The corporate climate is evolving. The ever-popular concept of simply having a diverse organization is no longer the goal of most successful company; rather, successful organizations strive for an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance regardless of race, creed, socio-economic backgrounds, etc.
Diversity is the term used to describe the uniqueness of each individual; Diversity is not simply about acknowledging and/or tolerating differences. Diversity is a set of conscious behaviors that involve:
- Understanding and appreciating interdependence of people, cultures, and the environment in which they interact
- Demonstrating mutual respect for characteristics, features, qualities, and experiences that are different from our own
- Recognizing that personal, cultural, and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others
- Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eliminate all forms of discrimination
- Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of interacting respectfully with those who are different from you
Inclusion is a strategy to leverage diversity. Leveraging diversity requires an environment where people feel heard, supported, valued, and honored to be themselves and do their best. Diversity always exists in social systems, and often exists in corporate systems. Inclusion, however, must be created.
Taking on Diversity initiatives can seem at times insurmountable. It helps to keep in mind the “Seven Underlying Principles of Diversity.” They are:
- Human beings find comfort and trust in “likeness”
- The human species resist change and continue to seek homeostasis
- Human beings perceive themselves as ethnocentric or culturally superior
- It is difficult for people to share power
- No one is the target of blame for current or past inequalities
- Diversity goes beyond race and gender
- Diversity is NOT about “us” and “them;” its about including everyone
Regardless of whether you work in a corporation, on a cruise ship, or simply exist within your community, the places where you live and work are increasingly multi-diverse; employees have varying ethnicities, values, cultures, norms, and languages. These differences can serve as barriers to effectively communicating with each other or clients. It can be challenging to implement effective programs if attempts are not made to ensure that the traditions, values, and beliefs of people different from the dominant majority are not addressed and taken into consideration.
A barrier will occur if professionals with limited cultural experiences adopt cultural “tunnel vision;” and in some cases, they may intentionally or unintentionally, transmit their values, beliefs, and norms to those that they interact with. It is important to understand the distinct difference between exclusion, separation, integration, and inclusion when preparing to launch a Diversity and Inclusion program. These are displayed below:
The focus of Diversity and Inclusion training is to inspire and educate you to understand the cultural perspectives, ingrained beliefs, stereotypes, and self-fulfilling prophecies of diverse groups that may sabotage the success of the corporation and success of the team in which they function. We will enhance your knowledge of ethnic groups, and infuse differing perspectives to achieve awareness, acceptance, tools, and success.
At the end of this course, your employees will have the tools for:
- Mutual Respect
- Suspend Judgment
- Boundary Management
- Solution Thinking
- Win-Win Outcomes
It is important to make a commitment to lifelong learning and take the steps necessary to continually enhance your knowledge and skills – in order to have Diversity and Inclusion training work for your business. As Henry Ford wisely said, “Coming together is a beginning. Staying together is progress. Working together is success!”