Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good Diversity Leadership, and Breakthrough Innovation #5 (of 10)

5-Learn and recognize the different ways in which people are intelligent and contribute to the organization. Stop being stuck in recognizing and respecting only one type of intelligence (yours.)

So often in my diversity and inclusion programs, people will make comments like,"I have no problem with people who are different. I respect everyone."

First of all, if you think that diversity and inclusion is about having no "problem," then that is the problem. People who are culturally intelligent are curious about people who are different. They want to learn about others.
When someone thinks of diversity as "having no problem," it means everything remains the same.  "We all just do our jobs. there is nothing to be gained or lost by working with a diversity of co-workers."

If you think you "respect everyone," visualize what they means to you. How do you show respect? How do you react to people who disagree with you, or people who are intelligent in a different way? It's easy to say you respect everyone when they're all like you, but be conscious of how you react when someone doesn't agree, or does something in a different way than you.

Become aware of whether or not you are a "my way is the best" type of person.

Research the different ways people are intelligent, and the different ways people learn.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fostering Breakthrough Innovation Through Diversity Leadership #4

Here is the 4th Way to Foster Breakthrough Innovation Through Diversity Leadership.

4- Be introspective and get real about your biases and assumptions. Your behavior that results from those biases and assumptions can impede participation and innovation.

Ask yourself, “Whom am I not seeing?  Do I greet all of my employees or just the ones who are like me?  Do I walk past any employees without saying hello?  Who am I not hearing from in team meetings, and whose opinions am I minimizing, due to bias about work level, function or salary?”

Your bias and assumptions about people different than you mean that you give credibility to people most like you, and minimize the contributions of others. When employees feel unacknowledged and invisible they lose their motivation, and feel alienated from the organization.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fostering Breakthrough Innovation With Good Diversity Leadership #2

2-Be informed about your employees but don’t micromanage.  Acknowledge the progress no matter how small, made by people on your team.  

 Research by Theresa M. Amabile and Steven  J. Kramer shows that employees are motivated when their managers are aware of and acknowledge even their small wins.

Be specific! Don't just say "Good job." That means nothing and is like a generic greeting card. Compliment them on what they did and the results they got. Encourage them to keep going by letting them know you have faith and trust in their abilities.

This applies to individuals and whole teams. Be aware that some people thrive on individual acknowledgement and others want the recognition to include the whole team. 

A good diversity leaders pays attention and is cognizant of these differences. Good diversity leaders know that everyone wants to feel included, and be successful, and that when that happens, they are more creative, willing to take risks, and think innovation.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10 Ways Good Diversity Management Can Foster Innovation #1

In this business era of speed, competition and globalization, innovation rules all.  You never know where the next great product, process or profit builder will originate.

Good Diversity Management and Culturally Intelligent Leadership can make the difference between repeatedly hearing mediocre ideas from the same people, or mining the hidden genius in your organization for breakthrough ideas.

Conversely, not knowing how to access that genius or motivate employees to be creative will eventually make you and your products commodities, competing for lower prices.

I've found ten key ways good diversity management can foster innovation. Here is number 1.

1-Be conscious of the way you communicate with employees.    Ask yourself, “Are they comfortable talking to me about their work, asking questions, and giving me suggestions?” If the answer if no, you need to find out why, and if yes, then keep getting better at it.

Innovation can often come from the lower levels, but if you don’t know how to communicate with everyone, they won’t share ideas, nor will they feel invested in the organization.

Make a habit of interacting with the people on your team whom you may not know well, or with whom you are least comfortable. Identify the reasons for your discomfort, so you can move through it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My  book  "110 Ways to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion," is now in paperback on Amazon

Practical no or low-cost ways to champion diversity and build inclusion every day in your organization

Check it out now!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Inequality, Racism, Homophobia Are Barriers To Success

Can we really claim to support diversity and inclusion and not talk about Ferguson, Missouri, racial disparities and economic exclusion? Someone told me that I shouldn't talk about it in my work because it's too political. If stopping the dehumanization and brutality against people of color, mentally ill and anyone else is too political, then I'm too political. Inclusion is not just for people running the organization, or just for people who think it's "nice.” It means change, transformation and willingness to value each human being who is not out to harm others.

Someone told me that they were getting sick of hearing about Ferguson and the death of Michael Brown.

I said that I was sick of hearing about the deaths of so many people of color at the hands of bad police, and people who want to be police. 

I’ve worked with some amazing police officers who go out, put their lives on the line everyday to protect everyone. I’ve worked with amazing police officers who see a large part of their job as developing relationships with the communities where they work.

I don’t think all police are bad, or racist or homophobic, but I think we need to do something about the ones that are. 

Everyone should  be able to go to the police if they need help. That’s what they are supposed to do,  keep us safe.  Law enforcement doesn’t work if LGBT and people of color are afraid to approach the people who are supposed to protect us, or if we have to get protection from them.

I’ve worked with many good police officers who are here to protect and serve everyone, but when other officers who out of fear, hatred or ignorance unnecessarily harm or take the lives of civilians particularly people of color, are not held accountable, don’t suffer any consequences, and continue to keep their jobs. It makes everyone else look bad. It creates resentment, fear and distrust of police in those communities.

I’m not saying that cops shouldn’t arrest people, or shoot people. I’m just saying that they should arrest and shoot the right people. Their credibility and ability to do their job right is at stake. 

I'm also calling for more education for police officers and anyone else in law enforcement. Breaking bias and eliminating fear of others can save lives of people in the community and police. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Diversity and Inclusion is Not Just Having an Open Mind

A participant in one of my Diversity and Cultural Intelligence 
programs this week said that it was just a matter of having an open mind. That's like using the word "respect." To many people having an open mind is being around people who are just like themselves. I don't even know what that means any more.

Most people think they have an open mind. Consider this- how open is your mind to people who are different or don't agree or have a really different perspective.

Becoming Culturally Intelligent is learned and conscious. It doesn't just happen. Getting rid of bias about others is learned and conscious.
In order to understand diversity you have to learn to understand yourself. In order to open your mind you have to be aware of where your mind is closed. Be conscious of your actions that you take based on a bias you have from what you've heard from others.

Do you look for ways to confirm a bias or an assumption or do you consider that you might be wrong?