My Learning from the ‘Energy Grid’

We’re often told to manage our time. But managing our energy can be far more effective if we’re to fully engage with whatever we’re doing.

In line with the Great Place to Work philosophy, I had the privilege of being part of the team advocating the Energy Grid, based on the book ‘The Power of Full Engagement,’ by Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz. Below is a summary of different energy zones:

Image source: Slideshare

Dr. Jim Loehr found that high‐performing athletes can consistently perform at a high level because they’ve developed the habit of going through rapid cycles of intense focus and relaxation.

“The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal.” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

“Sadly, the need for recovery is often viewed as evidence of weakness rather than as an integral aspect of sustained performance. The result is that we give almost no attention to renewing and expanding our energy reserves, individually or organizationally.” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

“We must learn to establish stopping points in our days, inviolable times when we step off the track, cease processing information and shift our attention from achievement to restoration. Moore‐Ede calls this a ‘time cocoon.’” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

The key is to build a set of rapid recovery rituals into your day to restore your energy sources. You can execute the rituals in two scenarios:   

1. After 90 minutes of continuous focus on a task. 

2. Any time you start to feel slightly irritable. 

The four energy sources you need to restore are physical energy, emotional energy, mental energy, and spiritual energy. To help you build your rapid recovery rituals, here is a list of rapid recovery rituals:

  • To perform at our best we need to focus on managing our energy rather than our time.
  • Optimise quality and quantity of our energy in 4 areas: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual.
  • Energy reserves are not unlimited; recovery is integral to sustaining high performance.
  • We can take small steps to expand our capacity, to build new habits every day.

Physical – quantity of energy

– Derived by an interaction between oxygen and glucose. Fundamental source of fuel in life.

How do we get physical energy?

  • Patterns of our breathing
  • Food – empty stomach loses concentration. 
  • Sleep
  • Intermittent breaks
  • Level of our fitness

What is the physical activity we take for granted? Breathing. Breathing is a powerful tool of self-regulation.

What is the simplest antidote for anger and anxiety? Deep breaths.

To quickly restore physical energy,

  • Walk up a flight of stairs
  • Go for a jog around the block
  • Do a set of push‐ups
  • Brief exercises, oxygenates your cells and rejuvenates your brain.
  • Drink water. Profound impact on your physical energy because your brain and heart are made of almost 75% water. 

Follow some rituals like, journal writing, reading, sipping warm tea, bathing that could relax you and enable better focus.

Emotional – quality of energy

Manage emotions skillfully to attain positive energy and reach a pleasant zone.

Practice breathing exercises.

Express appreciation

Plan events with people you care about.

Strong work or personal relationship involves rhythmic movement between:

  • Giving and taking
  • Talking and listening
  • Valuing other person and feeling valued

Muscles for emotional energy are are self-confidence, self-control, interpersonal effectiveness, and empathy. Patience, openness, trust and joy also contribute.

Emotional muscles such as patience, empathy and confidence can be built like biceps and triceps by pushing past the limits followed by recovery.

To quickly restore emotional energy,

  • Text someone you enjoy spending time with to make plans for that evening (ex: going out for dinner with spouse).
  • Planning events with others creates a sense of anticipation and excitement you can carry into work session.
  • Another emotional boost is to give praise to others around you.

“Gallup found that the key drivers of productivity for employees include whether they feel cared for by a supervisor or someone at work; whether they have received recognition or praise during the past seven days; and whether someone at work regularly encourages their development.” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

Follow some rituals like, lunch in the garden, dance classes, gardening.

Mental – focus of energy

Find time away from distractions


Mental capacity is what we use to organize our lives and focus attention. To perform at our best we need to be able to sustain concentration and move flexibly between narrow and broad focus as situation requires. Maximum mental capacity is derived from a balance between spending and recovering mental energy. Engaging & disengaging, thinking & letting go, activity & rest.

Tools that help mental muscles,

  • Mental preparation
  • Visualization
  • Positive self-talk
  • Time management
  • Creativity

To quickly restore mental energy,

  • Go for a walk.
  • Listen to music.
  • Let go of what you are working on, and let mind wander. By letting mind wander, you let ideas related to work incubate in the sub‐conscious. When you return to work 10‐15 minutes later, you have a burst of creative energy.

