LEADERSHIP | INTERSECTION | INCLUSION
This piece is born from a vision of progress, the requirement for goal setting, inclusive leadership and teamwork.
It's been a phenomenal week in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) space, with the start of LGBT History Month, Race Equality Week, and International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation in the first week alone. In America, February heralds the start of Black History Month. It's also Child Mental Health Week and National Storytelling Week.
So this month, EquALLIES has collated content to encapsulate how the topics of the protected characteristics intersect with wellbeing and storytelling to engage, educate and empower the audience to understand how the individual shapes and is shaped by the world in which we all operate.
We embrace what some may see as competing causes as critical conversations about where the goal of EDI lies.
Inclusion is acceptance, a welcome and unleashing of potential for all that you are and can be, as long as you're not hurting others.
With leading academics, TEDx Keynote speakers and our resident Storyteller in Chief, Richard O'Neill, EquALLIES has a powerful track record of using the revered skills of enticing even the most reluctant audience to engage with our content.
"Even the most reluctant participant on the furthest side of the room leaves with a different point of view"
During periods of deepening divisions, it's important to acknowledge all microprogressions as well as how far we still have to go. In fact, this is the perfect opportunity to review your goals, how you will measure them and whether the measures reflect what you hope they will?
EquALLIES rejects the notion of hierarchical diversity needs. The focus on Women following #MeToo, and on racial diversity after the murder of George Floyd highlights that resources should and can be made available to redress inequalities, but without a clear focus on an end goal, how does this help?
We've collated the impact global movements have had in some areas, offering advice to mitigate negative backlash, here. Knee jerk reactions to diversity issues can exacerbate confusion and uncertainty to those who are well-intending but lack confidence in using their position and power to effect meaningful and impactful change.
We must look to understand the settings, the individuals that make up the numbers before moving deeper into meaningful change.
By relying too heavily on numbers, omitting the human story that underlines it, we lose focus on where we want to end up.
For example, if we work on the assumption that the world benefits from diversity and we look to places where diversity is lacking as opportunities for change, where does quantitative analysis benefit the individuals and teams involved?
When an organisation classifies 'BAME' as a group of employees for racial diversity, how do we overcome *feelings* that Asian colleagues may not suffer the same barriers to inclusion as Black colleagues? How do we navigate *feelings* of insecurity or resentment associated with tockenism?
EquALLIES would suggest you can't. The numbers associated with diversifying your setting, organisation and community come after the work of creating an inclusive environment has begun.
All the time, money and energy spent to change the numbers will be wasted if the organisation remains the same. The organisations need to reflect upon why change hasn't come without effort. Yes, look at your recruitment, but also look at rewards and retention.
Who are you losing?
Who are you retaining?
Who are you rewarding?
How do you reward?
Who is underperforming?
How do you encourage better performance?
And of course, once these questions have been answered, you do nothing until you can answer the much more important question; WHY?
If feelings of inclusion and wellbeing aren't encapsulated in the 'why' of an organisation, pivot back to look at how your business operates, and whether it can afford to reject the benefits of diversity. You think you don't need a diverse set of employees? Ok, so how does your market share change when you factor in your other stakeholders; are you getting access to the best suppliers and consumer base, too?
As leaders in the field, how sustainable is long term viability or growth if you continue as you are? If you are doing well right now, great. How will you sustain it? For here is one certainty; change. If skilled, knowledgeable and diverse life experiences don't offer the best toolkit to help you flex with what the world has to throw at you; what will?
Do you know how to listen to, learn from and collaborate with those you don't recognise as equals?
The EquALLIES Ambassador Programme allows individuals the space and safety to navigate how to engage, educate and empower yourself AND others, in a 30 week fully supported programme.
"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." [Confucious]