Excellence is a game changer! When dealing with inequality connected to race, gender, disability, or sexuality, there is one sure way to overcome and overtake – EXCELLENCE! The book, Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness, by Drs. Randal Pinkett and Jeffrey Robinson is very clear about how to change the game and position oneself for success. Politics and the black community can be considered frenemies. Both constantly at odds; yet, both need one another in order to implement desired change or prevent undesired change.
Defining Moments…Excellence…Education…Identity…Purpose…Community……The aforementioned themes are the foundation of the authors’ game changing strategy. When first hearing of the book, the reader may become concerned about the title, message, and intended audience. One may assume the book was written by “angry” black men blaming “the man” or “the system”. On the contrary, the book requires and equips one to look inwardly. There is a common phrase, “Don’t hate the player hate the game.” Drs. Pinkett and Robinson encourage the reader to neither hate the player nor the game. Instead learn one’s own strengths and weaknesses as to become a stronger, more strategic, player who understands the game at a high level.
The book makes it evident that a choice must be made: One can sit on the sidelines and complain, play with an injured spirit, or get in the game with a strategy which will effectively change how the game is played.” Drs. Pinkett and Robinson give a very concrete plan for strategically planning a life of success – better yet – greatness. In order to be an agent of change, one must first be an effective agent. The authors offer a plan for mind-set change and not shallow or superficial rhetoric.
As the title plainly states, there are 10 strategies. Most notable: Demonstrating Excellence, Thinking and Acting Intrapreneurially/Entrepreneurially, andGive back Generously. Of excellence, the authors “believe excellence is achieved when you bring empowering beliefs and old fashioned discipline to the intersection of your true passion and God-given gifts.” (pp.62-63). Of all the strategies in the book, excellence dominates. They challenge he reader to know and establish ones identity. Once that is done, excellence becomes the tool to facilitate perpetual success. The other 9 strategies would fail if not executed with excellence of mind, body, and spirit.
This book, though addressed to the African-American population, is a great tool for all who face glass ceilings, career roadblocks, and political challenges. Advancement is connected to education and excellence. The final thought upon reading the wisdom and life lessons of the authors: “Excellence Not Excuses”. The book says little about the “plight of the black man/woman” except to identify the game, the players, and the rules. It focuses on success rather than inequality and negative expectations. If followed, the book equips the reader with many mental, spiritual, and social exercises educating the reader on how to push beyond acceptance, complacency, excuses, and mediocrity. Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness is a call to action – “DO BETTER and here is how”. Those that already value excellence will answer the call. Those that underestimated the power of excellence and even their own possibility of greatness answer to call to action as a result of reading the book.
Read the first article, Black, politics, and black politics, in the series.
More on Jeffrey A. Robinson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor and Assistant Director
The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development
Rutgers Business School
New Jersey Social Innovation Institute
For more info go to http://www.njsesummit.org/