I have written several articles on Education. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on education.
What Does Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Mean in the Workplace?
Catalina Colman, director of HR and inclusion at Built In, explains the meaning and importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.
The tech industry stands apart from other industries with its promise to build a brand new future. However, as forward-thinking as the industry can be, it also suffers from stagnation in some areas, especially in regards to the demographics of its biggest players.
Though it has made strides in the last decade, the tech industry remains extremely homogenous — a 2019 survey revealed that people of color made up only five percent of employees at Silicon Valley tech firms, and women hold around just 28 percent of tech industry roles. If tech companies want to build an industry that truly looks toward new horizons, they need to make DEI a central part of their values.
“We as employers need to make sure we’re including these individuals and that we’re giving them equity,” said Catalina Colman, Director of HR and Inclusion at Built In. “We need to make sure that, not only do they have a job, but they have the same ability to get promoted, to contribute and have the same impact — in the world and in the workplace — as their peers.”
WHAT IS DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION (DEI)?
DEI stands for diversity, equity and inclusion. Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. Inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is vital to creating and maintaining a successful workplace; one founded on the principle that all people can thrive personally and professionally. Before you begin to reevaluate your efforts and implement new practices, it’s important that you fully understand each component, both individually and how they work together.
Here you’ll learn what diversity, equity and inclusion are and how each plays a role in creating a better workplace. Using insight from Colman, who has over 13 years of HR experience, it provides a foundational introduction to DEI today.
DEFINING DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION
- Diversity: The presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace, that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and socioeconomic class.
- Equity: The act of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual.
- Inclusion: The practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. This means that every employee feels comfortable and supported by the organization when it comes to being their authentic selves.
Additional Terms important in DEI
Infers that an equitable structure is in place and functioning to make all people, no matter their differences, feel welcome. When you reach for equity, you’re striving for a system that benefits everyone, no matter their circumstance. Belonging is when this not only works, but no one feels as if their inclusion is questioned.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion all mean different things, but interact with and rely on one another. Equity is the goal of diversity and inclusion.
Is the mission of equity, in which an equitable system works so well it eventually eliminates the systemic problems driving the need for the latter. In other words, everything is fairly and evenly distributed to people no matter their race, gender, physical ability, or other personal circumstances.
Where D&I focuses on making all groups feel welcome, DEI also addresses the systemic ways access to things—such as education, food, the web, and more—are unequally distributed.
If the tech industry wants to truly be a place where innovation and ingenuity thrives, diversity, equity and inclusion has to take center stage. Employers must actively work to create meaningful change in spite of the history of injustice that has marginalized underrepresented groups within the workplace.
DEI is an ethos that recognizes the value of diverse voices and centers inclusivity and employee wellbeing as central facets of success. To bring those values to life, companies must implement programs and initiatives that actively make their offices more diverse, equitable and inclusive spaces.
Diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace, that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age and socioeconomic class. It can also refer to differences in physical ability, veteran status, whether or not you have kids — all of those are components of diversity.
Equity is the process of ensuring that processes and programs are impartial, fair and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual. “Equity is why we go to work,” explains Colman. “We want to get compensated fairly for our work, we want to be challenged, to learn and to contribute. People often choose an employer based on those things, which boil down to equity.”
Finally, inclusion is the practice of ensuring that people feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. This means that every employee feels comfortable and supported by the organization when it comes to being their authentic selves.
“Every employee should feel valued at work, by their peers and their employer,” said Colman. “It’s not about just opening the invitation to everyone — it’s about making sure that every individual knows and feels they are welcome at your organization.”
WHY DIVERSITY MATTERS
When we think of diversity in the workplace, we often think of physical, visible differences. However, it’s important to be mindful of diversity of thought.
“From a business standpoint, different perspectives directly influence a product — how it’s made, who it serves, how it functions and so on,” said Colman. “More perspectives make for a better product.” People from different backgrounds with varying life experiences will be able to provide new perspectives that help refine and enhance processes.
“There’s a level of innovation that diversity contributes to,” said Colman. “People bring a unique framework to the job that enables them to approach problems differently and propose unique solutions. The more diverse voices there are in your organization, the better your outcomes will be, purely from a business standpoint.”
