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?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Diversity and Inclusion Heroes and Zeroes - August 2014

Here are some of my diversity and inclusion heroes and zeros for August 2014- 
Feel free to send me your diversity and inclusion heroes and zeros.

Diversity and Inclusion Hero #1 is
The Chicago White Sox for sponsoring a night called  “LGBT Pride Night,  Out At the Sox,” on August 16, when they played against the Blue Jays.  So if you live in Chicago,  I hope you cancelled all other plans and bought a ticket. Remember we have to support the people who support us. I expect to see a bunch of selfies to prove you were at the game.

And corresponding Diversity Zeros- all the bigots drinking gallons of Haterade who posted hate bites like When is the Straight Pride night going to be? Duh! It’s everyday, but then again this person is waiting to attend doofus pride. You don’t need a night because you show your doofus pride every time you open your mouth.

An honorary diversity and Inclusion hero wrote back:
And to those "Where is straight pride night" people... come back to me when you can point out a time when straight people were persecuted and alienated because of their orientation. I'll give you a hint and save you time: IT'S NEVER HAPPENED. EVER.
You jerks are an absolute disgrace to humanity.

Go White Sox- my father was from Chicago and the White Sox was his team.

Diversity and Inclusion Hero #2 although a little late to the party but it’s actually never too late to come out for equality-
Target, who  announced their public support for marriage equality by signing an amicus brief before a Chicago federal appeals court.

And corresponding Diversity and Inclusion zero(we expected this,) the National Organization for Marriage who are planning a boycott.

President of this fringe group  Brian Brown said “I'm announcing a new boycott today, against Target, for insulting consumers like you and me. The brief they signed in court this week insinuates that people like you and me, who would vote to uphold traditional marriage, as akin to segregationists and racial bigots. Would you want to shop at a place that viewed you in that way?”

What did the used to say about protesting too much? And If the shoe fits…….

Really National Organization for Marriage- I don’t see Target suffering.  In fact, I know where I’m buying my new curtains and shower curtain-  T A R G E T.

And finally diversity and inclusion incarnation of Satanic foolishness,  talk show host Rick Wiles (who is he anyway)? who said on his show  It may be the great attitude adjustment that I believe is coming. Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion. If Ebola becomes a global plague, you better make sure the blood of Jesus is upon you, you better make sure you have been marked by the angels so that you are protected by God. If not, you may be a candidate to meet the Grim Reaper.”

What hatches some of these zeros, “Godzilla?”

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

in Honor of Gay Pride

In honor of Gay Pride-

Please promise to never use the term "sexual preference." It's culturally ignorant and you sound like you know nothing.

 When someone who should know better uses it, it's simply 
offensive. Please think about sexual orientation and gender identity. Being Transgender is not a sexual orientation.

A person can be Transgender and be straight  or lesbian, bisexual or gay.

This is a good time to learn, ask questions and be educated.

Read about the history of LGBT people, it will help you understand the present and where we need to go in the future.

If you believe in diversity and inclusion, then include LGBT. If you are LGBT and say you believe in diversity and inclusion, consider the fact that diversity and inclusion includes more than just LGBT people, and that every dimension of diversity is in the LGBT population. 

Don't only focus on differences, also look for commonalities and start a discussion.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Beyond LGBTQ, Finding Commonalities In Our Multiple Identities

Beyond LGBTQ, Finding Commonalities In Our Multiple Identities

Every one of us has multiple identities. Those multiple identities influence our thoughts, perceptions and behaviors every day in our lives at work, and in our communities.

Our multiple-identities are like panels that make us each separate but connected beautiful diversity quilts

The late Dr. Roosevelt Thomas stated Diversity is any collective mixture characterized by differences, similarities, and related tensions and complexities.

We each have our own collective mixture, and our beauty is in our complexities, in knowing who we are as people with our own multiple identities in relationship to others, and being curious and willing to know a whole person in all of his or her multiple identities.

When we accept all of who we are and our own beauty, we can see the beauty in others. If we define ourselves in terms of only one dimension of diversity, we define others in terms of only one dimension.  We limit our involvement with people who look different than us, and we limit our ability to create real inclusion where we work and live.

When we define our world and the people around us by what we read, what we hear, and what we’ve learned in the past, our interaction with them is based on a label and that’s how we treat them, whether they are a co-worker, a customer, or a member of our community.

June is Gay pride month, and with the downfall last year of DOMA, more and more LBTQ people are coming out. We’re no longer hiding who we are, and we’re coming out in other ways, in our self-confidence and willingness to engage and be seen as full participants in our own success and the success of our organizations.

As June is Gay Pride, February is Black History month, and other months are designated for different groups, it can be easy to fall into the trap or narrow tunnel of one identity. For now, it’s good to have these months to feel good about ourselves and educate others, but we can’t think that’s it. Because when we do, we miss out on opportunities to develop relationships with people who are different than us

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sign Up Before April 30 to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion

  Simma's Special Spring Diversity and Inclusion Offer

Until April 30, 2014

Do you want your employees to have the tools and information they need to actively build inclusion?

