By some accounts we have made some progress. By all accounts there is more progress to be made. What will keep us at least moving forward if not actually sparking a breakthrough to the next level?
Here are five areas of opportunity with significant potential impact.
Values Case for Diversity
First of all, we know that it is important to build a case for diversity that gains significant and sustainable buy-in from key stakeholders. All strategies benefit from this. To get to the next level, how clearly linked to a values case is your diversity proposition? Business cases shift and change. Values weather the storms and anchor our decisions. What is your values case for diversity?
Make explicit connections between the company’s values and their relationship to recognizing, understanding and managing differences.
Senior Leaders Responsibility of Privilege
Secondly, we know that when the senior-most leader owns any initiative, it has a direct impact on its success. Leaders have the power to impact the behaviors of individuals and organizations and often appreciate the privilege of such influence. How does your senior-most leader leverage the responsibility of that privilege to make the success of diversity personal?
Elicit and leverage the senior most leaders personal experience about being diverse and leveraging the diversity of others.
Thirdly, we understand the importance of cascading responsibility through an organization. Senior executives and each successive level of the organization are rarely given an opportunity to constructively debate the what, why, and how’s of diversity strategies and initiatives. They often go along with what is laid out, struggle to credibly represent the mission or strategy of diversity, and default to going through the motions or passing responsibility on to others. What does your organization do to encourage constructive senior level debate? What do you provide as supportive coaching so they can be as credible, capable, and authentic as possible in their roles of driving DEI?
Engage internal or external resources to encourage confidential constructive debate and individual development.
Layers of Diversity
A fourth point, now that you have made some progress increasing diversity representation, you have also increased complexity that includes understanding the dynamics of similarities! What happens as women manage women? As people of color who are leaders manage other persons of color? What happens as over-represented groups notice more and more clusters and pockets of like people?
Solicit feedback from diverse leaders about the complexity of managing differences and similarities.
Sense of Belonging
A fifth opportunity is focused on employees and their experience in organizations. It is understandable that Diversity and Inclusion, expanded to Diversity Equity and Inclusion and for some added Belonging-DEIB. Did you do that assuming that everyone wanted to “belong” to the organization? Did you take time to define it? As an organization, how do you measure an employee’s sense of belonging and what does the organization do to demonstrate how much it values that sense? Is it the same as valuing them? Is a sense of belonging the actually value proposition for all employees?
Accurately assess the employee value proposition.
Thanks for listening to these five areas of opportunity and impact to driving diversity – the dynamics of differences – to the next level.
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