However, Colman urges employers to look beyond the business case. “I believe that if we give people the equitable opportunity to not only be employed, but to have employment with purpose and passion, our society can and will do great things. It’s a measurable good for everyone.
WHY EQUITY MATTERS
In order to ensure equal circumstances for all individuals across the organization, equity requires that employers recognize barriers and advantages. This is the crucial difference between “equity” and “equality.”
“Equity takes into account the fact that not everybody is starting at the same level,” explains Colman. “Take home ownership, for example. A bank can make the statement that the loan application process is equal and that they will not discriminate based on race, gender or ethnicity. That doesn’t take into account student loans, familial debt, socioeconomic status, what have you. These are prohibitive factors that hold some individuals back from receiving a loan.”
These limitations are what define barriers and give rise to advantages, ultimately leading to an inequitable process. Colman offers a second example of job application rates between men and women — women tend to apply to roles where they meet 100 percent of the criteria, whereas men will apply if they meet just 60 percent.
“That’s a manifestation of your application process being inequitable,” said Colman. “The solution would be to ask yourself: How can I standardize my job descriptions so everyone has an equal chance to apply? How can I encourage someone who is qualified to submit their application even if they can’t check every box? It’s about leveling the playing field so the barriers to entry are the same for every single individual.”
For example, rather than listing years of experience as a requirement, identify specific areas of experience or scope. Doing so opens the talent pool up to qualified applicants who may be earlier in their career. Instead of “5-7 years of project management experience,” ask for “Experience managing projects autonomously, from ideation to implementation.”
Inequity permeates every aspect of your business, requiring vigilance and swift action. “HR practitioners have to do the work to understand how it is we can go above and beyond to make an equitable organization for everyone,” said Colman. “You’re not going to be able to build diversity if you’re not taking the steps to be more equitable.”
WHY INCLUSION MATTERS
While the workplace does require professionalism and etiquette (i.e. no profane language), an inclusive culture should not bar individuals from being themselves. “Employees should not worry about code switching or shielding part of their identity,” said Colman. “They should be able to walk through the door without feeling like something about them has to change.”
Inclusion is what maintains diversity. Without it, employees will simply leave the organization. “If a candidate walks into a workplace and they’re the only woman or BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) employee, they’re going to question the employer’s authenticity and values,” said Colman.
“People want to belong, plain and simple,” she said. “And marginalized individuals want to know that they’re not going to be the token person to represent a demographic. They shouldn’t have to worry about that in the workplace; they should be focused on how they’re going to have an impact within the company.”
For employers and people management professionals alike, the biggest challenge is knowing where to start. “There’s no quick-fix,” said Colman. “A lot of people immediately jump to figure out how they can make their company more diverse, but you can’t underestimate the importance of inclusion and equity. Without those two pieces, you’re not going to achieve true diversity.”
Understanding how each element of DEI builds upon the others is important to creating a work environment that is equitable and inclusive of all individuals. Just like DEI is a multifaceted process, Colman encourages employers to lean on each other.
“It’s not going to be a single HR person that addresses the issue of DEI for a company,” she said. “Lean on your professional community. You’re not going to be able to have all the answers because you don’t have all the perspectives.”
The focus on DEI has prompted a huge shift for HR. “I think the mindset has always been to avoid talking about these things,” said Colman. “We typically put them in the handbook and address them in training maybe once a year. We didn’t want to make people uncomfortable. I think right now, the call to action is about understanding how to navigate that discomfort and how to use that to elevate your workforce. It’s about doing the important work that is long overdue and becoming inclusive and equitable.”
5 Powerful Ways to Take REAL Action on DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)
People need new ways to think about and talk about diversity. Leaders need new skills to enable equity and inclusion in the workplace. And organizations need scalable ways to ensure that their diversity and inclusion initiatives avoid common mistakes and are solid and sustainable.
At CCL, we use our proprietary REAL™ framework to help companies, communities, and schools understand the dynamics of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in the workplace, in their particular organization and context — and to identify specific actions they can take to help them drive desired progress around their DEI initiatives.
A 4-Step Framework for Action on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: REAL™
At CCL, we create leadership solutions using our REAL framework to help shift mindsets, behaviors, and practices towards more equitable and inclusive leadership for individuals, teams, and organizations. Specifically, the REAL framework is a 4-step process:
1. Reveal relevant opportunities.
The first step is about discovery — not setting an agenda or duplicating diversity initiatives that seemed effective in other organizations. It involves gaining awareness of the types of diversity within and across groups, and the context in which diversity, equity, and inclusion play out for individuals, teams, and the organization as a whole.
In order to set a direction, create alignment, and generate commitment to DEI initiatives in the workplace or in other types of organizations, top leaders should take the first steps: articulate their individual and collective perspective, identity, values, and culture; consider how experiences of power and privilege may affect their approach and effectiveness — and that of others; and evaluate how dynamics of DEI may affect their marketplace and their business strategy.
By exploring their specific context, senior leaders can engage others in the organization to identify the most relevant opportunities for change, and then select 2-3 strategic actions that will drive the desired results.
2. Elevate equity.
When discussing diversity initiatives in the workplace or in other organizations, many professionals reference the term DEI, which stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. At CCL, we recognize this terminology, but prefer to shift the order to EDI, placing equity before diversity and inclusion — for a reason. You may see us use the terms interchangeably; however, our belief is that without equity, efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are laudable, but not sustainable. To enact equity is to provide all people with fair opportunities to attain their full potential.
To make progress on DEI, senior leaders first need to acknowledge societal inequities and recognize that, unintentionally, their organization isn’t a level playing field.
People enter the world of work and advance through their careers with unevenness of advantage, opportunity, privilege, and power — so what is “fair opportunity” is not the same for everyone. When organizational leaders express their motivation, as well as acknowledge any barriers, for countering inequity; set clear goals toward greater equity; and then take action, they signal a commitment that becomes the foundation of the organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
3. Activate diversity.
Diversity is the collective of differences and similarities that includes individual and organizational characteristics, values, beliefs, experiences, backgrounds, and behaviors.
Activating that diversity is a process that involves recognizing and engaging differences within the employee and customer base. It equips managers and teams to explore the impact of diversity on perspectives, assumptions, and approaches, and identify ways to enhance the contribution of all.
And, it includes defining expectations or metrics and setting clear goals.
4. Lead inclusively.
Inclusion requires active, intentional, and ongoing efforts to promote the full participation and sense of belonging of every employee, customer, and strategic partner. It involves policies and practices, but also the ability to envision and enact new ways of leading.
Across levels and functions, leaders need to learn what is now required, interpreting inclusive leadership for their various groups or for different roles. They also need tools, resources, and support as they improve their ability to identify and mitigate bias, respect differences, build empathetic relationships, foster allyship, manage conflict, and bring out the best in others.
We can partner with you to shift mindsets, behaviors, and practices towards more equitable, diverse, and inclusive teams and organizations. Learn more about our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion practice and solutions.
5 Powerful Ways to Take REAL Action on Equity, Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace
Creating sustainable workplace culture change requires an intentional approach to EDI. Here are 5 powerful ways some of our clients are taking action to infuse their leadership and culture with the mindset, skillset, and tools needed to build greater equity, and then diversity and inclusion:
1. Change the conversation. The inability to have meaningful conversations contributes significantly to the unproductive relationships that can sometimes develop across diversity divides. To work with those whose background and perspective is vastly different, or whose role or leadership style is at odds, people at every organizational level need to be able to have effective conversations.
Foster direct conversations about EDI to break down silos and communication barriers. Our Better Conversations Every Day™ program, for example, teaches leaders of all levels and roles in the organization how to listen for understanding and hold coaching conversations.
After all, better culture starts with better conversations, so by improving the quality of your organization’s everyday conversations, you’ll develop a culture of increased openness, respect for differences, and understanding — which will fuel better collaboration, more innovation, and greater effectiveness.
2. Map network connections across boundaries. Make sure your team understands why they should collaborate across boundaries, and explore how you might span them more effectively.
