How You Can Create A More Diverse & Inclusive Workplace
A multitude of research has made it extremely clear that organizations with more diverse workforces perform better. The rational is that diverse companies are often thought of as being better positioned to acquire top talent, improve customer orientation, satisfaction and decision making, all leading to productivity.
In a recent webinar ‘Adjusting How Your Organization Approaches Diversity & Inclusion’, Intuition spoke to Mike Burns. Mike is Co-Founder of the Burn Brothers LLC (a culture-driven full service integrated diversity agency), lead instructor on diversity and inclusion at Intuition, has held senior diversity and inclusion roles at Fortune 500 companies and has spent over 13 years in the US Army. This webinar was a fantastic opportunity to learn from Mike’s wealth of experience in strategic leadership, diversity and inclusion, self-assessment, culture shifting and organizational behavior. Mike opened the discourse on corporate diversity and how you can initiate impactful change at both a corporate and individual level.
In this part of the webinar, Mike outlines some simple practices that you as an individual can immediately implement to influence your teams, organizations & social communities, ultimately driving outcomes that promote differences, foster empowerment, and embrace acceptance.
- Conduct a Personal/Team Value Assessment: Sit down and write what you stand for/what you want your team to stand for. What are the values that are non-negotiable for you as an individual, are non-negotiable for your team?
- Review Your Company’s Mission & Values: Go and pull up your company’s value statement and see if what you’ve set as your own personal values/team values aligns with the organization values.
- Spend 24 Hours Logging Your Behavior and Identify Misalignment w/ Personal/Team/Company Values: Do you listen to a statement made by a colleague about someone who might be part of a minority community and not stand up or speak up on that person’s behalf?
- Create an Action Plan for Change: If there is a misalignment, then create an action plan for change. Literally, write what you will do to change that behavior.
- Hold Others and Yourself Accountable for Living That Plan
- Wash & Repeat: Like everything, in order to really make it part of your DNA, you have to continue to do it over and over and over to reinforce, to wash and repeat.
“Our goal is not to win, it’s to play together and play hard, then winning takes care of itself” – Mike Chatzky
The last part of the webinar consists of a Q&A session, facilitated by Sarah Clarke, Intuition CEO for North America. This Q&A highlights actions you can follow to take control yourself and keep yourself and others around you accountable over time.
The focus of your presentation was on what you can do yourself, irrespective, and you made the point of saying you might not even know your company’s core values and mission statement. So how do you make it so that it becomes part of your everyday practice to change, to change your mindset, to be the positive contribution to your company and your community around you?
Yes, I think that’s a great question and appreciate whoever asked it, change is really hard and we as human beings tend to get very comfortable where we are, and you have events like the George Floyd and some of the other events that have happened recently that have injected just a shot of energy and awareness and awakening and all of us. But as those situations are, events kind of move out of the twenty four hour news cycle, we tend to just get back into our everyday way of operating. And there is a reason why people have personal trainers, right? It’s not because they don’t understand what to do at the gym, but they need someone to actually push them and continue to allow them to step outside of their comfort zones. And that if they’re not stepping out of their comfort zones, call them out on it and keep them honest. So not only can you do the exercises that I talked about in the presentation, but you need to find others that think like you and be honest and hold each other accountable. So, if Mike sees Sarah not following through with what she stated she believes, part of my responsibility is to call you out on it.
For some people there is an issue recognizing where alliances need to be really profound and pushed, the reason being that what I hear from some people is that sometimes they recognize minority groups, diverse groups as powerhouses in the corporate world, people who don’t give the impression that they need leadership or help. So how do you address this and help people to understand that it’s the system that’s often polarizing? And so even if people appear to be rocking their career and self-sufficient, more needs to be done from everyone on an individual level.
The bottom line is this: we’re all more similar than we are different. So, if you as the individual come across as strong, which I’m sure everyone on this on this call does, there are still areas that you need assistance. It’s just everyone who is a human being needs support in some area. When you’re looking at allyship, it’s more about getting to know and understand the individual and the group that you’re looking to ally with. Ultimately, your goal should be if we want to use Michael and Sarah as an example, I might be an ally to women and Sarah, but at the end of the day, I need to really know and understand and appreciate and value everything about Sarah, who happens to be a woman. Because I truly value and appreciate and understand Sarah, I will then work to promote, progress, and endorse Sarah. By doing that, I amplify women, right, so I think this whole allied thing, we have to force ourselves to go to the next level of truly understanding and appreciating the individuals who happen to fit inside of that group, not just saying we support that group.