Building a Solid Foundation for Diversity, Inclusion, Equity and Belonging

Solid Foundation

If your leadership development goal is to learn to guide people in what it takes to achieve inclusion, equity, and belonging, you need ways to work with people’s tendencies to:

  1. react strongly
  2. develop assumptions
  3. see what they expect to see, consciously or subconsciously

In my work with systems change and organizational transformation, I have noticed these tendencies showing up even when the change is said to be wanted by the people. Just as these tendencies show up in the face of unwanted change.

Unexpected Results

If the change/transformation is said to be wanted, why then are people overreacting, developing assumptions, and seeing what they expect to see? Up to and including getting in the way of a successful transformation? Getting in the way of the very outcomes that they have said that they want?

It can feel incongruent and disheartening to witness and experience these normal human tendencies. It can feel as though it is impossible to get the desired outcomes. For the leaders who are committed to leading these organizations as inclusive organizations, it can be both perplexing and frustrating.

Some leaders give up, some overreact and make assumptions of their own. They themselves become a barrier to their desired outcomes. Others sit back and realize that there is something missing in their approach. These are the leaders who are ready to regroup, acquire new knowledge, and then go forward again to their desired outcomes.

Likely, the leaders who are faced with these barriers are pushing too hard, going too fast, and attempting to tell the people how they should think and act. This may happen via new policies and procedures that people are told to follow.

Go Slow to Go Fast

To these leaders, we recommend the importance of “Going slow to go fast”. In other words, take the time at the beginning of your organizational transformation process to develop the foundation that you can build upon. A good, solid foundation that will see you and your organization (family, congregation, community) through to those desired outcomes.

What needs to be in place for a solid foundation?

  1. the people to be involved in implementation, which is basically everyone in the organization, need to have the opportunity to be in open conversations about what diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging mean. They need to have the opportunity for genuine conversations inclusive of their hopes and their fears.
  2. the people to be involved in implementation need to be offered the opportunity to look at the organization and determine if they deem it to be ready for the valuing of diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging. If it is deemed not ready, they need to be given the opportunity to determine what is needed so that the organization can shift into readiness. They might want leadership development, training, facilitated conversations, or more.
  3. the people to be involved in implementation need to be engaged in their own personal sense of being included and belonging so that it is a reality from which they can go forward. Adjustments are likely needed so that people can grasp that inclusion and belonging is their own experience in the organization. Engagement goes beyond abstract thinking on these topics, into the lived experience of those who are being asked to value diversity and achieve equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Building a Solid Foundation for Going Forward

The foundation created supports the construction of how the organization wants to be, going forward, with valuing diversity and achieving inclusion, equity, and belonging.

If you follow our work the Genuine Contact way, you recognize we are recommending the use of the tool Evolutionary Spiral, the framework that we use for all of our work in organizational transformation and system change.

Learn more and develop your diversity and inclusion strategy at Developing Leadership for Working with Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, and Belonging

Summer Academy 2021: Diversity, Inclusion, Equity, BelongingAs a leader committed to further developing inclusion and belonging in your organization, you might be looking for your own opportunities to go slow and build a solid foundation for yourself. May 31 – June 6, the annual Summer Academy learning intensive offers you just that chance.

Join us, and colleagues from around the globe, to develop your leadership for understanding and working with diversity, inclusion, and belonging. With ample opportunity for important conversations, growth, and development, this online learning experience will connect you with your own beliefs and values and let you learn from the experiences of others around the world. The group size is small enough for everyone to have the opportunity to meet their unique learning needs and develop actionable plans for going forward. We hope you will join us in this learning journey.

Learn more.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Birgitt Williams
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Birgitt Williams is an international management and organizational solutions consultant, author, meeting facilitator, teacher, keynote speaker and executive coach. Her business focus is to create inspiring work environments that are highly effective in achieving their purpose and fulfilling their vision.

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