Network analysis is one powerful tool to help people understand how they are inadvertently creating inequity or preventing the inclusion of diverse people and perspectives. Consider conducting a network analysis, beginning with data collection through a customized survey or other mechanisms such as email traffic, and then use those inputs to map patterns of relationship and interactions that are often hidden.
The results typically reveal over-reliance on a few people or groups, as well as those who are isolated or who have valuable or relevant expertise, perspective, or connections that are being underutilized.
Through an EDI / DEI perspective, leaders can see how unintentional bias is built into their networks and the way that creates limitations for themselves and their teams. Using this information, they can identify additional people or groups they are not accessing, set goals to diversify their network, and take steps to engage others and build connections across organizational silos.
3. Boost coaching, mentoring, and sponsoring. Often due to unconscious bias or systems of power in organizations, people who are not “like” their manager or the organization’s dominant leader type don’t have equitable access to the leaders who can steer them toward valuable experiences and support them through the inevitable challenges. As a result, they see their career progress stall.
Organizations can counter this subtle bias by implementing a coaching culture and developing the coaching skills of their employees, and by creating a network of champions to enable the development, contributions, and career growth of all employees:
- Managers can ensure all their direct reports are heard, given feedback, provided support, and offered opportunities.
- Mentors can provide guidance, feedback, and support, whether around a specific need or for ongoing development.
- Sponsors, typically senior leaders, can be effective advocates who actively work to advance the careers of their “sponsorees.”
- Talent Management & HR can communicate expectations around the above to help managers, mentors, and sponsors understand the important role they play in making organizational DEI initiatives successful, and provide access to DEI training, resources, and tools.
4. Analyze talent practices. Talent processes reflect and create norms and can be levers for system-wide change. Review systems and practices related to recruiting, hiring, and promoting talent. Audit compensation data. Examine employee development practices, asking tough questions about access to needed assessment, challenge, and support:
- Who has access to on-the-job learning and key assignments?
- Who is tapped for training or leadership experiences?
- Who is receiving coaching, mentoring, and sponsorship?
- What assumptions are being made about individuals’ current capability and future potential?
- Are different standards applied to some people or groups?
Organizations should also help managers and teams evaluate the practices and policies that create the structures for how work gets done and shape the employee experience — and look for ways that bias creeps in. Are there ways to move beyond bias at your organization? Consider unspoken norms, scheduling, networking opportunities, and work arrangements — all potential areas for rethinking and improvement.
5. Go deeper on identity. The concept of social identity can help people understand similarities and differences and their impact on the workplace. Social identity comprises the parts of a person’s identity that come from belonging to groups, including (but not limited to) age, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, education, physical ability, and socioeconomic status. It fuels our distinct perspective and unique value, and often defines sources of power and privilege.
Much of inequity is driven by long-established structures, unconscious assumptions, and experiences tied to social identity.
Through communication, EDI / DEI training, and conversation, people can learn to recognize how their own social identity subtly influences the way they interact with others or the biases they unconsciously hold. They can also learn and consider how the dynamics of social identity may be shaping others’ experiences.
By defining diversity through a lens of social identity, all employees have a way to put themselves into a discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
In closing, most organizations are looking for new, more effective ways to attract, retain, engage, and enable a diverse workforce. By identifying a few key actions in their DEI initiatives based on the unique context and needs of their organization, leaders can fast-forward positive, more equitable outcomes and begin to fully see, appreciate, and engage all their talent.
Frequently Asked Questions About Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)
Through our programs, research, and decades of experience developing leaders around the world, we hear common questions relating to DEI at work. Below are several frequently asked questions, and our answers.
What does DEI mean in the workplace?
In a workplace setting, DEI relates to actions taken in order to shift mindsets, behaviors, and practices toward equitable and inclusive leadership for individuals, teams, and organizations. At CCL, we prefer the term EDI rather than DEI, to emphasize the importance of starting with equity to promote diversity and inclusion, and we use our evidence-based REAL™ framework to help companies, communities, and schools understand the dynamics and interplay of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and in their particular context. People need new ways to think about and talk about these topics, and leaders need new skills to enable them — which is why we identify specific actions they can take to help drive sustainable change.
What are ways to take action on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?
