Episode 226 | The Role of Anti-Oppression in Group Practice Accountability with Dr. Nathalie Edmond
WITH Dr. Nathalie Edmond
- Episode 226 | The Role of Anti-Oppression in Group Practice Accountability with Dr. Nathalie Edmond 00:00
Have you ever wondered how to effectively incorporate anti-oppression into your accountability practices?
In this episode, Dr. Nathalie Edmond and I dive deep into this important topic. We discuss the significance of going beyond one-time trainings and integrating accountability into the very fabric of your practice. We also explore the challenges of putting theory into practice when it comes to anti-racism and anti-oppression work. Additionally, we touch on the importance of inclusive leadership teams, humanizing policies, and evaluating performance through an anti-oppression lens. If you’re looking for resources and trainings to support your journey towards creating an inclusive and accountable practice, Dr. Edmond has got you covered. Join us to learn more about:
- The importance of integrating anti-oppression into accountability practices
- Moving from theory to practice in anti-racism and anti-oppression work
- The need for ongoing evaluation and adjustment
- Creating inclusive leadership teams
- Developing humanizing policies
- Evaluating performance through an anti-oppression lens
If you’re ready to take your practice to the next level and create a truly inclusive and accountable environment, this episode is a must-listen. Dr. Edmond’s expertise and resources will provide you with the guidance and support you need to work towards accountability practices that are more equitable for all.
Thanks for listening! Like what you heard? Give us 5 stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra support? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners on our website www.thegrouppracticeexchange.com/exchange. Talk to you next time!
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Maureen Werrbach (00:00:01) – You’re listening to the group Practice Exchange podcast where the business development resource for group practice owners, where we talk candidly about business ownership and leadership from practice building tips to live coaching to real talk episodes with other group practice owners where the resource you’ve been looking for to help you grow your group practice. I’m your host, group practice owner and entrepreneur Maureen Werrbach.
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Maureen Werrbach – Hey everyone, Welcome to another episode of the Group Practice Exchange podcast. Today I have Dr. Natalie Edmondson with me and we’re going to be chatting about the role of anti-oppression when it comes to accountability as a group practice owner. I’m really excited to talk about this, but really quickly want to introduce her. She’s a licensed clinical psychologist and a consultant who focuses on justice, equity and diversity and inclusion. She’s also an adjunct professor who teaches a graduate class on multiculturalism and feminism. She’s an anti-racism trainer and a director of a college counseling center and a group practice owner like all of us. And she also hosts a membership community called the Anti-Racism Revolution. Hi, Natalie. How are you?
Nathalie Edmond (00:02:17) – Good, good, good. So good to see you, Maureen.
Maureen Werrbach (00:02:19) – Oh, I love when you get to come on, because I feel like it’s our time to chat beforehand.
Maureen Werrbach (00:02:23) – So before recording, we got to catch up on each other’s lives, and we definitely don’t do it enough. I feel like that’s great.
Nathalie Edmond (00:02:32) – Yeah.
Maureen Werrbach (00:02:32) – So you are one of the people that’s coming with me to support me on this new program, The Accountability Equation, and you specifically are supporting the people who join the accountability equation, specifically when it comes to how we can set up accountabilities through an anti oppressive lens. It was something that I was thinking about when I was building. This is like as a white business owner and leader, how can I and our leadership team be putting together accountabilities that takes anti-oppression into consideration? And I feel like this is especially for white leaders or non-black leaders, like looking at this and trying to figure out how do I know if the expectations that I’m setting and the accountabilities that I’m setting for my team at large, but especially with my leadership, how are we making sure that it’s coming from an anti oppressive lens? So that’s what we were going to chat about today.
Nathalie Edmond (00:03:32) – Yeah.
Nathalie Edmond (00:03:33) – Yeah. I’m so glad that you’re talking about accountability, because if I think about the way of group practice owners who did anti-racism trainings in 2020, 2021 that like at one time training or A33 part training isn’t enough to build accountability without additional anchors, right. Is that we can have good intentions. But if it’s not built into your culture and to your infrastructure, it’s not in your job description and your performance reviews. It can quickly, you know, get lost in all the other busyness, everyday group practice life.