“The highest form of creativity depends on a rhythmic movement between engagement and disengagement, thinking and letting go, activity and rest. Both sides of the equation are necessary, but neither is sufficient by itself.” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

Follow ritual like, sitting and writing perceived threats in a journal and recast them as opportunities. Consider worst case-scenarios and assess whether consequences are acceptable. Focus on aspects of life worthy of appreciation.

Spiritual – force of energy / energy grounded in purpose

A sense of meaning and purpose

Allocating time to what you deem important in your life 

Do what you do best & what you enjoy 

We become fully engaged when purpose is clear and aligns with our values.

Muscles for Spiritual energy are : Passion, Commitment, Integrity and Honesty.

To quickly restore spiritual energy,

  • Take out a piece of paper and write down answers to the questions: ‘How I want to be remembered?’ and ‘Who I want to help?’. Spiritual energy comes from thinking of things bigger than yourself. The greatest spiritual energy gains come from tapping into a sense of purpose. To tap into a sense of purpose: “We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—hourly and daily. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct.” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

Ritual: Mentally prepare for meetings by visualising self-giving feedback.

Did you know that the World Health Organisation acknowledged burnout as an official disease in April 2019?

Burnout Zone: Burnout comes about in three different ways:

1. Overload (traditional) burnout: 

  • Working harder and evermore frantically in search of success  
  • Willing to risk health and personal lives in pursuit of ambition
  • Coping by complaining

2. Under-challenge burnout:

  • Not feeling appreciated 
  • Boredom 
  • Lack of learning opportunities

3. Neglect burnout: 

  • Feeling helpless at work and lacking support 
  • Feeling incompetent or unable to keep up with demands 
  • Being passive and feeling demotivated

Survival Zone: In the survival zone, the energy in our body is not necessarily helpful. We become addicted to stress:

  • Loving firefighting or meeting last minute deadlines 
  • Working at a very fast pace without breaks 
  • Experiencing the ‘adrenaline high’ when stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol create a seductive rush  

We believe others will see us as more important because being busier and more stressed gives us status. But when we operate at high intensity for too long it’s hard to shift to another gear. We get stuck in overdrive and unable to turn off our engine. We become ‘adrenaline junkies’.

Performance Zone: This is the zone we are aiming to be in for some of the time

  • Look at some of the adjectives describing this state – challenged, proud and optimistic. Stressors have not disappeared, but with high energy and pleasant/positive emotion, we feel we can succeed. Stress is not an enemy, but the key to growth
  • We have a choice to perform optimally. To do this we must learn to set aside negative feelings by re-framing pressure so that instead of seeing it as a ‘threat’ we recognise it as a challenge. An ‘opportunity to grow’

Recovery Zone: To be in the Performance Zone, we must make sure we spend time in ‘recovery’. The balance between the expenditure of energy (stress) and the renewal of energy (recovery) is essential

Nature is rhythmic – night follows day, and we have changing seasons, cycles of the moon and tides. Our bodies too crave oscillation between challenge and relaxation. But the trap we can fall into is ‘effort addiction’. We don’t trust anything but effort — and lots of it!

By consciously deciding to enter the Recovery Zone we can change this. It doesn’t have to be for very long periods at a time – think of it as a refreshing break to energetically recharge. What can we do to get into the recovery zone? One person’s recovery zone is another person’s survival zone, but taking time out is essential for our wellbeing: 

  • Basic physical recovery requires good sleep, a balanced diet, sufficient water & regular exercise 
  • Anything that brings you joy and a feeling of relaxation helps 
  • Connecting with friends and family or spending quality quiet time with yourself is beneficial

Tips for Recovery

We need to balance stress & rest in order to sustain performance

  • The most effective breaks are RELAXING, SOCIAL, ACTIVE & NATURAL 
  • Exercise is a way to improve our mood, almost any kind of exercise between 7 to 75 minutes long seems able to provide a mood boost 
  • What we see and where we look can help us recover in our breaks > take a short walk look at the sky & anything natural around your OR simply play a video of waves  or the sky on your laptop
  • Improve your Heart Rate Variability > Try a Physiologic Sigh. Two breaths in through your nose one breath out of your mouth, 5 seconds per in/out breath 
  • Sleep is the foundation for sustainable performance. Improve your sleep by limiting caffeine and avoid after midday, avoid electronics 2 hours before bed, limit alcohol intake and ensure the room where you’re sleeping is dark and not too hot (~18C)

What will you do to maximise recovery?

