “company with a minority owner, run by a woman, that’s committed to serving diverse communities. We think that’s good business.”

It is good business, and I am delighted to see that Kim and Standard Media CEO Deb McDermott have received letters of support from legislators, civil rights groups and minority media groups. I applaud these groups for speaking up in defense of Soo Kim and other minorities in this space. I, too, am doing my part to speak up against these racist attacks. However, that isn’t enough anymore.

The system has to change — and it changes by not allowing these types of attacks, comments and ideals to persist in any way, shape or form. We must stop entertaining the idea that these types of comments are valid or even acceptable. We have as a nation all experienced the heartache of watching videos of racially motivated violence against people of color from all walks of life. Racial oppression takes place in the business world just as it does in the streets, just without the same visible evidence but the same indelible impact on those persons of color involved.

As a business leader, here’s how you can enact systemic change:

  1. When making hiring decisions, stop going with your gut. Newsflash, your gut always leads you to the most comfortable choice. Instead, create a list of metrics you will hire for and focus on hiring someone that meets those metrics. Blind auditions eliminated discrimination in the world’s greatest orchestras. Imagine what it could do for your business.
  2. Be aware that there are challenges diverse individuals face in business that you don’t see or experience. Do your best to factor those in when evaluating candidates. They may not have Goldman Sachs on their resume, but can you see evidence of ability in past academic performance or in other areas like military or community service?

As the great Martin Luther King Jr. said, “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

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