Maureen Werrbach (00:04:06) – Yeah. And, you know, just from my own group practice, you know, my employees, especially my leadership team very well and some of the employees, because you’re involved as a person who supports my practice from that lens. So, you know, especially in my practice, the struggles we’ve had over the years shifting from what was me going through my anti oppressive journey to realizing that just because I am doesn’t mean that the business is so then figuring out how can we ensure that the people in the practice align with it.
Maureen Werrbach (00:04:41) – And there’s been so many steps along the way to that that I went through just through mistakes and stuff of simple things like making sure that our job description and our website in every way we communicate for new hires or people looking to apply that, that’s part of the communication and the language in all of that. And then even with in terms of when we interview making sure that we see an enthusiastic alignment to it and not just a Yep, oh, that’s cool. But realizing that I thought that that would be enough, that that doesn’t actually translate either to, you know, a team that can be accountable when it comes to doing their own work to make sure that what they do as clinicians, how they communicate with each other as colleagues is through that anti oppressive lens. So there’s been a lot of, as you know, iterations for us in my group practice to getting to a place where I feel like we’re in a good space of feeling confident that we know how to hold people accountable through that lens. But it’s not an easy one.
Maureen Werrbach (00:05:41) – And it felt like a years long process.
Nathalie Edmond (00:05:44) – Yeah, Yeah. It’s probably a lifelong process, right? Yeah. And it’s been nice to see your team’s evolution over the year. And I think even the monthly leadership meeting that’s focused on anti-racism is a way that you have said, I’m going to build this infrastructure into their calendars so that they have this monthly forum where they’re going to building the muscle of racial literacy intersectionality. What are the challenges that they’re having of implementing this? And when I think of accountability, I think of shared ownership. Yeah, right. And so this idea of, yeah, it’s great. Like all the things you mentioned, it’s great to have it on the website. It’s great having the job. It’s great to ask about it on the interview and. And then how does it become part of everyday life? Because think sometimes people think of anti-oppression as like, you know, when you think about like finance, marketing, anti-racism or anti-oppression, like these are little different prongs. But then I think about, but what if you moved anti-oppression to the center and it’s weaved into everything? So when I’m thinking about my intake coordinator, like how are they moving in anti-racism anti-oppression? When I think about all the different people in my life, even my accountant like, Oh, how are they giving anti-racism direction? And that takes years of work and commitment and energy and persistence.
Nathalie Edmond (00:07:07) – Yeah.
Maureen Werrbach (00:07:08) – One of the things that I noticed in kind of trying to get to a space that feels right when it comes to micro practice and everyone as a whole was that there was a point where we had in some ways the right people, like we had the people who didn’t align with it or didn’t want to do any sort of work with it had left realize that they’re not a fit in that sort of way. But we went through like another kind of obstacle of where the people we had were very. Aligned in theory. Maybe they wanted the business to do all of the anti oppressive work like set policies so that we can see people for free. Or do you know, like it was very focused on the business and where we were like, Yes, as leaders we’re looking at our systems and processes and ways that we can be in the community that take that into consideration. The business is an entity. The humans are the ones that make anti-oppression work or not work. And so you do have to be involved beyond just agreeing that you want to work at a practice that focuses on anti oppression.
Maureen Werrbach (00:08:22) – So we notice the space of acknowledgment and then resistance of doing the work. And so I think it took like a whole nother Sierra, you know, in my practice recently, like has made some shifts because it was very she would do trainings and then not a lot of people would show up, right? Because it was outside of their hours or whatever, right? Even though everyone’s salaried and it still is a paid thing to and it had a book club and all these things that were very minimally attended. And what she knows is she’s like, Let me try something different. And she shifted to having each location share each month. One thing that they want to learn more about when it comes to anti-oppression and that they are now almost part of the it’s like interactive more.
