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Gregory Shepard is a 20-year startup veteran, angel investor, author, and serial entrepreneur with 14 liquidity events under his belt in BioTech, TransTech, AdTech, and MarTech industries, two of which were sold as part of a $925M transaction that won 4 private equity awards for transactions between $250M and $1B. Greg has accomplished all of this while existing with 7 neurodivergent conditions including Autism and Dyslexia. As a Forbes Book Author and Contributor, and Forbes Podcast Host, his work has been featured or quoted in publications including Fortune, Entrepreneur, The New York Observer, The DEAL, and Thrive Global. Greg has appeared on TV, Radio, Podcasts, and has been featured as a TEDx and Keynote Speaker at multiple conferences and universities worldwide. Greg is the co-founder of BOSS Capital Partners, the creator of BOSS (Business Operating Support System), an open-source methodology developed to empower entrepreneurs while increasing startup success rate, and the founder of BOSS Startup Science Academy. Using fearless optimism and steadfast determination Greg is using Silicon Valley’s deal-making culture as a vehicle to spread his message of “Altruistic Capitalism” and inject capital into the hands of fearlessly ambitious, creative, and passionate under served entrepreneurs looking to spark positive change in the world. Credit: Gregory Shepard
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Insights shared with Brian Foley | On Record, March 2022
A few ways to manage such personalities entail (sample excerpt below):
- Accept what you see is what you get. You're not there to change people but to understand how to co-exist with them. If their behaviors conflict with good Samaritan and human resource guidelines (per state and national level), the employee needs to take action to mitigate their circumstances. Unfortunately not many companies with a formal Human Resources and General Counsel are equipped to address these concerns. Ensure your company is enforcing employee standards across the board. If they're not, they're liable for exercising a bias if these minor differences escalate to severe concerns in the eyes of the law.
- Learn to communicate with more confidence and affirmatively when co-existing with toxic personalities that are likely bullies in the workplace. It's important to hold your ground through clear verbal and written communication. Call them out when they are putting words in your mouth, making up their facts or setting you up against other members in the workplace when you know they are bluffing with intent to intimidate. Shitty people come in all forms of packaging in the workplace. Don’t set yourself up to become a doormat thinking you’ll be rewarded for your martyrdom. It’s not cute. It communicates your lack of self-respect. Period.
- Toxic personalities tend to taint relationships within teams and the organizational culture. It's important that employees continue contributing to the workplace rather than resigning themselves to a situation that is tied to their manager's personality. You are representing yourself first, the company and the brand. When facing conflict in the workplace, it is always encouraged for the employee and the source of conflict to directly address their reservations before any third party intervenes to investigate the situation.
- Learn how to separate your overall being from the toxic landmines that are embedded by insecure bosses craving attention through creating challenges that shouldn't exist in the first place. Toxic personalities breed toxic communication that can set people up against one another through gossip and hearsay that breeds an unhealthy morale in the workplace.
- Learn how to exercise your power by reporting any misconduct or abuse through exercising company hotline and human resource channels. If these channels fail to entertain your concern appropriately, there are county, state and national labor bureau resources that can assist your matter. It's important to first assess if this is an interpersonal matter or a toxic personality that is impacting everyone's work morale and performance. Sometimes people can't distinguish between their own emotions and opinions versus a serious professional concern that needs to be escalated as a red flag. Chances are high these organizations are privy to these toxic personalities (but) what are these companies doing about it?
- If the toxic bosses pose an organizational liability, they are at risk of losing their opportunity. Contingent upon the degree of threat and liability they pose, labor bureaus get involved if the company is negligent. Instead of mirroring the toxic personality, it's important to maintain your sanity by reminding yourself that you are worthy of your opportunity. If you're being cheated out of opportunities and credit is being diminished for your hard work then it's time to seek counsel on alleviating these passive aggressive behaviors that get worse with time. Toxic bosses come from all walks of life. Toxic human behaviors are in need of behavior modification. If such behaviors are tolerated, it's for a set period of time before the organizational liability outweighs the costs of hosting such immature behaviors in the workplace.
- Contributor, Sasha Laghonh
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"Has the Great Resignation dissipated?"
