Yeah, yeah – I got it. You’ve done the work, you’ve made changes and you’ve checked the DEI box. Your shop is good to go.
But what if it isn’t? What if some of your people aren’t so sure that anything is better now?
My friend and Royal Smart Person Ed Gurowitz wrote a brilliant post recently about this issue. Check out this paragraph:
Systemic (or cultural) change in an organization starts with the C-suite (and particularly the CEO) taking a two-pronged approach – first doing the work to unearth and take responsibility for their own racism (and sexism, homophobia, etc.) and second, and energized by that work, take a stand that [DEI is] an organizational priority. As Tema Okun points out, even the term DEI betrays a white supremacist bent – Diversity? Only about 60% of the US population identifies as white, and worldwide the figure is much, much lower – so what is [labeled] diversity from a white perspective is very different when seen through targets’ eyes. Equity? Only systemic racism makes this an issue. Inclusion? We will condescend to “include” others, rather than create a culture where inclusion is not an issue.
Tough talk, but a truly inclusive workplace doesn’t happen by coming up with a couple of new rules and checking the DEI box. This is a whole company effort that must be led by the CEO and revisited regularly if it’s to be successful. Hence, the term “leadership.”
Link through to Ed’s post and then put your feet on your desk, rub your chin and think for a while. When you get to the “Great – I know what I think and what I see,” ask yourself this question:
“What would my people tell me they think and they see if they knew it was safe to speak up?”
Their answers may surprise you.
Whenever someone who doesn’t fit is removed, everyone in your shop says the same four words: “What took so long?” They all saw the mismatch and wondered at the boss’ blindness that made for the delay in the removal of the misfit. The point is that you could be unintentionally, yet similarly myopic about DEI.
This is important stuff. Glad to help by being a thinking partner, or you can contact Ed.
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