By Brittany Hutson
African Americans have long been taught that the way to succeed in business is to work hard, give 200%, and stay in line with the rules of the game. Well, what happens when you do everything by the book, only to learn that your best really wasn’t good enough? This is the predicament many Blacks know too well and it was no different for Dr. Randall Pinkett.
Five years ago, Pinkett was named the first African American winner of NBC’s hit reality television show The Apprentice, where he competed against 17 other candidates for the opportunity to run one of Donald Trump’s companies for a year. Despite his achievement, Pinkett was asked to share it with a white woman. Angry and insulted, Pinkett objected. This is one moment that Pinkett describes as a “black faces in white places” moment— a point at which it becomes clear that playing well isn’t enough.
In his latest book, “Black Faces in White Places,” co-authored with Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, an assistant professor at the Rutgers Business School, Pinkett offers ten strategies on how you can succeed at playing the ‘ever-changing game’—a metaphor for the challenges minorities face. It’s a ‘game’ that Blacks still haven’t quite mastered. According to the research included in the book, 2.5 percent of executives in Fortune 500 companies were Black in in 1995; today, that percentage is nearly 4 percent. “We have a lot to do as Americans for it to be a level-playing field in this country,” says Pinkett. “That’s one of the messages that we’re really trying to amplify through this book that in 2010, that is unacceptable.”
Here’s a look at the strategies included in Pinkett’s book: