In this special bonus episode of The Forum Podcast, Dr. Christopher Sansone (Verticle Leadership), Maria Velasco, MA (Beyond Inclusion Group) answer questions from listeners that attended our webinar Harnessing the Power of Resistance: Transformative Leadership Strategies, sponsored by AON.
Subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, Anchor
Dr. Christopher Sansone and Maria Velasco, MA answer questions from our listening audience around these talking points:
- Helping leaders understand that there is personal work that they need to do
- Develop the skills to move forward to become better people leaders
- How companies can address fear associated with challenging political positions without unleashing toxicity into the workplace
- Figuring out how to engage those that are not interested in DEI or resistant to DEI
- Understanding “resistance” as a natural protective reaction
For additional context and insight into this topic and conversation, watch the replay of Harnessing the Power of Resistance: Transformative Leadership Strategies.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Announcer: [00:00:00] The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Podcast is sponsored by US Bank. Embracing what makes us unique creates more possibilities for all. Learn more at usbank.com/diversity. US Bank, member FDIC, equal housing lender. You’re listening to the Forum on Workplace Inclusion podcast. It’s happening. The Forum’s 33rd annual conference, Workplace Revolution, is March 8th through 12th, 2021.
A Forum conference like never before, the 33rd annual conference will be completely virtual with the same high-quality Forum programming you’ve come to know, love, and expect. This year’s annual conference is our most affordable, most accessible, and at five days long, our biggest conference ever. Register early and take advantage of reduced early bird pricing. Join us from anywhere on March 8th, through 12th, 2021 for the Forum on Workplace Inclusion 33rd annual conference, Workplace Revolution. Be a part of the global conversation. Be a part of the solution. Be a part of the workplace revolution.
For more information, visit forumworkplaceinclusion.org/2021. That’s forumworkplaceinclusion.org/2021. We get to engage people, advance ideas, and ignite change because of the generous support from our community. If you find our resources meaningful or valuable, please consider supporting the Forum today. Visit forumworkplaceinclusion.org/donate. That’s forumworkplaceinclusion.org/donate. Thank you very much for your support and generosity.
With that, I’d like to say thank you to all our listeners and subscribers. You help support the growth of the podcast and reach new listeners. If you like what you’re hearing on the Forum podcast, please consider writing a review on Apple Podcast or wherever you listen to your podcast. If you’ve already written a review, thank you. Please consider sharing our podcast with a friend, family member, or a colleague you think might find value in the content. Word of mouth is the best way the Forum grows. Thank you very much for listening and sharing. Thanks again, and enjoy the show.
Ben Rue: Hello, and thank you for joining us for today’s podcast. Harnessing the Power of Resistance: Transformative Leadership Strategies Continued with Maria Velasco and Dr. Christopher Sansone. I’m Ben Rue, Program Associate here at the Forum Workplace Inclusion. This podcast is a continuation podcast of our November webinar by the same title, Harnessing the Power of Resistance: Transformative Leadership Strategies, which had a lot of wonderful questions, which we were not able to get to during the webinar.
Thankfully Maria and Chris have agreed to come back and do this follow-up conversation with me so we could answer a couple of those wonderful questions. Maria Velasco is the Founder and CEO of Beyond Inclusion Group, a comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion firm committed to helping organizations increase engagement, innovation, and performance by fostering inclusive and equitable cultures where everyone thrives and belongs. Maria is a strategic organizational development and leadership consultant for organizations seeking transformative change in the area of diversity, equity, inclusion.
She has over 15 years of experience developing and implementing sustainable diversity and inclusion initiatives to help strengthen and leverage diversity for organizations from a variety of, with the goal of reducing bias, increasing cultural competence, promoting inclusion, and institutional change. Her clients come from fields such as education, healthcare, mental health, technology, scientific, government, and non-profit organizations throughout the US. Maria uses appreciative inquiry and action learning methodologies to build cultures of inclusion, to foster intercultural understanding.
Born and raised in Salamanca, Spain, Maria has a BA in Business Administration and a Master’s in Art from the Organization Development and Leadership, and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Consulting from Fielding University. Chris Sansone. PhD is a partner at Vertical Leadership [00:04:00] and has more than 20 years of experience designing leadership programs and change initiatives, engaging members’ minds, emotions, and spirits in scientific, technological, university, and engineering Organizations.
A Prosci-Certified Change Practitioner, he helps his clients build workforces of change, readiness, and inclusivity. He has peer-reviewed research published on leadership program design and leading diversity, equity, and inclusion change initiatives. Certified by the Coaches Training Institute, Chris’s doctorate is in organizational development from the Fielding Graduate University, and he teaches at the Hoffman Institute.
