What are the tips on how to approach diversity and inclusion?

Leadership Memo 2021- 6

It seems like more and more people are talking about diversity and inclusion lately. I did a deep dive on diversity and inclusion separately in the last two Leadership Memos. Click on them if you need a review. So, how do organizations approach this subject? What I’ve seen is that some achieve a token representation of the full range of human differences and congratulate themselves as if they have an inclusive culture. But that’s not it. Still others train employees to be inclusive by teaching them awareness, understanding, and appreciation for differences. That’s nice, but it’s a coat of paint. When we feel threatened, we get defensive, take counsel from our fears, and go back to our default settings of learned bias. 

I find that a better way is to give people opportunities to practice inclusion. Make it experiential by creating diverse teams and assigning individuals to diverse mentoring or peer coaching relationships.

You learn inclusion when you practice inclusion. Behave until you believe.

Inclusive behavior produces its own confirming evidence. The call to action is simple: affirm the individual worth of other human beings. Do I mean fake it until you feel it? Lease your kindness? Pretend? Wear the mask of an inclusive person? No, I mean earnest striving with real intent.

As you love people with action, you come to love them with emotion.

The feeling of love is the reward of the action of love. In fact, if we fail to serve others, our relationships remain superficial, and even suspicious, until we close the distance. In that closeness, in living, working, eating, and breathing together, regard and affection finally arrive. If you don’t feel the way you want to feel, or know you should feel, toward an individual or group, the passage of time won’t change that, but your actions will. Act yourself into the emotion of love.

If you’d like to know practically what inclusion means in a work environment, come join me on June 24 for an interactive workshop. We’ll explore some common considerations that people fail to realize, even after a year of working from home during this pandemic. We’ll also learn what we can do to make people feel welcomed, accepted, respected, and valued. In the end, we learn how to empower people to contribute their perspective and understanding without the fear of rejection and humiliation. Register here. Hope to see you there! 

Latest happenings:

  1. Come join me in the interactive workshop that I just mentioned, titled ”How to ask people to dance: Creating better spaces to be more inclusive at work”. Register here. It’s being offered in 2 different times:
    • 24 June at 5-6:30pm Pacific / 25 June 8-9:30am HKT, 10-11:30am AEST, 12-1:30pm NZST
    • 29 June at 11am-12:30pm Pacific, 7-8:30pm WAT.

2. I’m offering a more hands-on workshop into diversity and inclusion in September. We are going to learn what diversity and inclusion truly mean in a workplace. We are also going to understand the effect of having diversity but no inclusion, and the relation to psychological safety. In the end, you’ll be able to apply what you learn immediately in your work, whether it be a fully remote environment, or hybrid or completely in person. Buy tickets here and type in “EARLYBIRD” to get a 15% discount!

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