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Bite-Size Insights: How Do Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Affect Engagement? Part 1

Sep 22, 2020 | 00:00

00:00 00:00

Episode Description

On today’s Bite-Size, we’re starting part one of a two part episode where we break down three of the most commonly, and poorly, interchanged words: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. So often these words just get thrown out, but do we truly understand the nuance of each and the importance of achieving all three?

To help us better understand these nuances, we’re joined by Sarah Nodarse of The Zone, a global culture consultancy on a mission to make organizations more human.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00] Hey insights, listeners Nicole here. And thanks so much for joining me for this week's bite-size insights, empowering people, leaders with best in class information in 10 minutes or less. All right, now I am really excited for this week's bite-size. We will be breaking down three, one of the most commonly and poorly interchanged words, diversity inclusion and equity. So often these words are just thrown out. But do we truly understand the nuance of each and the importance of achieving all three? Now this week is just part one of a two part episode, featuring Sarah, Nodarse of the zone, a global culture consultancy, try saying that three times fast. Who's on a mission to make organizations more human she'll join to help us better understand those nuances between diversity inclusion and equity and how they impact engagement.

Sarah, take it away.

[00:01:00] Hi everyone. It's Sarah Nodarse, and I'm here to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion. We're going to define the three terms and talk about what the relationship is to employee engagement. Quick caveat. These are not the end all be all definitions, but they are definitions that come from almost 15 years of working with people and culture and organizations. And in particular, with amplifies partner, the zone at the zone, we believe that if we can just tap into what makes us human in the first place, we can unlock tremendous potential to solve the world's biggest problems. So let's start with our first term diversity. We're going to talk about the traditional definition of diversity and also a definition that the zone little bit. So first, the traditional definition, when DEI practitioners talk about diversity, they mean something specific and it has to do with dominant and marginalized, social identities. Resmah mannequin said it best. [00:02:00] In my opinion, he's a therapist, a coach and author of a book called my grandmother's hands, which deals with racialized trauma.

And in a recent podcast, I listened to, he talked about a conversation he had with DEI practitioners and he asked them to confront the basic meaning of this term when used in a corporate setting diversity, from what he asked. The term implies that we start. So we're homogeneous and diversify from there.

What is that homogeneous starting point then? Well, historically has been the straight white male. And it's very uncomfortable for us to say this because it sounds like we're saying something bad about straight white men, which we're not what we're saying. Is bad is a phenomenon called group think, and group think is what you get when your organization is homogeneous.

When you have all same type of person in your organization. Study [00:03:00] after study has shown that this homogeneity limits our decision making capacity and innovation. We want to get out of group think because the ultimate goal is not to just have diversity for diversity's sake, but to have the best people on the best teams delivering the best performance.

So the DEI field has been working on diversifying organizations, bringing in folks that are other than straight and white and male and able bodied since the 1970s following the civil rights movement. And of course, outside of the United States. Yeah, but by and large in the USA, diversity has referred to the movement to bring more women, more people of color, more LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, veterans, and other categories into the organization.

And to be quite Frank, it has required an entire field and profession and decades of work because it has been that hard to change our [00:04:00] perception of what top talent looks like and what leader looks like. We have enough organizations that have taken enough initiatives that we now have solid data to show the impact, simply put ethnic cultural and gender diversity deliver higher profits, especially when they're at the senior leadership level.

Okay. So that's all about the traditional meaning of diversity. The one based on social identities. And it's crucially important to innovation and performance, but there's a second aspect to it. This is what we use at the zone and we call it the whole person approach. So let's contrast the whole person approach with this traditional meaning that is typically called the hole. If you bring your whole self to work, that's when you don't have to hide that marginalized social identity, you don't have to downplay any part of your racial, ethnic, cultural gender, [00:05:00] or whatever part of your identity that you have. That's the whole self, bring your whole self to work. At the zone, we talk about bringing your whole person to the table, which is a little different.

Your whole person is about using all of who you are as a human you're human faculties. So to understand what this means, think about what is the part of you that you use most of the time when you're at work? There's a lot of data we have to sort through. A lot of information we have to process. And typically we're using our heads to do that.

Our heads are very, very good at that, and it's very useful, but we are not just heads on sticks as humans. There's other parts of us. For example, we have hearts, we have feelings, we have emotions. We also have gut feelings and we have our imagination. We also have our tendency to move the need to take action and to take action on [00:06:00] real world problems that we're trying to solve.

So using your whole person is about using all of those faculties. Is it okay to talk about gut feelings or dreams when you're trying to solve a problem as a team? Is that a, is that accepted in your culture? Is it okay to contradict the data and say something just doesn't feel right? Is it okay to let the heart override the head sometimes when care is more important than logic, these are questions that we can ask ourselves to see if we're creating an environment where diverse human perspectives are valued at the zone.

When someone is using their whole person, we say that they're creating collective intelligence or CQ. You've heard of IQ your head intelligence, your heart's intelligence. Well, CQ is even more powerful than those two combined because it also includes the gut, the imagination, the taking of action to solve real world problems.

[00:07:00] So how did we do that? Well, it's about inclusion. Inclusion is where the magic happens. And the one thing that you have to remember about inclusion is that diversity will not thrive. Get the benefits of diversity, either of the whole self or the whole person without creating a culture in which everyone can contribute, have their voices heard and feel like they're valuable.

So how do we do it? There are so many books and articles out there on inclusive leadership, countless theories and models. It's hard to know what the best way forward. So the traditional way of dealing with inclusion has to do with handling the social identity part, the whole self, bringing your whole self to work and to handle that we need to confront unconscious bias and culture.

So we need to look at how our brains work. Many people think that to be biased just means that we're somehow [00:08:00] bad or unfair, but really we're talking about brain science and how our brains are processing millions of bits of information per second. We can only consciously process a few dozen of those. So the brain shortcuts influence how we see people and our cultural filters also influence how we see people.

Culturally, we have been primed to see tall men as the best leaders. To see strong women as aggressive and so many other similar labels, culturally informed impede us from seeing people as they truly are. So we do have to. Really work on managing unconscious bias and developing intercultural competence.

If we want to handle the whole self. Okay. But to handle the whole person, part of diversity, we need different skills at the zone. We believe. The ones that are needed are called facilitative leadership skills. [00:09:00] So facilitative leadership is what allows an organization to deliberately build the culture it needs for diverse perspectives and diverse people to thrive.

So a facilitative leader is. One who believes and applies collaborative processes to facilitate the work of a group to achieve its purpose and does so in a way that's aligned with the agreed values of the organization. So a facilitative leader is somebody who makes it easy for the team to achieve its purpose and the skills that they have are about making sure that.

There's not just one person that holds the answers, but this team is smarter together. Facilitative leaders know that for example, meetings need to be creatively and thoughtfully designed to unlock the potential of people. They know that psychological safety is where it all begins and where it can just as easily.

And they work on their facilitation skills. And this is [00:10:00] important with humility and regular feedback from the team. Because they know that slowing down to speed up is not just a quote. It actually works. So this sounds like a big job, but fortunately, there's a place where we all can start and that is in meetings.

Every one of us is in meetings. So having more inclusive, more hugely impact on creating conclusions in the culture. And the zone has created a guide to facilitative leadership with seven tips for inclusive meetings that you will be able to download. So please check out that guy. And put it into practice to create meetings that allow not only people to come to the table, but their whole person as well.

Thank you for joining this week's bite-size. I hope that you learn something new and if there's a topic that you want to make sure we address submit your feedback at that's, and be sure to join us for part two. As we wrap up this discussion and tie it all back to engagement.