Are your Diversity & Inclusion initiatives doing more harm than good? One problem with the current approach from Diversity & Inclusion programs is the propensity to reinforce identities leading to the further perpetuation of stereotypes. How do we resolve this? By focusing on sustainable and holistic behaviors, values, and systemic changes rather than individualism. Most Diversity & Inclusion initiatives are focused on training individuals and changing them without any connection with the core values and business strategy. Diversity & Inclusion initiatives are intrinsically linked to the culture of an organization. Just as the personalities of individuals, organizational culture is formed early in the life of the organization.
Culture is the combination of personalities, behaviors, and actions of the founders, key leaders, and members of the organization as they form practices, develop strategies, and react to internal and external forces. To break cultural behavior status-quo, it requires a strong leader who models a different way of behaving and a reward system that causes organizational members to embrace a new approach to “how we do things around here”. Quick fixes and simple tips are not going to make the cut for sustainable changes. Here are some important steps to make changes in the long term:
Align Your mission, vision, and strategies with your values
Once the organization’s mission, vision, and strategies are determined, it is imperative to ask the question – Will the current values and behaviors support them? Answering this question will generally lead to an organization taking the time also to answer the following questions:
- Do we know what our current values are?
- Is our current culture a benefit or a barrier to future organizational success?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of our current values?
- Will our current values hinder or support our organizational strategies?
- What values in our culture need to be changed or added to better support our mission, vision, and strategy?
- How can we make our organizational culture a competitive advantage?
- Do we have individual talents to support and live our values in the future?
- Do our values support the performance required for success?
Change on human behaviors within an organizational culture
Cultural values, attitudes, assumptions, and behaviors develop over time and become the core fabric in how the organization performs its fundamental mission and implements its strategy. The power and influence of the culture either prevent an organization from effectively functioning or allows the organization to achieve high standards and accomplish seemingly impossible stretch goals. One of the oldest observations of human behavior is that people have a strong tendency to mirror those around them. Whenever you find a strong positive culture built on strong positive values, you will find endless examples of many people – especially crucial people – who live and mirror the organization’s best deals. A strong positive culture provides members with a sense of belonging, direction, stability, and the desire to serve a higher purpose.
Develop leadership capabilities at all levels
As an organization continues to transform itself, it must change the individuals within it. In doing so, an organization and its members will need to continually work on and enhance a culture that will develop leadership capabilities at all levels to make sustainable change to Diversity & Inclusion in the workplace. For organizations to grow, they must hire and train individuals whose attitudes and skills align with their culture and strategy and bring the freshness of innovation and diversity into play. The values and beliefs collectively held by an organization about itself, along with the actions and language used to describe them, must generate and reinforce the positive image spread both internally and externally.
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About U Diverse’s founder:
Magali Toussaint is the founder of ‘U-Diverse’. She is a certified Talent Acquisition Strategist, an ICF-certified Leadership Consultant, a Career Coach, a Cross-Cultural Trainer, and a Job Search Strategist with an extensive career in Recruitment, HR, Diversity, as well as Education. She has lived and worked in over four countries and speaks French, English, and Dutch fluently. Read More...