Infusing your organization’s leadership culture with the awareness, mindset, skillset, and tools needed to enhance DEI is vital, and creating systemic workplace culture change requires a systemic approach. To successfully tackle systemic equity, diversity, and inclusion challenges and achieve meaningful progress, organizations must be willing to assess and approach their DEI efforts in multiple phases and at multiple levels. You can learn more about ways to take action to create REAL workplace culture change with a systemic approach to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Are equity and equality the same thing?
While the terms “equity” and “equality” are often used interchangeably, their meanings are quite different. Equity is defined as fair and contextually-appropriate access to the resources and opportunities required for every individual, group, organization, and community to attain their full potential. Equality, on the other hand, involves giving everyone access to the exact same resources or opportunities, regardless of their unique circumstances. To accelerate change and positive impact, organizations must give equity top priority. Without a focus on equity, efforts to promote diversity & inclusion are laudable, but not sustainable.
What is the difference between DEI and EDI?
When discussing diversity initiatives, you may hear professionals reference both the terms DEI and EDI. While both of these terms are acronyms to describe the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we prefer the term EDI, as it places equity before diversity and inclusion — for a reason. At CCL, our belief is that without equity, efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are not sustainable. To enact equity is to provide all people with fair opportunities to attain their full potential.
CCL uses the “REAL” framework, what is the R about?
Revealing Relevant Opportunities is perhaps the most important, yet underutilized, strategy when approaching DEI initiatives. This is the ability to slow down, take a step back, and examine what there is to be curious about. It takes on a process of discovery to better understand what is needed as it relates to DEI work. DEI is not one-size-fits-all. Every organization has unique sets of challenges based on their context and history. Slowing down to discover what the needs are can help avoid backlash or backfiring of DEI training initiatives. Most organizations do not take the time to do that important step.
DEI Versus CRT
Right now in our country there is an increased awareness of these 6 letters. The problem that is happening is the first 3 are actually what schools are attempting to address while the second 3 stand for a topic that isn’t traditionally taught in K-12 curricula.
DEI stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion while CRT stands for Critical Race Theory, and the two teach different ideas. Schools over the past year have been attempting to transition their learning to be more inclusive and open to the ideas within those first 3 letters.
What is happening now is the narrative is attempting to be changed towards teaching, as some have put it, “divisive concepts”. I ask, what is divisive about learning the truth? If these truths had been part of school curricula since the beginning wouldn’t there be no need for this to be happening?
In the 1960s Black Americans looked at education as a means of upward mobility for a more equitable society. They needed schooling to help them gain economic growth, which would help with housing issues and healthcare issues as well. In 2017 the Southern Poverty Law Center had a study that showed only 8% of students knew one of the main causes for the Civil War was slavery. The year is 2021 and many issues that schools haven’t taught, are still not being taught now and we continue to see the systemic issues continue.
If we right now back down to the growing rage over DEI in schools and continue to teach the colonized curricula, there will not be an equitable society. Teaching in this way does not vilify white people in society today. It also doesn’t continue to allow Black people to play the victim, which has also been stated. What it does do is allow students to learn acceptance, empathy, truth and how our society can do better.
Falling back into what the world was should never be the goal of a society. Instead, the goal should be to bring all people together to learn and grow with each other. In the words of James Baldwin, “The purpose of education… is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.” As long as we teach an inclusive education to all of our students it will let students decide how they want to feel about it, engage them in conversation, and help them learn how to bring about change and make their own decisions.
5 Reasons Diversity And Inclusion Fails
A famous quote of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes is: “There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” And I am just going to come out and say it: Most diversity and inclusion initiatives fall into the former category: sincere ignorance. They look and sound great. They are usually well-meaning too. But a vast number of these initiatives prove ineffective or fail within a year or two. Why? Sincere ignorance: Start talking to the people who put them together, and more often than not you realize that the details and depth of strategic thinking behind them is as thin as the paper they are printed on.
This is not surprising when you consider that most diversity and inclusion initiatives are developed to comply with corporate governance and self-regulation (often under the heading “Corporate Social Responsibility” or CSR). For example, in most workplaces, these initiatives are usually poorly funded tactical inclusion initiatives disconnected from broader, more substantial, and well-funded general training programs. They may be well meaning, but they are misguided in their approaches.
