How to Restore Confidence in Your Business DCI Efforts
Since American businesses (re) discovered racism in the summer of 2020, countless executives and companies have made commitments and pledges about the progress they would make to advance diversity, equity and fairness. inclusion (DEI). Admittedly, many of these commitments were sincere and were accompanied by significant investments of time and money. Yet the results to date in far too many organizations have been disappointing. While some people call for patience as an answer to the painfully incremental progress of EDI (because the change Is take time, after all), the reality – as it has been for decades now – is that too many companies are still just hugging DEI. In a study, 80% of companies were found to “take the steps” instead of demonstrating the clarity and courage required to generate transformational change. This chronic underperformance on DCI foments what Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. might call deep dissatisfaction with the “high blood pressure of beliefs and anemia of acts” of corporate America – a crisis of confidence in which patience runs out and many lose confidence in their leaders when it comes to DCI.
As a new year approaches, the next 6 to 12 months will present a critical fork in the road to more focused organizations. appearing committed to DCI that being committed to DEI. The time has come for leaders to lead, follow, or step aside. As millions of workers continue to prepare to participate in the Great Resignation, companies that can show how they are making a meaningful and measurable contribution to inclusive and equitable human development – both within their walls and beyond them – will be able to win the war for the best talent. Companies that cannot or do not want to urgently and intentionally advance EDI will continue to suffer in the talent market and lose credibility in the wider market. Here are three practical steps leaders can take to restore – or build – confidence in their DCI efforts over the coming year.
Be transparent about what you already know
There are decades of evidence-backed research findings highlighting the individual, interpersonal, institutional, and even macroeconomic benefits of DCI. Yet many leaders say they don’t know enough about diversity issues in their organizations and their societal implications to take bold and informed action. They are asking for more time to conduct surveys and benchmarking, organize listening sessions and public meetings, and convene councils and task forces to study “the question of diversity”. But now the issue has been investigated, and leaders who want to act already have enough data to do so, both qualitative and quantitative. For example, in organizations that always do not have people of color or women at the leadership or board level, no data point speaks louder than “zero”.
Change starts with the truth. Leaders can never fix what they will not be faced with. Leaders need to recognize the systemic practices and cultural biases that have made the struggle for diversity, equity and inclusion (not to mention corporate social justice) both necessary and onerous. The only conclusion that can be drawn for leaders who claim always do not have enough evidence to act is that they simply do not have want to to act. Companies that choose to remain stuck in discovery mode in an attempt to mask their fearful refusal to take bold action will increasingly be called upon.
Move IED from the edge to the heart of the organization
While some leaders really don’t want to act, others don’t want to know how to act. A sure-fire route to DCI underperformance is to relegate DCI to the margins of the organization, confusing DCI-related activity and activities with the strategic alignment necessary for sustained progress. Advancing DCI requires more than waving flags, nods and demagoguery. DCI is not just the responsibility of the talent manager or HR manager – it is the CEO’s responsibility to ensure that DCI is embedded at the heart of the organization’s strategy and culture by Empowering and holding leaders accountable for achieving workforce, workplace, and market-related DCI goals. In short, companies making significant progress see DEI as a critical enabler of organizational excellence, not a peripheral distraction.
This principle applies to large multinational companies as well as to start-ups and non-profit organizations. I recently advised a small group of start-up entrepreneurs and one of them said to me, “I have ten things that are critical to the survival of my business; I don’t have time to do DCI number 11. I laughed and said if you do DCI number 11 it won’t work – you have to see DCI as a vital lever to help you first. then narrow down to accomplish your top ten more effectively. Organizations that only talk about DCI for the sake of appearances will continue to spin their wheels by instituting more programs, signing more pledges and making more declarations. They may even hire a diversity manager in the process, but still make no demonstrable progress at the end of the day. In short, DCI must become more closely related to goal – both for an organization and for its leaders.
Take a personal courage test
Another truth remains: Despite the plethora of data, strategies and tactics available to leaders, DCI’s efforts will be lackluster unless leaders have the courage to make bold decisions. Leaders who seek compromise solutions and accept infinitely incremental change will not inspire confidence in their commitment to DCI. Author and professor Brené Brown often says, “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort – you cannot have both. Unlike critical business challenges such as managing supply chain disruptions or strengthening cybersecurity, DEI cannot be delegated or managed remotely. The leaders who are most engaged and effective in moving the DCI forward take ownership of the work as a matter of personnel and business import. Work can’t just be personal for colleagues of color, women, people with disabilities, LGBTQIA + people and other marginalized and / or under-represented people who are relied on to tell their stories and share their perspectives. . To restore confidence in a company’s DCI efforts, leaders must own their power and privileges and be prepared to make sacrifices.
Leadership is hard work, and businesses are increasingly called upon to do their fair share to contribute to the well-being of society amid a historic season of intersecting global crises. Going forward, every leader should ask himself – once and for all – how much social, political and reputational capital he is willing to invest. personally put into play, then bet on human progress, not to mention their credibility and even their own heritage. Getting the right DEI will require costly decisions, but inaction could be the costliest decision of all.