The Cost of Exclusion
I feel heavy recently. Every headline, every name, every victim is with me. The expectation is that I carry on as usual in my roles as a mother, wife, friend, neighbor, and leader. It feels impossible. It’s been almost one year since the murder of George Floyd and I am forever changed because of it. Since his passing, there have been even more racially motivated tragedies. Sometimes I want to turn it all off and disconnect from this painful reality, but I realize that having that option is a privilege. Maybe like me, you’re feeling the weight of it all.
How do we balance staying up to date and doomscrolling? Responsibility and sanity?
These moments can change all of us for the better, and my goal is to help. Our mission is to help you do diversity and inclusion differently. No blame. No shame. No guilt. No canceling!! If you’ve been hoping for a way forward within your organization this blog is for you.
Gone are the days when people were willing to hide pieces of themselves at work. Today, when people walk in your door, they want the freedom and support to be their whole self. In other words, their grief and anger don’t stop between the hours of 9 and 5 PM.
If you feel like conversations about injustice are inescapable, it’s because they are and they should be. Turn on the television. Pick up the paper. Scroll through your phone. See how many times you come across a social justice post, view another act of racially motivated violence, or read about a corporate PR blunder that was so easily avoidable. People are done sweeping unacceptable mistakes and acts of violence under the rug. They are calling for accountability and employers, managers, and leaders are no exception. Studies show that over 77% of adults would consider a company’s culture before applying for a job there, and over 50% say company culture is more important than salary.
While we have been working to raise awareness, uncover biases and bring harmony to the workplace for the past 17 years, this year we decided to design the Conscious Equity Program as a way to truly support teams like yours to bring equity to the workplace.
The cost of ignoring the need for equity affects everyone on the team. From your bottom line, whether because of a company gaffe or loss of talent, contributing to the hurt the world is experiencing, the costs of being misaligned with your team are far-reaching. Right now is the time to reassess the quality of the training that you are both providing and receiving.
The truth is, creating a diverse and inclusive environment is no longer a “one day, maybe”, it’s officially the gold standard for any successful business. This means that not a minute (or penny) more can be wasted on training programs that claim to be about achieving diversity but are actually just tick-box formalities. Too much is on the line!
So often at ConsciousLead we see employers who desperately want to make a difference but have no idea where to start. Joseph, the head of a diversity and inclusion committee at his place of work, shared with me his frustration trying to confront racial injustice in the office. He was tasked to train his team in diversity and inclusion and despite having a few resources to help, Joseph shared with me that, “it feels like we are just ticking boxes with our quick programs. People are watching… and we can’t screw this up.” He is right. People are watching and the anxiety about how to handle equity-related issues and improve work culture is echoing through all levels of leadership.
Joseph felt uncomfortable doing racial justice and inclusion work, not because he didn’t support the cause or see its value, but because he didn’t have the right tools to take on the task. After we got to the bottom of what was holding him back, we immediately set into action and designed a plan that would lead to an increase in his confidence so that he could have these important conversations without fear.
The first step to boosting Joseph’s confidence was eliminating blame, shame, and guilt from the equation. This step is fundamental to our equity work because real change can’t be done without it. This isn’t an overnight thing – we all have such deeply engrained values, beliefs, and automatic ways of being – but it can’t be overlooked!
With guilt out of the way, we were able to build up his communication skills, but not just any communication — conscious communication. This training involves teaching the connection between thoughts, words, behaviors and values, and minimizing harm to oneself and others. Conscious communication makes the difference not only because it makes it possible to have these incredibly difficult conversations, but it also leads to higher chances that these conversations will turn out better than you could have hoped.
After our time together, Joseph told us, “I feel like I have integrity with the care I’m supposed to provide. I feel more confident to deliver the current courses and do my part in this work.” We’re excited to have Joseph and his team join us for our Conscious Equity Program to be the first to help them sustain the diversity and inclusion impact for the long term. Please book a call with us
Is fear getting in the way of you doing your part? Every day we’re coaching people who, just like Joseph, are feeling lost when it comes to making a positive difference in their workplace. The Conscious Equity Program is a safe space for you to learn. You don’t have to know all the right terms or understand all the nuances of discrimination. No more sore feet from walking on eggshells. You won’t be blamed, shamed, or guilted into change.
If this sounds like a place you want to step into and learn, we encourage you to download our free e-book on diversity and inclusion.