Positive Conversations 

Things to consider when talking to your teams

Ask how people really are – be prepared, you don’t know what you might hear

Don’t react – just listen without judgement

Hold the space for someone to talk – this may be the first time they’ve said it out loud

Don’t jump in to fix things – what they need may not be what you think

Ask what support they need from you – everyone’s individual, don’t assume you know

Respect confidentiality – don’t damage the trust they have shown in you

Take a few minutes to write out your own rapid recovery rituals. Include physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual recovery components. 

Ask yourself, in the last week:

  • Which quadrant did I spend the most time in?  
  • What are you enjoying or missing?
  • Habits which are helpful to continue
  • Energy depleting habits which should be considered changing
  • What three goals can you set for next week to be at your best?
  • Who else can you speak to about where you are?

“Physical capacity is defined by quantity of energy. Emotional capacity is defined by quality of energy. Mental capacity is defined by focus of energy. Spiritual capacity is defined by force of energy.” – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz

Image source: Pinterest

Credits to senior leaders at my company, Stuart and Hari, who spearheaded this initiative and to my colleagues, Taj & Nachiket, for compiling the content and presenting to team members 🙂

NB: Much of my learnings shared here can be found freely on the internet. Knowledge shared is knowledge squared. I have provided references to the content and intend no infringement on the author’s work or copyright. Thanks to my organisation for such initiatives that enable it to be a great place to work.

References & more reading:

 THE POWER OF FULL ENGAGEMENT by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

The 4 Dimensions of Energy: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual – UpStartist

The Power Of Full Engagement

Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time

Productivity Game – Learn to Thrive 

Resilience Is About How You Recharge, Not How You Endure 

How Managers Can Prevent Their Teams from Burning Out 

Track Your Time for 30 Days. What You Learn Might Surprise You.

Productivity Is About Your Systems, Not Your People 

Today’s Most Critical Workplace Challenges Are About Systems 

Making Joy a Priority at Work 

What Makes Some People More Productive Than Others 

Manage Your Time & Energy:

Manage Your Energy to Reduce Stress

Why Some People Get Burned Out and Others Don’t 

Want to Be Happier in 2023? Start Using These 7 Daily Habits

Get up from your desk and do these 8 nature activities to improve your mood, productivity and memory

A 3-Step Process to Break a Cycle of Frustration, Stress, and Fighting at Work

A Psychologist Suggests 3 Ways To Work Smarter, Not Harder 

The Benefits of Laughing in the Office


My Learning from ‘We are LimITless’

Who is Elvis

The ones who shine a bit brighter, the ones who are maverick, the ones with lots of energy and charisma. 

Felt good to be part of a program “We are LimITless,” that aimed to drive a positive work culture and run by  Upping Your Elvis, who have taken inspiration from Bono’s “Drop the Debt” campaign. The program consisted of a series of experiments spread over 5 weeks and aimed at creating a great workplace environment, by revisiting our beliefs, behaviours and actions through small, weekly experiments. At the start of each week, we were guided through a topic, by the trainers. During the week, we experimented around a topic. By the end of the week, the team shared stories on what we tried, what worked and what value it created.

Why experiments? “Disney’s chief imagineer brings in a real tiger and gets the boards approval to launch Animal Kingdom. You cannot engage in a culture journey by reading books. You need to try it yourself. Experimenting every week. Engaging in a more visual way at work. We can’t just change behaviour. We need to help change people’s beliefs. That will drive the behaviour change. Where do our beliefs come from? They come from experiences. If that was a positive belief, it will drive the behaviour. Negative beliefs will lead us to avoid those experiences. To create positive experiences, it is important for managers to role model it and lead it visibly.”

What will make these experiments work: 

  • Positivity
  • Have fun doing
  • Best strategy for survival is be part of a tribe. Chances are that you ll get support everyday. Our tribe is the people we work with everyday. We should belong.

