I work with leadership teams of companies to solve issues. It’s common for these teams to recognize symptoms and solve them, but symptoms are like weeds. You pull them out and, three weeks later, they sprout back up. If I can work with the team to identify the root and discuss the conditions that enable it, then we can solve the issue once and for all.
Rarely do I see more symptom solving than in the context of race, diversity and inclusion. I think this is because it’s hard, uncomfortable and often painful work to get to the root. So instead, those of us in power do the easier thing and address the symptoms.
Here are five questions you can ask yourself as you work to address the root of diversity and inclusion issues at your company.
1. Why are we embarking on a diversity and inclusion initiative in the first place?
If the answer is something like, “Because we’re committed to creating a company where all are welcome,” I’d challenge you to go deeper. Almost every company, explicitly or implicitly, is committed to that idea; but to galvanize everyone in your company, you must go beyond platitudes. Consider Schneider Electric’s diversity statement: “At Schneider Electric, diversity is an integral part of our history, culture and identity. Inclusion is the way we treat and perceive all differences. We want to create an inclusive culture where all forms of diversity are seen as real value for the company.”
2. What does success look like?
To create an inclusive culture, it will require more than powerful words on the wall. What does inclusion look like when your commitment is fully realized?
- Matthew Abrams, “Forbes Coaches Council, Five Questions To Ask When Working To Create A More Diverse Workplace.” (Sep 25, 2019)