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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: September 2019

By Dr Ian Dodds FRSA – Lotus Award winner 2017 for Lifetime Achievement in Pioneering Inclusive Cultures

Most Diversity and Inclusion Programmes don't work and this blog describes what does

– An article in the July/August edition of the Harvard Business Review by Professors Frank Dobbin and Alexandra Kalev, entitled 'Why Diversity Programs fail', describes how their research has shown that many organisations are trying to reduce bias and enhance equality and inclusion for underrepresented diverse groups by using the same approaches they have been using since the 1960s. Their research has shown, using data from 829 firms over 3 decades, that the transactional approaches being used actually tend to make things worse by decreasing the proportion of underrepresented diverse groups in senior management. This is, of course, something this author has been saying for many years. In my blogs I have consistently advocated transformational approaches which engage managers in solving the problem by building inclusive cultures, processes and workplaces. This involves taking a long term strategic, transformational approach involving:

1. Offering a vision of future organisational success through developing a workplace, which is inclusive to everyone, whatever their differences, and communicating it to everyone and seeking their feedback on what will help and hinder the delivery of the vision.
2. Using this feedback to construct a strategy for delivering this vision covering quick wins and longer term strategic actions. Once again this is communicated to everyone and each team is asked to determine its contribution to the strategy.
3. Setting up a Change Steering Group to drive and monitor the strategy and ensure blockages to it are addressed. This is often called a Diversity and Inclusion Council.
4. The leaders of the organisation becoming role model exemplars of inclusive behaviour. In my experience this is best effected by their having feedback and coaching on their practice of inclusive behaviour.
5. Training all of the managers in:
– Valuing and respecting each person's diversity;
– listening skills, including: seeking information; checking understanding;
acknowledging feelings and positive contributions; summarising; etc;
– how to empower people;
– how to give effective feedback and in-the-moment coaching.
6. Ensuring the organisation, business processes and systems enable inclusion.
7. Measuring progress and addressing barriers and sharing success stories and the lessons on good practices from them

This is a process that I have used for many years and always with success. In more recent times I have used it successfully with many clients, including Goldman Sachs, Wates Construction, Cisco Systems and Sodexo, all of which are recognised as champions of Diversity and Inclusion. If you want more information on this please don't hesitate to contact me.

Dr Ian Dodds,
20 August 2019

·      Inclusive cultures drive high performance and complex changeau

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