Why are we doing this? “Our culture isn’t broken, or bad, we just want to make sure it’s the best it can be. We want our people to jump out of bed loving what they do and loving who they are. We want them to be energised and excited about the impact they create, we want them to use their unique talents on what really counts and we want them to enjoy the ride. To make such a transformation happen we can’t just tell people what to do, we need them to try things out and see what works for them, and to do that at scale they need to be simple to do and adopt. We need your help to make them live and breathe within your teams.” 

Here is the summary of my learning:

Culture Experiment 1  – TIME

How to use your time better? Saying NO to certain things and FOCUS on what counts. 

Start your day clear on your ‘Big Thing’ – What’s important? What’s your priority for the day?

We spend most part of our lives on auto-pilot. i.e using habits and routines to steer our behaviour. How do I spend my time today on the most important thing that’s going to create most important impact in my life? Simple way is to make sure we start your day with clarity. Clarity with “What is your big thing?” Singular focus on one thing, that when you achieve that day, then you can call it a meaningful day.

  • Big thing could be an email you have to write, a project deliverable, a conversation
  • Can we have 10 big things? No. Focus on one that will have a meaningful impact.
  • When you wake up and before you turn on any tech, when the mind is pure, identify your big thing,
  • What is my big thing for today? Coffee, walking, journaling.
  • Before you get to work and the busyness takes over, have clarity on what your big thing is?
  • We only have 90-120 mins of deep focus. If we get our big thing then we can focus

Zone your day to use your energy. Identify your ‘Sweet Spot’ to optimise energy and focus – the moment in the day that you are at your best for the task.

Manage your time and create space for your big thing. Practice saying one polite ‘No’ a day

If we say yes to too many things, we cant make space for what is important. We need to get better at saying No

What are the reasons people say yes, when you shouldn’t? Ex: People pleasing, easier to accept than to question, fear of missing out, trying to be aware of the pulse of the business, hierarchy…etc.

If invited for meetings where you are not clear on the purpose/agenda or feel you won’t be required there, challenge respectfully like those in the examples below:

  • Please can you help me understand the meeting objectives, so I can understand if I’m the best person to support progress on this initiative?
  • Once you’ve got clarification on the agenda, if appropriate try something like ‘You’ve already got XX from my team in the meeting, who can cover that topic and update me later’
  • I’m experimenting with how I manage my meetings. Can I ask what is expected of me at the meeting so I can come prepared?
  • Based on the agenda, I am not sure that I will add any value by attending this meeting, please let me know if you feel differently or if there are other ways I can support
  • I think we could approach this in a different way, other than a meeting (For example: Why don’t I send a quick video summary of my thoughts)

Culture Experiment 2  – How to make our meetings count

What % of your week is spent in meetings? 75% on an average. It’s a lot of time. What % of those meetings fill your soul with joy?

Take time to get the Set-up right

  • Get clarity on the Why?
  • What is the purpose of this meeting?
  • What does success look like?
  • How do you want people to be?
  • Do you want to be positive and suspend judgement?
  • Do you want it to be more quiet?
  • Do you want it to be more analytical?
  • Do you want to get rid of tech distraction?

Meetings should be:

  • Energetic
  • Collaborative
  • Creative
  • Impactful
  • Enjoyable

How can we make meetings better?

  • Bring energy. Energy is everything in meetings. At the the start of the meeting you have the perfect opportunity to reset. It could be a physical activity. It could just be an opening question.
  • Positivity will take you to somewhere new and different
  • Have fun
  • Create a relaxed environment
  • Connect with each other
  • Break the ice instead of a serious atmosphere

If we get the start of the meeting working well, then we are getting people lined up to do brilliant work.

Good meetings

  • Set-up – Get it right
  • Time – start promptly. Allow breaks between meetings. Ex. Schedule for 20 or 25 mins rather than 30 mins. 
  • Facilitator – great meetings have facilitators. Mix facilitators up.
  • Size – small is beautiful. Consider your meeting size.
  • Don’t sit silently in bad meetings.

Create space by playing with meeting times. We experimented with shrinking the 30 mins meeting to 20 mins and it worked. Most meetings in the org are now scheduled for 20 or 25 mins leaving some break time in case the participants have another meetings to attend. We experimented with advising virtual participants to be on the camera and their focus/attention improved a lot.