They are also often outdated in their ideas. They cater to the status quo. They assume existing and potential employees targeted by these programs must change to fit into the current workplace culture. They ask and answer one question: How can we acquire, train, and change diverse employees for them to succeed and thrive in our culture? If we keep asking that question – or any question – over and over again, why should we expect a different result?
As Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg stated in the Harvard Business Review, this is exactly why companies are bad at figuring out what their problems are and end up solving for the wrong things: “What they struggle with, it turns out, is not solving problems but figuring out what the problems are. In surveys of 106 C-suite executives who represented 91 private and public-sector companies in 17 countries, I found that a full 85% strongly agreed or agreed that their organizations were bad at problem diagnosis, and 87% strongly agreed or agreed that this flaw carried significant costs. Fewer than one in 10 said they were unaffected by the issue. The pattern is clear: Spurred by a penchant for action, managers tend to switch quickly into solution mode without checking whether they really understand the problem.”
What we need to do, argues Wedell-Wedellsborg, is reframe the problem. Actually, when it comes to diversity and inclusion, the problem starts with using the word “problem.” Diversity and inclusion should be about “opportunity” – specifically growth opportunity.
Here are five ways to rethink and reinvent the way you lead diversity and inclusion as a growth strategy:
1. Move diversity and inclusion out of human resources.
By and large, diversity and inclusion initiatives focus only on recruitment, reputation management, and “checking off the boxes.” That does not make them bad. It just makes them limited. But what really limits them is where they live: in HR and CSR – on the fringe and disconnected from enterprise wide growth opportunities. As a result, initiatives such as employee resource groups (ERGs) – are viewed as cost centers (expenses), rather than as profit centers (investments) to drive influence in the workplace and growth in the marketplace. What we need is a mindset for renewal, reinvention, and growth by moving diversity and inclusion where it belongs: in the center of the organization.
2. Know what opportunity diversity and inclusion solves for.
I review corporate diversity and inclusion plans for companies all the time. Most believe in their hearts that the implementation will make the company better inside and a more competitive outside. Good! That’s what a diversity and inclusion plan should do. But when I ask the executives what their plans solve for, they often say “diversity and inclusion.” That’s as tautological as you get. You must be able to answer the following question in a few words: Why do people need your plan, and what is the opportunity it is solving for? Can you answer this? Most leaders cannot and, as a result, have no idea how big the opportunity gaps are let alone which ones need to be solved for first. That’s how companies end up solving for the wrong things at the wrong time – thus widening opportunity gaps
3. Solve for respect not recognition.
I find more companies using diversity and inclusion plans solely to get recognized on a top 100 diversity management list. We need to stop solving and looking for recognition and start thinking about and earning respect from the actual people in our workplaces and marketplaces – to give them influence over the growth of the company. Simply put, people invest in respect. Stop creating a bunch of programmatic initiatives to serve your company’s needs for compliance and start working to gain that respect by actually recognizing and listening to the people whose respect you want to earn and unique differences you desire to value.
4. Think mosaic not melting pot.
The days of taking a one-size-fits-all approach are over, never to exist again. Our goal as leaders is to convert the melting pot of differences into a mosaic that fuels strategies for growth, innovation, and opportunity to maximize the full potential of people, brands, and businesses. Diversity and inclusion must be about understanding your identity and the identities of all people. Only then can we be courageous enough to steer away from like-mindedness through assimilating people’s differences (melting pot) and towards like-mindedness through honoring those differences (mosaic). To do this, initiatives designed for “cultural competency” aren’t enough. Diversity and inclusion requires diverse and non-diverse leaders to work together to create a culture that embraces diversity of thought and deploys the required best practices, development tools, and resources to maximize talent engagement, advancement, workplace performance, and overall satisfaction.