Ben Rue: First of all, I just want to say welcome to both of you. Thank you so much for agreeing to come back. We’re really looking forward to continuing this conversation and getting to answer a lot of these great questions that we weren’t able to get to during the actual webinar.
Maria Velasco: Hi Ben. Thank you so much for having us back. We’re really excited to be part of this podcast and to continue the conversation that we started, a couple of weeks ago.
Ben Rue: Great. Like I said, we are also very excited. There was a great turnout during the webinar. Like I said, a lot of great questions. I’m going to just jump right in with the first one, which is for you, Maria. It’s how do you help leaders understand that they have personal work that they need to do?
Maria Velasco: This is such a great question. How do we help anyone understand that they have work that they need to do, and particularly leaders? Of the five strategies that we shared during our webinar, that were the result of our research, and I’m going to repeat the strategies. The first one is, “Inquire into the underlying reasons of the resistance.” The second one is, “Widen engagement.” The third one is “Educate and inform.” [00:06:00] The fourth strategy is “Work with leaders to push the agenda.” The fifth strategy that we shared with you was “Address the underlying fear.”
From these strategies, the one that has worked really well in my consulting experience is to educate leaders about two things. The first one is to educate them about the benefits of having an inclusive workplace culture.
Research tells us that organizations with inclusive cultures are two times as likely to meet or exceed financial targets, three times as likely to be high performing, six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business results. This type of education can really motivate leaders to think more about how inclusive their organizational culture is and what is their role.
This is the second thing that is very important to educate leaders about. What is the role they play in promoting workplace culture? Again, research shows that inclusive leaders have a very positive impact on how much individuals feel included in an organization. In fact, inclusive leaders increase the experience of fairness, respect, value, belonging, and psychological safety by 70%. When leaders hear these statistics, they really start thinking about, “Wow, I wonder if we have an inclusive culture.” That’s the next step in helping them understand that they need personal work that they need to do.
The next step is to take the pulse of the organization’s level of inclusion [00:08:00] by administering a workplace culture survey. The results of this survey can be a wake-up for leaders as well as a great motivator for them to do personal work. Now it is essential to break down the results of the surveys by different social identity groups, such as gender ethnicity, race abilities, sexual orientation. Looking at the overall results can be problematic, particularly if the organization has low levels of diversity because, in that situation, the voices of those in minority groups or underrepresented groups can easily get lost in the overall results.
To wrap up my answer, educating leaders about the benefits of having an inclusive culture, about their role in promoting an inclusive workplace culture, and encouraging them to take a look at the current state of affairs in the organization can really help leaders understand and realize that they have organizational work to do as well as personal work to do.
Ben Rue: Thank you so much for that. Chris, we’re going to hop in with the next question for you. Right now there’s a lot of political overlays, and some people are seeing DEI as a challenge to their personal political positions. What are your thoughts about how a company addresses fear without unleashing toxicity into the workplace?
Chris Sansone: Well, first of all, I want to acknowledge that this is a fine line that we’re balancing that, continuing to have the conversation during a time when the political overlay is ripe for toxicity, there’s no doubt about that. There’s never been a better time because of people’s awareness and sensitivity to what’s going on, particularly around racial tension. There’s a couple of suggestions I make. One is don’t [00:10:00] hit it head-on. That does sound a little illogical, but what I’m referring to is, don’t hit on the argumentative side, don’t hit on the competitive side.
Don’t force people into the conversations by mandatory trainings and events and compliance and grievance policies and such, those have proven to backfire. We know that from the research, and we know it from our practice. That said, there is a particular change model that works, especially well when dealing with difficult conflicts, and some of our listeners may know about appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry has many applications. It is basically a change process that begins with affirmation. It essentially creates an opportunity for growth and change by identifying what’s working in a system.
We’re looking for themes, actual occurrences, stories that individuals and collectively they have been involved with around change in the organization. We’re looking for a whole system’s dialogue. It’s a way of engaging people in what is working and then converting those kinds of conversations into what we want to accomplish. A couple of principles around appreciative inquiry. Again, it’s an intervention that really is highly effective at supporting diversity, inclusion, and an equity initiative in organizations. Here are some of the principles. Number one, every voice counts.
Each individual has a voice and merit that we need to listen to, needs to be included and integrated into your conversation. We don’t have to follow every recommendation, but we have to listen. Second, every voice deserves to be heard. That’s the merit of listening. [00:12:00] Each individual has a unique contribution to make. We’re looking to ferret out those voices and make this a collective experience. Third, every voice is included in the AI conversation in the room. That’s really actually very prescriptive, to say that, when we have an appreciative inquiry event, we are looking to eventually compile all of the data.