Culture Experiment 3 – Feedback and Growth

How do you demand feedback, so that you can learn and grow beautifully everyday?

How to make sure the feedback you receive is useful? Ask for (& give) structured feedback any time you try something new or different:

  1. FACTS – What are the facts / what did they observe?
  2. THINK – How did they interpret what you did / what did it make them think?
  3. FEEL – How did it make them feel?

 Make feedback part of your everyday:

  • Get feedback in the moment
  • Ask for it directly: Face-to-face, video or phone, not email
  • Ask people what was great? (don’t go straight to what we can improve)
  • Ask what can I/we do even better?
  • Make sure the feedback is useful by using Facts/Think/Feel
  • For an added bonus, land some compliments & positive comments.
  • The best leaders are always asking what  they do brilliantly and what they can do even better

In the breakout sessions, we played “Getting the energy right” exercise. Love bombs: tell breakout partner what you love / appreciate / value about them 🙂


  • This week, start each day with that singular focus, what is the most important thing today?
  • Zone your day so that the big thing is in the right space.
  • Say no to some things so as to create space for the important.
  • Do something you are passionate about daily.
  • First impressions go a long way.
  • Be the person who radiates positivity.
  • Focus with your team – learn together and support each other.
  • If we want our team to embrace change, we need to help them with their confidence. What do they do brilliantly? “So, just to illustrate, when I was writing the book called Wake up, we challenged the people through a psychological magazine: Grab one person per day in the pub, and tell them what you love about them. This is the best thing that happened this year. If you are nice to people they are nice to you. In a pub if you are looking for bad things, you can find a lot, like people stealing steaks, drinking on the job. But when you start to look for the good, it is equally abundant. When you spot the good, you behave as if people are good, they feel it and they elevate their performance. Virtuous cycle. Everybody gets better everyday. Just spend some time appreciating people around you. People will be Primed to see more rainbows.”
  • Where do you get the best ideas? In bed, walking, exercising, casual chats.  If we want to learn well, we need the thinking from the conscious brain and also the feeling from the subconscious brian. Walk and talk about your experiments. As you walk and talk you get clearer insights from your subconscious. We used
  • Appreciations and love bombs are warm-ups.
  • Move to a place where you are looking at you own growth and development and the only way to do that is by demanding feedback of yourself.
  • Be a curious. Be bold. Be a champion for positive change. 
  • Experiment. And most of all have fun along the way.
  • Be more agile, collaborative and inclusive.
  • Better energy, better impact. When you get the energy right, life is easy and fun,
  • Find your own inner Elvis, be the best version of you. We can all be that person 🙂

NB: Much of my learnings shared here can be found on Upping Your Elvis and their blog. Knowledge shared is knowledge squared. I intend no infringement on their work or copyright. Thanks to my organisation for such initiatives that enable it to be a great place to work.

References & more readings:

Upping Your Elvis

Compressing your team’s work days to six hours could be possible with a little prioritizing, cutting, automating, and testing.

The Case for the 6-Hour Workday 

Meeting Overload Is a Fixable Problem

How to (politely) turn down requests for things that aren’t worth your time:

9 Ways to Say No to Busywork and Unrealistic Deadlines 

Impact of Meetings on our Brains

The Most Powerful Productivity Tool 

My journey, understanding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Image source:

In December 2002, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 21 as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, to help communities understand the value and richness of cultural diversity, learn how to be inclusive, live together in harmony and achieve prosperity in a sustainable way.

I have been an Inclusion & Diversity champion at my organisation, took part in the “Power of Diversity” week celebrations every year, explored on this topic, out of personal interest and wanted to journal a few of my learnings over the last few years.

My understanding of diversity during my young age was through the school textbook lesson “Unity in Diversity.” During the initial years of my career, I thought it was all about having an inclusive environment for people from various cultures and also for people with disabilities. The companies I worked with over the last few years, made conscious efforts to create awareness on how to appreciate Diversity and be Inclusive of people from various cultures, social status, people with disabilities, people from LGBTQIA+ community, different generations and other diverse backgrounds. These efforts have helped me better understand what Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging means,  enabling me to create psychological safety, inclusive environment, and appreciate people from diverse backgrounds, for who they are.