5. Move people to the center of your organization’s growth strategy.
When diversity and inclusion initiatives are weak, one-off tactical approaches without strategy or follow-up and little depth, the result is some initial success followed by an immediate flat line or regression. The work may have started with the best intentions –valuing individual listening to the unique needs of diverse populations—but once they see success, it’s not about inclusion anymore. It’s about just getting out there to sell, sell, sell. Leadership must support diverse populations – activating and leveraging their full potential – while avoiding any tension that may disrupt engagement, their overall performance, and thus growth. That’s what happens when you fail to operationalize diversity and inclusion by moving people to the center of your growth strategy – when all employees (not just diverse populations) are disconnected from being influential.
All that requires leaders to take ownership of an innovation mentality mindset. Growth strategies are becoming less about the business defining the individual and more about the individual defining the business. You can focus representation, reputation management, and abide by the right metrics, but without thinking about individuals you were thinking about the business defining the individual, not the individual defining the business. Through the innovation mentality, we embrace the transparency, trust, individuality, risk, social responsibility, entrepreneurial mindset, passion, and promise to be a community-minded leader in the workplace, and much, much more.
Woke Education Cancers a/k/a Diversity Commissars Threaten to Destroy Our Culture
Cultural Marxism in all of its ugliness is going through Academia and public education in general like a hot knife through butter these days. The latest travesty is a proposed new rule from the Department of Education that was posted for public review on 19 April in the Federal Register entitled, “Proposed Priorities-American History and Civics Education.” It includes this “priority”:
Proposed Priority 1—Projects That Incorporate Racially, Ethnically, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Perspectives into Teaching and Learning.
Under this priority, the applicants propose projects that incorporate teaching and learning practices that reflect the diversity, identities, histories, contributions, and experiences of all students create inclusive, supportive, and identity-safe learning environments.
In its application, an applicant addressing this priority must describe how its proposed project incorporates teaching and learning practices that—
(a) Take into account systemic marginalization, biases, inequities, and discriminatory policy and practice in American history;
(b) Incorporate racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives and perspectives on the experience of individuals with disabilities;
(c) Encourage students to critically analyze the diverse perspectives of historical and contemporary media and its impacts;
(d) Support the creation of learning environments that validate and reflect the diversity, identities, and experiences of all students; and
(e) Contribute to inclusive, supportive, and identity-safe learning environments.
“Identity-safe learning.” Marxist claptrap straight out of Critical Racist Theory malarkey that is aimed at dividing Americans rather than emphasizing shared experiences!
And while that proposed new rule is aimed at further perversions of American history and civics textbooks in America’s public schools, the Left also is hell-bent on ensuring that its ideologues and activists are put in place everywhere in order to ensure compliance. Academia, meet George Orwell! One example is a recent announcement of a new position of “Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (AP-DEI)” at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey, CA:
Duties and Responsibilities: The Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion (AP-DEI) works directly for the Provost and Academic Dean and is the primary advisor, promoter, coordinator, and manager of programs related to diversity, inclusion, mentorship, equity, and development that affect faculty, staff, and students at NPS. The Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion works independently under the direct supervision of the Provost and collaborates with other entities within NPS (e.g., Faculty Affairs, EEO, Faculty Council, Human Resources, Office of Council, Dean of Students, others) as well as external DoN, DoD, and other organizations.
These diversity commissar jobs are popping up all over. What might the “measures of effectiveness” be in determining the value-added to their institutions of these billets? Or is this all merely required acquiescence to the ongoing takeover of our institutions by the woke cancel culture crowd with the rest of us merely forced to conform or be ostracized from their latest version of Utopia?
A friend eloquently makes what should be the universal response to such chicanery – but won’t be because these days people have been cowed into silence by the Left’s brown shirts. Here is his response to that NPS advertisement:
This is just what this country needs – more woke, progressive, McCarthy-like, Jacobin terror apparatus inside of our armed forces’ academic institutions. What no one ever stops to think about in setting up these kinds of billets are the following:
1) Diversity is not something that can be measured. You can measure a learning institution’s failure or success by standardized tests like the GRE. If the test scores are falling, then there is something wrong with the academic workload or the cadre of instructors. But how to measure diversity? The only way to measure it is by body count. How many letters of reprimand have been issued, how many people have been censured, how many have been expelled, etc. So, the same measures of merit as used by Comrade Stalin’s NKVD now apply – the more bodies, the better the job you must be doing.
