"In all human affairs, there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result." - James Allen.
You can't create diversity in your organization. You can identify and remove the systems that prevent diversity from flourishing.
You can't create inclusion in your organization; You can identify the systems in your culture that value only a particular way of working, specific roles, and certain types of employees.
You can't create equity in your organization; You can identify ways your organization operates in systems of inequality. You can examine and identify the barriers you have developed that prevent equality from flowing through your organizational practices and develop a strong appreciation and value for differences beyond optics and ratios.
Diversity naturally exists in environments with a balance that allows it to thrive.
Equity happens as we practice removing barriers or creating new paths that restore equality; Equity dismantles inequitable systems. You can only see where you operate in inequality if you listen to the needs, act on the wisdom of, and be held accountable to the voices you have historically shut out and diminished.
Inclusion happens when you stop making excuses and start listening to, acting on, and being held accountable to the individuals that are not a part of the "inner circle." It's when you make considerations, and changes in the "way things are done." It is when you stop valuing your historical practices and systems over those who see and experience inequality in them. Inclusion knows that systems of equality serve everyone and therefore are worth your time, effort, commitment, and consistency.
I can't tell you how often I see the same story repeatedly replayed in different organizations. A DEI professional is hired to fix a problem they didn't create. They come with their wisdom and ideas. They are given a bobby pin, a piece of lint, and a broomstick and told to produce results. (I'm being facetious here, but follow me.) They get creative, use their time, exert emotional labor, and work through the ancestral trauma of inequality, oppression, and erasure. They present a beautiful plan. They make something out of nothing, only to be rejected and redirected to an effort that will not bring real change. They are silenced, suppressed, and without support. Their hands are tied, and they cannot do the job you hired them to do successfully. They carry the responsibility, but the organization needs to take the responsibility to listen, be held accountable, commit, and consistently make changes within its systems.
Companies: At this moment, you see a collection of what your leadership collectively valued and what your administration decided in the past. If you want to change it, you must be pulled into a vision of the future, value something new, choose something new, and become something new.
Listen to your DEI professionals, and do everything you can to provide them with what they need and ask. It is necessary, or they would not be asking for it. Be flexible, be patient, and do not abort the mission. Stay committed and consistent. Be willing to be held accountable. If you need accountability and you don't know where to start, please reach out to me at www.weareoneco.com
DEI Professionals: Inspire the change but also stand your ground. You took this role because you wanted to create an impact, don't give up and collect the paycheck. Be empowered and confident in what you see, and be firm in your conviction and knowing. Do not bear the burden of the organizations' failures to act. Refrain from commiserating; it wastes your time and focus. Instead, have a safe and healing place to release, recharge, and reclaim your power.
Going Beyond the Breakthrough is a free support session available for DEI Professionals and Organizations looking to be on the leading edge of social change and progress. If you are interested in participating, please pre-register at www.weareoneco.com/preregister.
Transformation is a process, commit to your role in it and we will see our world changed for the good of all.
Standing In Unity,