Diversity: The presence of differences within a given setting. Each individual is unique. In the workplace, that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and socioeconomic class.  It can also refer to differences in physical ability, veteran status, whether or not you have kids — all of those are components of diversity. When we think of diversity in the workplace, we often think of physical, visible differences. However, it’s important to be mindful of diversity of thought. “From a business standpoint, different perspectives directly influence a product — how it’s made, who it serves, how it functions and so on. More perspectives make for a better product.” People from diverse backgrounds with varying life experiences can thrive personally and professionally.

Equity: The act of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Equity takes into account the fact that not everybody is starting at the same level.

Inclusion: Attitudes and behaviours that create a place where people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives feel a sense of belonging. This means that everyone feels comfortable and supported by the organization when it comes to being their authentic selves. In a truly inclusive environment, everyone is valued, welcomed and appreciated, for who they are.


Browsing the internet on diversity, I understand that three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Helping people understand and accept different cultures and creating an inclusive mindset is necessary for peace, stability and sustainable development.

“Just as natural diversity is vital to sustain ecosystems, cultural diversity is the lifeblood of vibrant societies. Cultural diversity provides fresh ideas and perspectives that enrich our lives in countless ways, allowing us all to grow and thrive together. A culturally diverse classroom is not only more inclusive, it boosts student learning and achievement. A culturally diverse workplace is not only more innovative, it is also more productive and economically profitable.” – Irina Bokova, Director General – UNESCO

A few things I learned during the “Power of Diversity” week celebrations: 

One of the wonderful talks I had listened to was by Frans Johansson, in the year 2020, where he spoke on how the Medici family funded people from diverse backgrounds, which accidently led to the Renaissance. The speaker uses the Medici effect as a metaphor for teams to flourish, by deliberately bringing different cultures together in order to create more productivity through the intersection of different ideas, experiences, backgrounds and beliefs.

Nurturing Diversity of Thoughts – Dr Aarti Ramasami

  • Organization as network of conversations. What are the conversations you are having/encouraging?
  • Leveraging Polarities. How do you find synergies in differences?

Inclusion in Action – Rafal Ohme

  • New skills for the hybrid world: Ability to Adapt (agility), Social, Emotional & Technological skills.
  • Emotional Intelligence is a feature the AI will not have.
  • Mirror neurons – helps to feel the emotions of others and sense their intentions.
  • Loneliness & depression would be the most important threat in the digital world.
  • Reward yourself as often as possible.
  • Socialise. Wait for no occasion to celebrate. In a few cultures, people don’t wait for an occasion. They meet in the middle of the week to have dinner together. 
  • Life policy – social relationships will support, motivate and make you happy.
  • Physical proximity becomes a privilege in a hybrid world. Dining together at work would become a privilege. Oxytocin reduces cortisol levels. Gives enormous pleasure. It enhances immunological systems.
  • “Social people, who meet regularly in a regular group, even to eat together and gossip, have a better chance of living longer than those who quit smoking, lose weight or exercise regularly” – Susan Pinker, The Village Effect

Using the Power of Diversity to Drive Innovation – Navi Radjou

Congruence – Alignment to harmony. Does your workforce diversity reflect growing market diversity.

Best Practice #1: Create change agents to shift culture on all levels.

Ref: Chevron Partners with Catalyst to Advance Gender Equality 

Best Practice #2: Reframe what you unconsciously perceive as weakness in others as super strengths.

Ref: Neurodiverse Like Me. How SAP’s Autism at Work program helped… | by Carrie Hall 

Best Practice #3: Create communities of passion that unites diverse people based on shared interests.

Ex: Communities of Passion at the design company, Frog.

Slides from Deloitte Insights, referenced by the speaker.

 Acting on Inclusion – Arriving At A Place Of Belonging – Dr Curtis Odom.