In Conversation with James Merlo | On Record @ March 2022)
The Great Resignation is still active within the United States as there still exist steady waves of resignations among various industries and business sectors. No particular industry is immune from these ripples unfolding with people hosting a change of heart in how they want to live; as well how they choose to work and be treated by their employers. The root cause of these resignations may differ yet this trend will still continue at least 2-3 business quarters moving forward. The resignations came fast in the food and hospitality sector due to the nature of the working conditions accompanied with questionable pay, which triggered (and possibly inspired) workers in other commercial sectors to follow suit. People are discovering and defining their quality of life without having the external environment, not even the economy, dictate whether they should retain their present role or pursue a new job. Many people are resigning without a professional destination in mind. Not all employers are open to hybrid working environments, thus making it easy for people to decide if they want to resume a pre-pandemic lifestyle. While some companies are investing resources to retain talent by finding creative ways to work, not all forms of work permit employees to benefit from these privileges. It appears we have reached the peak of the Great Resignation but it's not all over with waves and ripples. Given how the economy and current events unfold between now and the first quarter of 2023, layoffs may follow that are outside the employees' control. -- Sasha Laghonh, Founder Sasha Talks
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Hi Sasha Talkers & Global Visitors!
As the Global Ambassador for Style My Soul, I am in awe (... it takes a lot to WOW me) by the amount of submissions we've received to share with readers wanting to dress their soul with knowledge. Style My Soul presents a menu of opportunities for individuals and businesses to engage with audiences. Check it out!
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Below is my contribution honoring a request to dispense thoughts on Professional vs. Personal Ethical Conflicts.
Shared Insights with Laura Woods | On Record: June 2022
What strategies do you recommend people take, when faced with a conflict between professional and personal ethics?
First, define your principles and ethics. Sometimes in society people are 'culturally' ethical, they say they believe in certain ideologies yet they fail to practice them. Culturally ethical means they will choose beliefs, like rituals, that align with their end goal to appease whether it's an audience or their conscience. These are fleeting ethics that float around like a leaf in the wind. If the individual has a set of principles they feel strongly about as well as practice them as a lifestyle, then explore which principles are possibly negotiable and non-negotiable. We're not lowering our standards in terms of our personal & professional development. It's important to understand the baseline of one's ethics prior to deciphering our environment by slating everything to fall into an ‘ethical or unethical’ bucket.
Second, we all can benefit from a reality check. Life is gray whether we like it or not. We need to tap within who we are by understanding our comfort zones as well as acknowledging that everyone's reality is derived from different seeds of life. We may come from the same tree but everyone represents some branch or leaf that appears foreign to us. Sensibility needs to be present when identifying and assessing any professional & personal ethics are in question. If we don’t understand a circumstance, it doesn’t automatically yield to be unethical. This is where learning and listening play a key role that can help us decide whether any conflicts go against our personal ethics, family values, cultural influences, religious (or lack of) beliefs and any ideologies that an individual relies upon to strengthen their ethical boundaries. People need to understand hosting a difference in opinion is not the same as adhering to ethics that may vary in some shape or form.
Third, ask yourself whether you can live with the ramifications of co-existing with these personal and professional ethical conflicts. Context matters. For example, it's different if a vegan is working in a meat manufacturing plant because it's the only job available in one's geographic vicinity due to the high unemployment rate in the market. This individual is focused on earning a paycheck to keep their lights on and feeding their family in the name of survival. They may feel professionally conflicted for working in such a setting (which is likely not their first job choice) but at the same time they understand they are not expected to engage in consuming these meat products which still respects their personal ethics. Maybe this person entertained the role due to its generous pay and benefits, which provides for their needs. This person may promise themselves to leave this job once something better comes along, or they may choose to stay as long as they are not being forced to adhere to a certain lifestyle that changes their personal beliefs and lifestyle habits.
On the other hand, if a candidate is facing concerns over remaining in a work environment that is turning into a hotbed of potential lawsuits due to illegal workplace practices, or an entity facing bankruptcy due to their poor business acumen - jump ship. Potential firings without cause, or a celebratory pink slip party will signal layoffs. We all need to pick our battles carefully because there are ethical life trials which challenge our belief systems from time to time. There is no formula for navigating these life challenges, no profession or industry is immune from them.
