Diversity and Inclusion: Getting It

What will you do?

If your team or organization is going to get serious about pursuing additional value or advantage associated with diversity and inclusion this year, it will likely be because you decide to make it so. I spoke to a lot of HR professionals in 2011 and one of the things that I heard a lot, goes something like this …
“I am totally on board Joe, but ________ just does not get it.”
They. Don’t. Get. It.
Your supervisor, your peers, your senior leadership team is not likely going to wake up tomorrow and miraculously get it.
Diversity and inclusion are horribly misunderstood and most leaders do not even know that they don’t get it. And let’s be honest here, that blind spot containing the stuff that we do not know we do not know is pretty big and problematic for all of us.
Bottom line, they are not the problem.
You are.
You are the problem because you get it, but are not doing anything about it. This is the problem. If your organization is not doing anything serous regarding D&I one year from now it will be because you decided to accept that.
Action and leadership on D&I must be provoked.
“We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.” 
-Buckminster Fuller
Getting it and being on board require that you know your role. Prove that you know your role by owning it. 
Light the match.
Spill the paint.
Be the catalyst that your organization needs you to be. I do not know what your gift is, so I do not know what being the catalyst looks like for you, but I can at least share some ideas…
  • Set an example by mixing up your network. Tell others what you are doing, how and why you are doing it, and share this great paper by Ronald Burt which demonstrates the link between diversity in your network of relationships and innovation.
  • Ask questions. Ask your supervisor what diversity and inclusion mean for your organization, ask about the organizations commitment, ask about the investment, the metrics. Don’t get a decent answer? Ask again. If this is something that you truly believe in, then fight for it, take risks, make noise. Or, stop talking about how much you get it. Some of us are called to hard duty. There is probably some easy work to be found in the world, this is not it.
  • Request a D&I speaker for your next team meeting, annual retreat or other event. 
  • Distribute books, articles, blog posts, research related to diversity and inclusion. Start with this great document about unconscious decision making…make sure everyone gets a copy, lead a conversation about it.
  • Introduce and experiment with new meeting / discussion methodologies that inherently value diversity, provide participants the opportunity to contribute differently. A few examples:open space technologyappreciative inquiry
  1. open space technology
  2. appreciative inquiry
  3. world cafe
  4. circle
  5. future search
  6. informed use of blogs and other social media technology can deliver some of the same benefits                         
  • Bring basic conflict management skills into your team or organization. Rather than avoiding conflict, we want to be good at working through it in a healthy and functional way. Help people develop the skills to do that starting with new employee orientation and build it into your leadership model.
Do something.
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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