Nathalie Edmond (00:09:12) – That’s the shared ownership.
Maureen Werrbach (00:09:13) – Yep, yep. And the one of the the first one that she did so far, she was like it was so well attended. And so I don’t know. I think part of accountability is being able to see when something’s working or not working and taking that ownership to adjust and see like, how can we make sure that it’s working for everyone and that it’s working for us? Right? We could on paper have 100%, you know, if we had a form that said, Do you agree with urban wellness is anti oppressive stance and we get 100% from our employees.
Maureen Werrbach (00:09:44) – But if we ask the question around regular daily engagement from you as a person inside and outside of work from an anti oppressive lens, it probably would be a much lower percentage like how do you. Yeah, you know, yeah.
Nathalie Edmond (00:09:59) – And it makes me think about how many times people might go to an anti-racism or anti-oppression training and at the end they would say, well, what am I supposed to do now? Right? And so how do you go from theory to practice? And I think some people just need prompts of like, what would it actually look like to embody this, to be accountable to this? How would this show up? And the other thing I hear a lot from predominantly white practices where our practices that see predominantly white clients is sometimes they think, well, how do I do interviews in here? Is it even relevant here if I’m a white? The notion being white clients and it absolutely is relevant, but I think sometimes we haven’t been trained as clinicians to be able to figure out, well, how does race show up? Even if we have the same race and it’s white? And so like how I feel like that’s a different skill set than a white clinician working with a Bipoc right? So those are different skill sets that people have to learn in practice.
Maureen Werrbach (00:10:58) – Yeah, that’s a good point. And I’ve heard practice owners say the same thing when I talk about anti-racism and anti-oppression in just the coaching piece. Obviously I don’t do anti oppressive coaching, but I like to weave that in and make sure that they know that this is something that should be a part of their own when they’re doing any visionary work. But I’ve heard the same sort of concern of like I’m in an all white area, I have all white staff and how am I supposed to work on this if our clients are all white as well? And it’s like if you’re doing your own work, you’ll recognize how important it is for white folks to talk to other white folks, right? Especially when it comes to it is us that needs to be doing the work. So it’s like that’s something that should be done. I want to shift to the accountability piece. If we think about us as business owners and our leadership teams, one of the things that I had been thinking about when I was putting together the accountability equation is how to ensure that the accountabilities that we’re setting up are actually inclusive, that they’re not disproportionately affecting certain groups.
Maureen Werrbach (00:12:13) – I guess one of the answers that I’ve come to is you kind of mention it, the sharing power. And I believe the best thing that I can do as a leader is when my leadership team is coming up with their own accountability things they need to be accountable for to be successful is that they’re co-creating those accountabilities with me. But I was wondering if you had any other insights around that from all of your trainings.
Nathalie Edmond (00:12:37) – One of the things I always invite people to think about when they’re creating policies or practices or. Procedures is to think about like kind of like when we talk about like Avatar, like who is your avatar? Like, who was this policy created for? Who will benefit from it? Who will be able to comply with this with ease and who will have challenges doing that? And so, like I often think of like the wheel of power and privilege, which has hierarchy of all the different identities. And I think particularly if we’re thinking about like, what are our identities are, that’s the perspective that we see the world through.
Nathalie Edmond (00:13:10) – And so if we don’t have enough diversity and by diversity, I mean like a broad spectrum of diversity, a diversity of ideas on our leadership team, it will be hard to know that there’s a bias there. So like, think about policies that are, you know, most policies are neurotypical. So the people who are neurotypical tend to be able to have more ease and being able to comply with those or live into those. And so you don’t have any proximity, gender diversity, then you’re not going to be able to perceive that. And then that’s how harm happens. So I think about like the importance of consultation, somebody who has a broader perspective than maybe exists within you or on your leadership team to be able to bounce off ideas. And I think part of it is I think we’re in this transition where we have more recognition that there is so many different kinds of diversity out there, and yet we still live in a very, for lack of a better word, like white supremacy, a slow grind culture that doesn’t encourage rest or even sometimes people’s full humanity.
Nathalie Edmond (00:14:17) – And so, like, how can we as business owners be willing to humanize our policies to make everyone really thrive? And I think that’s why I always think about like, how can everyone thrive and where can I have guidelines versus hard and fast rules? Yeah, because I think it’s the hard and fast rules that often create harm.
Maureen Werrbach (00:14:35) – And I think that was probably something I struggled a lot with as a person who tends to be rigid, just mentally rigid with myself and sets up, you know, what’s right, what’s wrong. I’ve always like that. And I remember that being a really difficult thing to just become aware of and then work at minimizing. I think that’s a really good point. And also that you mentioned this once to me. There is never when it comes to not only your own work, I felt like that was obvious to me. Like the journey to anti-oppression doesn’t end. But there was something you said. I won’t be able to say it exactly, but that you’ll always be forgetting someone or a group of people when coming up with policies that may be better.
Maureen Werrbach (00:15:21) – Supporting one marginalized group. It could be at the opposition of another because there’s so much to consider that when we focus on one, we might be forgetting about another marginalized group and that although that’s not okay, the okay part is acknowledging that it’s going to happen. And not to be like stuck in this perfectionistic cycle, which I can easily get into of defeated perfectionism like I’ll never be able to do this perfectly and think about every marginalized group and come up with a policy that works for everyone. Right. And it was you that said that isn’t possible. And there has to be some almost like acceptance that it’s going to happen. But then a quick turnaround to, okay, well, how can I fix that? That to me didn’t compute initially. It was like there has to be a way to make every policy and procedure truly anti oppressive for everyone.
Nathalie Edmond (00:16:13) – Right? Yeah.
Maureen Werrbach (00:16:14) – I could see people getting stuck by that and then just saying, forget it, you know?
Nathalie Edmond (00:16:17) – Yeah. Which think brings like a different kind of accountability as who do I run my policies by, right.
Nathalie Edmond (00:16:24) – Is it my team? Is it, you know, mastermind group or whatever it is like who do I run it by so that a different pair of people eyes or like taking a look at this and also I think about how much sometimes being accountable to people means slowing down, right? And sometimes we’re in that mode of like, want to get it done quickly and so, like, remember you and I and your leadership team having a conversation about this a couple of years ago where like you wanted to like implement an accountability of like, these are the agreements we’re all agreeing to be in relationship with each other. Right? And, and I was like, Well, maybe we could collaborate. It sounds it’s a great list, and yet it’s more top down, which is one leadership style.
Maureen Werrbach (00:17:08) – Well, not one that I wanted. And I’m so glad you brought that up. For those that don’t know, we were trying to come up with like a pledge, a list of things that we would as a practice that everyone in the practice would agree to and that it was a pledge items from an anti oppressive stance.
Maureen Werrbach (00:17:23) – And I and the leadership team built them and then kind of came to you, Natalie, and we’re like, hey, this is what we were thinking. And then so just for listeners who don’t know this, you then.
Nathalie Edmond (00:17:33) – That was the that was the accountability. Yeah. You were coming to me. Yep.
Maureen Werrbach (00:17:38) – And then you were like, I don’t know how how receptive people. Are going to be to having to pledge to something that they weren’t a part of building. And so it was such great feedback because then we scrapped that whole thing and had two hour Zoom meetings across our whole practice where people could come and be a part of adding items that they think should be a part of the pledge. And then we had one big one, which is in every office. I still look at it, you know, when we’re in there. So that’s just one example of sharing that accountability because people are going to be more willing to follow accountability that they’re a part of building.
Nathalie Edmond (00:18:16) – Yeah. And then you can onboard new people into what was already created with the people who were there.