  • Think of your employees as people first. They should feel a sense of belonging.
  • People struggle with “speak up” because people struggle with feeling uncomfortable.
  • The tell-tale sign: when the most vocal people become silent.
  • Inclusion is a behaviour. Cultivate a culture of inclusion.
  • Create a culture of belonging.
  • Leaders are the culture.
  • “Belonging requires the safety to believe that, “I matter.” To matter, we must know that our mistakes, our misconceptions, and our misgivings have room for grace. I believe that grace is one of the most powerful tools a leader can have.”
  • A tender heart and a compassionate disposition can also make a great leader.
  • Micro Affirm
    • Bring people into conversation
    • Ask for their opinion
    • Recognize their achievements and vocalize
    • Take personal interest in someone’s personal life
    • And most importantly, be an ally when you see others being treated unfairly
    • Reverse mentoring as a tool . Listen to people. Ask questions. Be curious. 

Provide psychological safety, give credit, find the gaps, provide wellbeing support. Foster an environment where everyone can ‘Speak Up’ and speak their minds

“Psychological safety in the workplace means that every single person in an organisation is able to bring their whole self to work. No hiding, no censoring and no pretending to be someone else. From this space, people communicate and collaborate effectively, and a culture of curiosity and creativity is cultivated.” – Gina Battye, Consultant & Trainer.

In this short article Mike Robbins explains, how a lack of “…psychological safety makes it difficult for the group or company to thrive and perform at their highest level because people are holding back some of who they really are.” If I feel included, I feel welcomed. I can be me and bring the best everyday.

Also had the opportunity to listen to Mr. Siddharth Jayakumar. Couldn’t compile the notes. You can listen to his talks here:

Recognizing Privilege – Social Inequalities Explained in a $100 Race 

‘Working hard’ doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t also benefit from privilege afforded by race, gender, economic wealth, education, access to healthcare – the most effective way to address it, is to recognise that it exists!

  • Privilege is not the suggestion that a person has never struggled and that everything they have accomplished is unearned. Instead, privilege should be viewed as a built-in advantage, separate from one’s level of income or effort.
  • Privilege is greater access to social power and resources available to some people because of their social group membership; an advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed above other groups. It is often invisible to those who have it.

“Privilege isn’t about what you’ve gone through, it’s about what you haven’t had to go through.” Janaya Khan, Co-founder of BLM Toronto

Most of us have some form of privilege. We can all, in one way or another, step up as an ally to someone else.

Being an Ally

An Ally is an individual who speaks out and stands up for a person or group that is targeted and discriminated against. An Ally works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for people who are stigmatised, discriminated against or treated unfairly.

Allies may come from dominant or majority groups or from other oppressed groups and still use their sphere of influence to effect positive change for others. Regardless of background or motivation, all allies are united by the common belief that everyone deserves equal treatment.

At its highest point, inclusion is expressed as feeling confident and inspired.”

Characteristics of the emerging generations and generational differences. Source:

During the celebration of World Day for Cultural Diversity, at office, colleagues from across the world shared their cultural uniqueness, festivals, customs, traditions, attire, food, language, music, sports…etc., which was all a sheer pleasure to read. I wanted to present one story that I cherished the most: 

“The culture of respect is one of the most important values in Japanese society. It is reflected in Japanese language, manners and customs. We have a national holiday called “Respect for the aged day” in September, to honour elderly people. Many people send gifts to grandparents, and sometimes elder people in the community to show respect and wish for long and healthy life.” – from a fellow colleague. 

Before closing, I also wanted to share my cultural story. Born in an agricultural family, I have had a very humble beginning and spent my childhood in a village in Tamil Nadu, India. We speak Tamil and the customary attire for us are the Pudavai, Veshti, and Sattai. We eat rice-based foods. The breakfast most farmers in our locality had was predominantly the Palaya Soru (fermented rice from the previous days left over) and occasionally Upma, Idli or Dosai. We also have a local signature dish called Arisiyum Paruppum Saadham (Ariseem Paruppu). The important festivals we celebrate at home are Pongal (farmers thanking the God after the harvest), Deepavali (festivals of lights, celebrating the defeating of demons) and the local village festivals.

