Our approach to diversity & inclusion (D&I) is to seek solutions that are people-centric, realistic, and holistic – without losing sight of our clients’ strategic goals and business imperatives. We feel that many organizations have come to view D&I as an HR-centric, compliance-focused, numbers game aimed primarily on race, gender, and (more recently) sexual orientation. As a result, although organizations are hiring more minorities, most have not seen meaningful change in company culture, pace of innovation or levels of growth.
To us, “diversity” is so much more than race and gender! At its core, it is about understanding and making space for diversity of thought and experience – both of which are essential to creative problem-solving and driving innovation.
The data is clear: diverse teams are more innovative, and innovative teams are more diverse. To be successful, they are also inclusive, which means encouraging, not merely “allowing”, those with opposing points of view a chance to voice their opinions and be part of the process. This can often lead to conflict within the organization. Managing and resolving these inevitable conflicts in a healthy, authentic, and holistic way, is one of the most important attributes of successful teams and organizations. That is why diverse teams are also better at handling conflict and mitigating risk.
Devising and implementing D&I strategies and initiatives is challenging work because it inevitably involves change. Large, organization-wide change often fails to take hold over the long-term because, in our experience, many initiatives fail at the most basic level: the individual. They often focus on the systems, products or processes without contemplating the day to day impact on employees – the core of every organization. Diversity, inclusion and culture change are uniquely challenging because they impact the entire ecosystem – executive leadership, employees, customers, vendors and the public. They also require that teams and working groups have a healthy relationship with conflict and the ability to comfortably navigate difficult conversations.
We believe Real-Time Awareness™ (RTA™) and Collaborate In Conflict™ (CiC™) are core skills that are at the heart of driving change. Innovation requires meaningful diversity – which includes race, gender, age, cognitive, and culture. We advocate for starting small – working first with small teams, then testing and iterating our way to a people-centric, customer-driven solution. Small teams are flexible, efficient and can serve as one of the most powerful catalysts for change. This approach is also cost-effective and mitigates risk. We believe everyone can develop Real-Time Awareness™ to better understand the impact they are having on others. They can also learn to Collaborate In Conflict™ to help their team mitigate risk and maximize opportunities for success.