2) The diversity mafia does not look upon their function as a standard that has to be maintained at a certain level. That level is never defined, and the status “achieving a premium level of diversity” is never declared. Diversity commissars also shy away from any kind of empirical objectives. If you measured diversity by the number of departments, curricula or courses that have some descriptive category followed by a hyphen and that followed by the word “studies,” then diversity was achieved – maybe even over-achieved – a long time ago. Empiricism does not apply here. Diversity is viewed like a product. There always has to be more of it every year – and the only justification given is that there are “systemic” ills of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobism, etc. You do not have to point any specific person or action. You just declare it is “everywhere” – just like counter-revolutionary thought was “everywhere” during Communists China’s cultural revolution. Any mentality that runs counter to the diversity mantra has to be eradicated and its followers sent to a proper re-education facility.
3) Diversity as defined by the diversity mafia is the ultimate oxymoron. It is not looked upon as an activity that is meant to enhance or enrich the educational experience by broadening one’s view of the world. It is just the opposite. By its very nature it demands ideological conformity, and those who refuse to “will the general will” in the manner espoused centuries ago by Jean-Jacques Rousseau must be cast out.
4) Test scores that measure academic prowess tend to decline because of an added emphasis on diversity. Therefore, I am sure it is a shocking revelation to learn that an increasing number of graduate programs in the US are dropping GRE scores from their admission process. To quote one particularly nauseating article on this subject:
“While many students enjoy a sigh of relief that they may not have to endure the grueling studying and test-taking activity involved in excelling at this test, graduate schools aren’t taking the student preference of going test-free into consideration. Instead, many programs have decided to eliminate this from their list of requirements because they do not see a noteworthy correlation between GRE scores and students’ ability to succeed in graduate school.”
It is hard to believe any self-respecting educator had the integrity to write this. They make preparing for the GRE sound like something more demanding that passing Navy SEALS training. The reason that they are dropping the GRE from their entrance requirements is that the educational lobbying organizations like American Federation of Teachers are in the “don’t know because don’t want to know” mode.
One of the more scintillating titles of an article on this subject reads, “Physics Is the Least Diverse of the Sciences, and the GRE Could Be a Barrier.” Silly me. I thought that the only barrier was if you were not talented in science and math then you won’t be a good physicist. Now I understand why the atomic bomb was not invented by a black transgender woman. It was those evil GREs to blame.
5) It is bad enough that we take the children of what are sometimes very privileged families and send them to university and then even further remove them from the realities of everyday life. Turning them into hothouse plants who are not subject to wind, severe weather patterns, drought, etc. – making them permanently endowed with an adolescent mindset. To then assume that somehow after this experience they can function in the real world is an act of sheer tomfoolery and unpardonable idiocy. But what makes it even worse is that now we are going to do the same with America’s warrior class – and will be doing so with taxpayer money on top of it all.
Good luck defeating the Chinese with this kind of a raison d’être that has predominance over all else – particularly when they understand that this is one of our greatest and growing weaknesses, and they become masters at using it to manipulate us. This country is doomed if we do not wake-up.
My friend is absolutely right! We need a tsunami of similar pushback against the continuing efforts by the Left to destroy our public and military education systems – and to ultimately destroy Western civilization in the process. For that is what the Left’s goal ultimately is – to replace our constitutional Republic with their vision of a socialist paradise. One that over time – as always happens! – will deliver nothing but death and misery to everyone except those at the very top of society. We need to do everything possible to prevent that from happening. And the LAST thing we need are diversity commissars infesting our education system.
builtin.com, “What Is Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Mean in the Workplace? Catalina Colman, director of HR and inclusion at Built In, explains the meaning and importance of diversity, equity and inclusion.” By Kate Heinz; ccl.org, “5 Powerful Ways to Take REAL Action on DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion)”; ctexaminer.com, “DEI Versus CRT.” by Elijah Mannung; forbes.com, “5 Reasons Diversity And Inclusion Fails.” By Glenn llopis; redstate.com, “Woke Education Cancers a/k/a Diversity Commissars Threaten to Destroy Our Culture.” By Stu Cvrk;