I was lucky enough to clear an entrance test, was granted scholarship and studied from class 6 to class 12, in a military public school and hence am a beneficiary of Equity & Social Justice. The good education I received also created better opportunities later in life, which has been a Privilege. Also, having good friends & relatives, whose support helped me come out of turbulent times is a Privilege. Gratitude 🙂


Here are a few simple things that YOU can personally do to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development:

  1. Visit an art exhibit or a museum dedicated to other cultures
  2. Learn about another religion
  3. Plan an international movie night
  4. Listen to a musical tradition from a different culture
  5. Play a sport related to a different culture
  6. Invite a friend over and cook traditional food
  7. Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures
  8. Volunteer with an organization working for diversity and inclusion
  9. Learn another language
  10. Spread the word around you, family, friends and invite people from a different culture to share your customs.

Book Recommendations:

References and additional readings:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Glossary 

List of Cognitive Biases – Wikipedia 

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – UN 

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – Wikipedia

Keri Norris: Hiding in Plain Sight: What’s Missing in Health Equity | TED Talk 

Diversity and Inclusion – HBR

DEI Gets Real – HBR 

Do Your Employees Feel Respected? – HBR

5 Terms You Should Learn to Become a Better Ally – HBR 

Be a Better Ally 

Melinda Briana Epler: 3 ways to be a better ally in the workplace | TED Talk 

Allyship: What It Means to Be an Ally in Social Work 

The Ally Nudge

How to Be a Mental Health Ally – HBR

A blueprint for diversity in the workplace | TED Talks 

Peggy McIntosh: How to recognize your white privilege — and use it to fight inequality | TED Talk

What is “normal” and what is “different”? | TED Talk 

Emily Quinn: The way we think about biological sex is wrong | TED Talk 

UNESCO and Sustainable Development Goals

How diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) matter | McKinsey 

The diversity and inclusion revolution: Eight powerful truths Deloitte Review, issue 22 

The Genderbread Person

Stories – Gender Spectrum 

Sex Redefined: The Idea of 2 Sexes Is Overly Simplistic – Scientific American

Workforce DEI: 12 Steps Every Company Should Take 

What Does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Mean in the Workplace? 

How To Create Belonging In The Workplace Without Undermining Diversity 

Bring Your Whole Self To Work

She Coined the Term ‘Intersectionality’ Over 30 Years Ago. Here’s What It Means to Her Today

How science is helping us understand gender 

Kimberlé Crenshaw on What Intersectionality Means Today | Time

Kimberlé Crenshaw and Lady Phyll Talk Intersectionality, Solidarity, and Self-Care — UKBP 

The Digital Teacher: Schools : Let’s talk about Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 

Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive | National Center for Transgender Equality 

 Should You Put Pronouns In Email Signatures And Social Media Bios?

Why I Put Pronouns on my Email Signature?

100 Powerful Diversity And Inclusion Quotes for a Stronger Company Culture 

How Diversity of Thought Can Fit into Your DEI Strategy 

Hiding in Plain Sight: What’s Missing in Health Equity | Keri Norris | TEDxEmory 

Keri Norris: Hiding in Plain Sight: What’s Missing in Health Equity | TED Talk 

Melinda Briana Epler: 3 ways to be a better ally in the workplace | TED Talk

Be Kind, Be Inclusive, Be an Ally, Create a Safe Space 🙂


June – the Pride Month brings us an opportunity to educate ourselves, empathize, be an Ally, and be kinder to all.

July – the Disability Pride Month, celebrates disabled persons embracing their disabilities as integral parts of who they are, reclaiming visibility in public and interacting fully with their disabilities out in the open, and rejecting shame and internalized ableism. AmeriDisability describes Disability Pride as “accepting and honoring each person’s uniqueness and seeing it as a natural and beautiful part of human diversity” and connects it to the larger movement for disability justice.

A few more notes from the Power of Diversity events of 2022:

Health Equity –  everyone has fair opportunity to be healthy.

Bias can be a big barrier to inclusion.

Supplier diversity programs open doors, creates socio-economic impact with a fairer economy and fairer distribution of wealth, by maximising opportunities to the less privileged or businesses owned by under represented population. IMPACT: Creates a positive chain reaction. Improves the entire community that was disadvantaged.

Being inclusive is embracing everyone. When everyone is included, everyone wins.

We need equity because not everyone is starting at the same point in life. Some people cant use stairs and need some equitable access. Accessibility.

Equity means widening the gate not lowering the bar. Equity is not reverse discrimination.