From Surviving to Thriving in DEI Work: Creating Spaciousness to Inspire Inclusion and Innovation

90-minute Workshops

Day 3

Session Code: S6-J
When: April 18, 2019
Location/Room: M 101 AB
Level: Introductory
Track: Innovation & Transformation
Presenter: Tanya Cruz Teller, Spaciousness Works


Even in the best of times, DEI work is hard. And in these polarized times, even more so. We are in constant problem-solving mode, systems are complex and are requiring both internal and external disruption. We need policies and practices that guide and protect people, we need more awareness and behavior change, we need to find that elusive bridge between differing perspectives and experiences, and we need innovation when people are feeling contracted. This can be incredibly tiring. Many leaders are questioning their resilience and sustainability. When reflecting on the elders in this work who have passed on prematurely, and the heightened levels of transformation fatigue, it raises real concerns.

This heavy weight that we carry in the work, what if it didn’t have to feel heavy all the time? What becomes possible for us—what DEI solutions, innovations and connections spark when we are in a more spacious state? A theory of change emerged from Tanya Cruz Teller’s work in South Africa based on persistently engaging with this question: Is it possible to hold the complexity of transformation, diversity, equity and inclusion, in a spacious way—in a way that enables people to feel like the change is possible, collectively desirable and that they’re not solely in conflict, competition, alone, or up against a wall?

Creating this sense of spaciousness is possible when visioning and strategic planning with diverse teams using the Appreciative Leadership Lotus (ALL) model. This model proposes that if people can renew an authentic, positive outlook of themselves, they are more open to relating to others. When in healthy relationship to others, feeling connected, people and groups are able to get creative, innovate solutions and then move to action planning around bold new ideas. This iterative process inspires and accelerates inclusion.

In this session, participants will get to understand the ALL model experientially using a question adapted from adrienne maree brown’s book, Emergent Strategy: “What if DEI work was the most joyful work you could think of?” Be prepared to be surprised, energized and to come out with a plan for more sustainable joy in your DEI work.

Learning Outcome
  1. Gain a process, ideas and tools for increasing inclusion and innovation in teams
  2. Experience visioning and planning for DEI with spaciousness
  3. Tap into energy, hope and a personal plan for joy in DEI work

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion®
2211 Riverside Ave, CB 54
Minneapolis, MN 55454
(612) 373-5994

Photos by Sarah Morreim Photography
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