As the name indicates, this is an inquiry, we’re looking to incorporate the data into a larger conversation. Basically, these principles position AI as an OD change process, an organization development change process that really speaks to hearing all voices in a manner that’s focused on strengths, on building capacity, and really is crafting a new vision together. Maybe, as easy as that sounds, it can actually be that easy. There are some difficulties of keeping the conversation on track with what’s working, what is positive. Even complaints can be brought into the conversation in a way that is productive.
Even grievances can be brought into the conversation that ultimately proves productive. It’s our orientation. Rather than focusing on problems, we’re focusing on strengths and opportunities. Not always easy, but it’s highly effective. Once the organization begins adopting that that underlying approach, it can be applied to any other kinds of changes in the organization. It is infectious in that way. It can go viral in such a positive way, so appreciative inquiry.
I’ll talk a little bit more about forcing the issue as I open my answer to you. I’ll talk about that more specifically and what that could look like. I’d say for right now, one [00:14:00] of the best answers to that question of addressing toxicity in our environment now is focusing on strengths by way of appreciative inquiry.
Ben Rue: Thank you. Oh, Maria.
Maria Velasco: I don’t have anything to add.
Ben Rue: Great. Well, thank you. That’s so important right now with the polarized situation, so many workplaces are in. Maria, this next question is actually for you. How do you help individuals develop the skills to move forward and become better people leaders?
Maria Velasco: Thank you. This is a great question. Obviously, there are a lot of different approaches that you can take to developing leaders. However, our approach has four dimensions. The first dimension is building the leader’s awareness about the need to change. We do this by measuring the leader’s capacity to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. As I mentioned in my previous answer, we use at Beyond Inclusion Group the intercultural development inventory as a tool to build that awareness. The second dimension to our approach is fostering reflection.
We help the leaders take a close look at their results, at their intercultural development assessment results, and to consider what may be the impact of these results in the day-to-day interactions with others and in their ability to lead across differences. The third dimension of our development approach is facilitating learning for leaders through educational opportunities in order to increase their knowledge and to help expand their current mindset. We also help them develop new skills that lead to more inclusive behaviors. Now, these educational opportunities [00:16:00] can come in the form of voluntary training programs.
However, it is essential that the content of these programs specifically target where the leaders are in their diversity, equity, and inclusion developmental stage in order to be effective. Another developmental opportunity is individual coaching for leaders. A coaching relationship can really support leaders to turn towards challenges that they are experiencing when leading across differences and to help them develop goals, specific goals to improve. The last dimension that we use in our approach is taking action by strategically engaging leaders in resolving real-world, real-time challenges within their organizations.
For example, we often ask leaders to deconstruct specific policies and procedures with their new mindset in order to identify inequities and to reconstruct these policies and procedures using an equity lens. That’s just an application to everything that they have learned.
Ben Rue: Chris, one of our webinar attendees said, “The struggle for us is that it’s always the same folks who are involved in our DEI. We’re stuck figuring out how to engage those that are not interested or resistant. The company provided us with a book, So You Want to Talk About Race, and people have shared frustrations with it, but mostly it’s from non-BIPOC.”
Chris Sansone: It’s exhausting, isn’t it? To be a person of color and have to be charged with as if you are a resident expert. I’ll say it briefly, and then I’m going to add one more to this, but white people need to step up. [00:18:00] I’d identify as a white male cis-gendered. I got into this work inadvertently and it was due to a white ally. He made a suggestion, I stepped up, and I took on his suggestion, and one thing led to the other and it’s been a lifetime of focus, my professional life. It’s been enriching deeply. That said, all right, so what do we do? We have people standing on the sidelines, perhaps even attempting to interfere.
I said earlier that oftentimes hitting the top square on can create more backlash than good. What we’re looking for is momentum. We want to get people engaged. In fact, if you look at our five strategies that we identified through the research that we presented, number two, “widen engagement” has to do with taking an all-inclusive approach, engaging people in a positive manner. What the research bears out, as well as our own individual and professional experiences, is that when managers actively help boost diversity in their organization, they begin to think of themselves as diversity champions, and that is true across race.
Most organizations have an achievement mentality, that they get rewarded for high performance, for meeting the KPIs that are identified. Let’s make this a KPI, a Key Performance Indicator that is transparent. Let’s build it into how we do our work together. I’m going to name a couple of the other approaches to widen engagement that have proven particularly effective. One is voluntary training, underscore voluntary. Second is mentoring. Third is diversity task forces. [00:20:00] The fourth is the presence of diversity managers.
This is all, if you look at all of this, there’s a bit of recruitment in this if, at the very least, there’s a mindfulness in the organization to pay attention to this. By raising people’s awareness, and placing those in the view of what’s important, what are we here to achieve, now change starts to happen. We’ve got to create that engagement. We’ve got to create relationships where people will connect across race. Mentoring is an avenue to create that. The mentor, along with their protegees, exploit opportunities to support the protege to create change, and guess what’s happening with the mentor?
They’re dissolving any cognitive dissonance that they’ve got about the change, and their resistance begins to dissipate. They’re invested. Women and minorities, as we have shown, have proven to benefit significantly from formal mentoring programs. Even top leaders that have helped to mentor others have become personally invested in the change themselves. Again, that’s across race, and it’s a proven way to get leaders involved. We really do have to enroll them, they’ve got to become engaged, and frankly, they have to look at it, as I did years ago, through the lens of, “What’s in it for me?” Find the driving force for what’s important to you.
You can’t make anyone change, it’s like you hold a colloquialism, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink, it’s like that. As Maria was indicating, if a person is invested in change, if they want to raise your performance indicators, if they want to move up the continuum on the IDI [00:22:00] then there’s some motivation there, that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking to enroll people so that they adopt change personally. I know there’s more to be said about that but I wanted to give Maria some time here. Maria, what’s up? What’s next for Maria, or you want to comment on this?
Maria Velasco: No.
Chris Sansone: All right.
Ben Rue: Great. Thank you. Well, I’m going to hop in with another question from Maria. When leveraging resistance, do you consider different tactics for different ways people react to change, for example, early adopters, late majority, et cetera, and also which are more effective for each type?
Maria Velasco: Great. This is a great question. We know that in any change management initiative, we are going to find individuals that are at different levels of readiness. What I will say, before going to each of the types and the strategy that I recommend, I will say that the strategy you want to use first, independently of the level of readiness of the individual, is to inquire into the source or sources of the resistance. This is the only way that you’re going to make sure that you are addressing the specific concerns that that person has. Again, individually of their level of readiness.
Now, in terms of the different levels of readiness, we know for change management theory, that usually in any change management initiatives, we’re going to find 2%, 2.5% of individuals that are innovators. These are people who want to be the first to try the innovation. They’re venturesome, they are interested in new ideas, and they are willing to take risks. For this type of individuals, there is really not much that needs to be done in order [00:24:00] to move them along because they usually don’t have a lot of resistance.
Now, the other type of individuals that we find in change management theory is what is called the early adopters, which is usually about 14% of the population in an organization. These people are generally considered thought leaders, and they have a lot of influence. They enjoy leadership roles, and they embrace change as well as new opportunities. They are already aware of the need to change, so they are very comfortable adopting new ideas. In this case, for the early adopters, a strategy that I recommend is to educate them particularly to help them develop new skills.
They are already enrolled on the change, but what they want to know is the how-to. That’s the strategy. For the next group of individuals that are called the early majority, which tends to be about 34% of any organization. They don’t use to be leaders, but they adapt to new ideas before the average person. For these particular group, the strategies that work well for them is to educate them about the vision, about the why behind the initiative, and to really connect the initiative to their own values. They just need to know, “Why is this important for the organization and for myself as a member of the organization?”
The next group, according to change management theory, is the late majority, it’s about 34% of the population. They tend to be very skeptical to change, [00:26:00] and will only adopt an initiative after having been tried by others. The strategies to appeal to them is to widen engagement. Chris has already been referencing quite extensively about how to do that, how to widen engagement. The last group is the deep resistors, and normally, we find about 15% of the population in the organization tends to resist change. They’re also called questioners, resistors, delayers.
These are people that are bound to tradition, they tend to be very conservative. They are very skeptical of change and are really the hardest group to bring on board to any change initiative. In terms of the strategies that really will appeal to this group, it’s to address their fears, what it is that they are afraid of. People that are conservative in general, they are afraid to lose their way of living, the way that seems that have always been done. Really asking open questions to help to identify what their real fears are, and making sure to meet them where they are.
You may be at a stage of development that is more higher than their stage of development. The idea is, how do I talk to these individuals in a way that they understand me, in a way that what I’m saying resonates to their values? It’s really important to adapt to them and to talk to them from their perspective, from their level of development, in order to enroll them into the change.
Ben Rue: Thank you much. I’m going to say that the last one sounds easier said than done sometimes, but yes, I can bet– [00:28:00] I was going to ask which one is your favorite group, but we don’t have time. Let’s not get into that. We’re moving on to unfortunately our last question. