There were three main components to the program. Virtual large-group sessions were interactive, experiential opportunities for participants to explore what it meant to Be Better and Do Better. These sessions were bridged by a series of short films based on the lived experience of the people at Brown-Forman, embedded in a simple, self-paced e-learning module that explored foundational diversity concepts, such as intersectionality, microaggressions/affirmations, and privilege. To keep the work continually front of mind, participants explored those online modules and then met in Leader Learning Circles to discuss the content in small groups.
“If I had to summarize my experience of going through this program, I would say it was uncomfortable. At moments it was difficult – and it was necessary”. Jeremy Shepherd SVP, President, USA and Canada
The strength of the Lead Better program was its ability to react to the environment. While the content was planned prior to launch, the program team demonstrated agility by responding to the rapidly changing and uncertain global environment in 2020. As the work progressed, the discussion began to focus on the collective response required from leadership to some of the ‘wicked problems’ created by a changing world. As Leaders began to shift their behaviors to be more inclusive, their teams began to open up and speak up. The increased psychological safety meant that Leaders became more approachable and were faced with questions that required them to respond with Curiosity, Humility, and Courage – the cornerstones of what it meant to ‘Be Better’ at Brown-Forman. Some of the concerns that arose, which we described as ‘wicked problems,’ were not linear and required leaders to demonstrate Versatility, Allyship, and Accountability – the behaviors defining ‘Do Better.’ Here the program flexed to allow additional space for leaders to work together as a community to consider the ‘most right’ responses and to allow those values to drive decisions.