Maureen Werrbach (00:18:21) – Yeah, I wanted to ask, so with accountability comes evaluations, right? Like making sure that people are doing what they’re accountable for. What feedback do you have around whether it’s like a leader like me who might be or business owner who is holding their leadership team accountable? Or from the perspective of all the leaders in the practice who have to hold their teams accountable when thinking about evaluations. How do we consider any systemic or structural factors, whether it’s like bias or discrimination or oppression, but like not from an obvious stance, right? From like some of those more that can go unrecognized maybe by people who are doing the anti oppressive work. So it’s not like those obvious it’s almost like the iceberg, you know the iceberg. You shared one. Yeah, Like I’m thinking the ones that really require conscious. Yes. I just think about how leaders, once they are doing this accountability program, although it’s a part of our communication throughout this whole thing to make sure that we’re talking about how does anti-oppression show up in this? But like when we’re then holding people accountable, that’s where I feel like the most dangerous part of discrimination or oppression or microaggressions can happen.
Nathalie Edmond (00:19:44) – I don’t know. Right. Yeah. Well, I guess I think about like, is the evaluative process grounded in anti-oppression? That would be one thing, because sometimes people have been trained in kind of traditional corporate models, which tend to be. Shaming or punitive. If someone is not meeting expectations. So I think about like if we are conceptualizing performance reviews or evaluations as think about like radical candor like or just like transparent communication about things, people are doing well and then areas of growth and development. And so one of the reasons I like accountability is that someone doesn’t have to believe in anti oppressive ideology and they can still be accountable to that paradigm. Yeah, right. Because we might hire people who like, you know, I’m not that interested in anti-racism but want this job. Right. But if we have parameters that are very clear about what we expect from them, they can fulfill that and be accountable to that without having to buy into anti-racism. And so I think being very clear, what does that actually mean to be anti-racist or oppressive is that I’m going to be discussing or conceptualizing or being curious about how race may be showing up or how gender sexuality may be showing up, things that are a little bit more clear about what we’re asking them to do.
Nathalie Edmond (00:21:09) – Because I think sometimes we just say we want you to be anti-racist, anti, oppressive without like and as evidenced by blah blah, blah, then we’re actually doing the employee a disservice because we’re not anchoring them to like, what do we actually evaluate? What are we actually wanting to see? And so I think taking some time to think about like, what does that actually mean in my practice?
Maureen Werrbach (00:21:32) – I like that. I know we’re hitting the end here. I wanted to just one say thank you as always. I feel like as often as I can, I loop you into my work because I feel like it needs to be a part of everything that a business owner practice owner does. So I want to thank you for spending time with me today on this. And then for those who don’t know you, and that would mean that you just haven’t been listening to my podcast long enough because Natalie’s been on before. But like, for those who want more information, what are you working on that might be helpful for group practice owners and where can they find that?
Nathalie Edmond (00:22:10) – Sure.
Nathalie Edmond (00:22:11) – So I have I still do anti-racism trainings for teams. I offer continuing education events a couple of times a year. I have a membership called the Anti-Racism Revolution, where I offer monthly workshops and resources for people. There’s also a team membership option and individual membership options within there. I have a podcast with another psychologist and so the rest of the weekend where we just talk about how are we embodying the racism anti-oppression into personal and professional life. I have a newsletter, so a lot of different ways because my whole goal is how do we work towards collective liberation? And just like creating businesses that help everyone do well. And I think this is a lifelong journey for sure. So I always appreciate chatting with you and appreciate seeing your own teams abolition over the years. Yeah, it gives me lots of hope. Yeah.
Maureen Werrbach (00:23:05) – I’m so glad that I found you all these years ago inside this big Facebook group that I had and that I took that first personal jump to work with you. And since then, my old practice.
Maureen Werrbach (00:23:18) – So. And then you are also doing a Q&A type thing for the digital accountability equation. People. You will not be in the in-person one, Right? Right. So for those that are in our digital one, you’ll get access to you, I think in a handful of weeks. I think it’s October, early October. Yeah. But yeah. Thank you again for coming on. Thanks, Maureen.
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