Do you want people in your organization to take initiative instead of waiting to be told what to do?

Do you want to drive your diversity and inclusion work to the next level without having to worry about budget constraints? 
If the answer is yes...........

Sign-up for our package before April 30 to save $1,000.00 which includes:

1- The license to distribute our new E-Book “110 Ways to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion," to everyone in your organization.

Actions suggested in this book can have a dramatic impact on implementation of you diversity and inclusion strategy.

2- The ability to customize the cover with your own company name and logo if you choose.

3- A live webinar or teleseminar (your choice) "How to Champion Diversity and Build Inclusion," customized for your organization. (You'll also be able to record the program for your diversity library) 

What you will get
• Content that is consistent with your diversity strategy, and that reinforces your  message

• Actions employees will take immediately to move your diversity and inclusion strategy forward

• Increase in involvement by any employee who reads the book and/or attends the teleseminar or webinar

•  Ideas and actions that are no or very low cost, and are practical, doable, and easy  

• Content you can use in your own training that will add value, as well as save time on research.

This package is being offered now for only $2500 (regularly $3500) until 
April 30.  You can schedule the webinar or teleseminar any time during the year.

Contact us now to save $1,000 before April 30. For you convenience, you can pay for the package by credit card.   510-527-0700

Here is what people say about the book

"This is a simple tool filled with a variety of good ideas that when implemented will certainly help set the tone for a more inclusive and rewarding workplace. Actions do speak louder than words and this booklet gives you and anyone in your organization 110 ideas to get started on."
Nadia Younes
Group Adviser, Diversity and Inclusion
Rio Tinto 

“This book presents practical and creative ways to build an inclusive work culture in any organization. Simma shows us how people at any level can take actions to advance diversity and be more successful.”
Mercedes Martin
Director of Organizational Development and Senior Executive Coach
Ernst and Young

"In the 21st Century modeling inclusive leadership behavior not only sets you apart as a confident and innovative collaborator, it serves as a competitive business advantage. This practical guide is a valuable and non-threatening resource for all diversity and inclusion leaders, regardless of where you are on your personal journey. Folks often forget what you said to them, but seldom forget how you made them feel.”
Edgar Quiroz
Senior Director National Diversity and Inclusion Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

"110 Ways to Champion Diversity is helpful for those who are ready to take action on D&I issues.  It is concrete and specific and backed up by Simma's knowledge, practicality, and experience in achieving results."
Julie O'Mara
D&I consultant and author of several books and articles, including Global D&I Benchmarks: Standards for Organizations Around the World

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Potential Problems With a Diverse Workforce: Problem #1 and Solution

Potential Problems With a Diverse Workforce:  
Problem #1 and Solution

We’ve probably all have heard that a culturally diverse workforce is more creative and innovative than a homogeneous one. It’s become the “diversity meme,” so much so that there is hesitancy on the part of many people to question that statement.

In over twenty years, and with at least 100 clients,  I’ve come up with three key potential problems and solutions with a diverse workforce.

Here is Problem #1 with the solution.

1-  Your workforce is visibly diverse but people aren’t talking to each other.
    I’m going to share potential problem #1 and its solution now, and write about the other two in 
Problem #1- Your organization has a lot of visible and cultural diversity, but employees stay in their own groups and don’t talk to each other.  People are making assumptions, and talking about each other, but not talking with each other or interacting in a productive way.

Reason: Employees in the organization are used to primarily being around  people from the same background when they are not at work, or when they’ve worked in other organizations.

Your workplace is one of the first times they’ve interacted with people  from different cultures. They know little about people from different backgrounds except what they’ve heard from other members of their community or the media.

There may be discomfort and even tension between groups. They’re hesitant to ask people from other groups for help or share resources.  Communication styles and ways to express disagreement or resolve conflict are may be different. No one wants to say the “wrong thing.”

 Solution: They need to see people who are different as individuals and not as a monolith. In order to work well  together they have to be comfortable with each other.

Process: Bring people together for problem solving meetings. Break employees into small working  groups with people who are different from each other. Before they begin working, engage them in a dialogue process where they get to know a little about each other as people.
It can be a simple topic like discussing how they came to work at your company, what they enjoy the most about working there, or what they wish they had learned in school.

You can then ask them to talk about a time when they had to collaborate with others to solve a logistical problem and to describe how they solved it.

Then give them a real problem they need to work on in their groups.

This process may seem simple, or you might think it will take too much time when everyone has so much work to do. You’ll actually save time, money and energy.  The sooner you get people talking, sharing information, and interacting, the more comfortable they will be working together, sharing ideas and resources. You will see a rapid growth of innovation, creativity and discover their hidden genius.