What do you think we mean when we talk about Diversity & Inclusion?

What do you think we mean when we say we need “Diversity and Inclusion”?

Recently I was leading a Gallup Strengths Finder team-building session and I was shocked (and excited) to witness the lack of understanding about Diversity and Inclusion.  I was stunned because I didn’t realize how misunderstood the topic still is, and excited to have the opportunity to explore the conversation.

We were discussing how much more impactful it is to focus on an individuals’ strengths versus the overemphasis on what’s not working and how to close gaps.  Did you know that focusing on your strengths, and how to leverage them for the benefit of the team has exponentially greater results than constantly working to overcome a weakness?  One of the superpowers of a diverse team is all the different skills available to achieve the mission of the organization and allow your people to fully thrive!

This leader was stuck on the cultural norms of the organization that focuses on closing development gaps.  He raised a current example he’s dealing with (we’ll call her Alex), citing the feedback of the executive team who often pointed to Alex’s “gaps” as a reason for lack of advancement.  The executives making talent advancement decisions wanted to “see” Alex exhibit more extrovert tendencies.  For example, Alex doesn’t speak up enough in meetings; Alex needs to be more vocal; Alex isn’t the loudest voice in the room…in other words, Alex doesn’t act “like we do”. 

Initially I thought this leader was talking about capabilities, so I drew this on the white board…don’t judge my amazing artist abilities!!!

It was obvious the executives (on the right side of the hill) wanted people who look, sound and act like they do.  That’s when the light went on for me and I said “what do you think we mean when we talk about diversity and inclusion”?!  It’s about finding the strengths, capabilities and experience in others that we DON’T have!  To be fair, there were comments in the room about the global D&I initiatives the enterprise has and is working to achieve.  But again, the magic moment is the opportunity to engage in real examples of how to actually make  progress  towards the D&I ambition.  I came across a great article (Bold and Inclusive Leadership:  The Time is Now) and share some of the graphics below that struck a chord with me.  Yes, it’s a LOT better than my meager attempt to illustrate a point.  My hope is this will help educate and encourage you to have the conversations; it’s the only way we’ll really capture all the great knowledge and insights of those around us.   

It was obvious the executives (on the right side of the hill) wanted people who look, sound and act like they do.  That’s when the light went on for me and I said “what do you think we mean when we talk about diversity and inclusion”?!  It’s about finding the strengths, capabilities and experience in others that we DON’T have!  To be fair, there were comments in the room about the global D&I initiatives the enterprise has and is working to achieve.  But again, the magic moment is the opportunity to engage in real examples of how to actually make progress towards the D&I ambition.

I came across a great article (Bold and Inclusive Leadership:  The Time is Now) and share some of the graphics below that struck a chord with me.  Yes, it’s a LOT better than my meager attempt to illustrate a point.

My hope is this will help educate and encourage you to have the conversations; it’s the only way we’ll really capture all the great knowledge and insights of those around us.

 

bizcase.PNG
bizcase2.PNG
Jill Knocke