It's the human condition - what are we truly seeking from life and/or work? What is the price we're willing to pay for achievement without going against ourselves? There is no right or wrong answer. It's a matter of learning how to cope with reality. No workplace is a utopia, it’s the employee’s responsibility to define their utopia and then seek it out. Unfortunately, some organizations lack the demeanor and presentation to exercise authentic practices to protect the organization AND its people from falling prey to lies, scandals and abuse in the workplace. Staying or leaving an unethical organization doesn't make one more virtuous or upstanding of an individual. It's easier to judge than to anticipate that we may find ourselves in such a situation without a warning. It can happen to anyone, anytime and anywhere. As shared earlier, context matters.
How do people justify working for unethical companies?
People need to know their 'why' for taking an opportunity. It doesn't matter if it’s for a paycheck, or whether it's the desire to develop oneself further in a career path. First, we need to acknowledge not all people working in an organization are vigilant enough to recognize their employer is an unethical organization. Second, bad companies do happen to good people. These good people come in all forms and titles willing to contribute to an entity as part of their professional mission. Once it's discovered the organization is unethical, it's the individual’s decision to stay or go. Before making such a decision, we need to explore in what ways is the company unethical - are they not paying their employees on time, are they lying about their financial health, is there verbal abuse or sexual harassment present, is substance abuse overlooked, are employees at risk of physical harm, are customers cheated of products & services, are employees stealing time (and pay) from work, is employee discrimination present, are business documents being forged, is there an pyramid scheme taking place; etc. Before a company is classified as unethical, we need to be careful with all the 'labeling' society practices to force life circumstances to fit some mold. Many people need to become mindful of their lifestyle and professional choices because feelings and reactions will not necessarily dictate whether a company is ethical or not. In the court of law, the justice system will rely upon facts if such professional & personal ethical conflicts eventually evolve into a legal case.
For example, one candidate may legitimately identify unethical practices that can be proven, measured, and classified to help with an investigation. The act of suspecting a company is unethical can be used against an employee as a discriminatory and defamatory measure if the employee can't prove their claims. The latter is dictated by who initiated the investigation and a few additional legal variables. The unfortunate yet tricky reality pertaining to proving unethical behaviors, decisions and outcomes is that time must act as an ally for these alleged claims to unfold. Speaking of time, employees need to assess whether their professional and personal ethical conflicts are situational or persistent. Why and how? Ethics is a space in the professional realm that stirs a lot of questions because there are many technicalities present. This is a reality, not a personal opinion. In my profession, I meet people who are 200% clear with their interpretations of life while others are more realistic as they actively decipher the reality that unfolds before them in the workplace. The audience may immediately judge the overly confident individual to be ignorant, while the realistic employee learns to balance their personal sensibilities alongside their organization's values. We as a society do not control the perceptions of employees, they are accountable for their interpretation of workplace activities.
Should someone leave a position/company they are not ethically aligned with?
If this pertains to someone's personal beliefs, it may be wise to explore new opportunities in the market. The inner resistance due to the inner conflict(s) will not go away. You can fight them, silence them and drown them with distractions (but) they will not go away. Sooner or later, most people turn into the company they keep. It comes down to one's personal threshold. What are they willing to co-exist with? I'm aware most people are not willing to live with an overwhelming feeling in their day to day lives. They want to focus on their work, not constantly fight mental and emotional battles to get through the work day. Life is short, it's not worth the torture. As long as the individual is not facing any form of workplace abuse or being asked to change their values to remain employed, they need to learn how to fight these battles. It's their personal decision which follows a string of ramifications. If it's a professional conflict of interest, it's better to either resolve it while employed, or move on before such conflicts become a potential legal liability. Again, we need to address specific details to weigh the outcomes of staying employed in such organizations. Remaining in such circumstances doesn't improve situations.
Also facing such professional challenges can be a good test of faith and character because not many people question their ethics until they are facing challenges that require a closer look within their belief systems and lifestyle choices. About seventy percent of the time people need to learn how to make better decisions by extracting lessons learned from their life experiences. If people choose to work in third party organizations, they need to host realistic expectations of professional co-existence because this is a business transaction. Some companies receive a bad reputation because the employees they’ve hired are not ideal hires for their culture and business operations. When the standard deviation grows between a company and its staff, it’s time to objectively audit whether good operational efforts are getting lost in poor execution and/or translation, or whether the company needs an intervention to redefine its identity before it’s forced out of existence due to poor performance by its staff.
- Contributor Sasha Laghonh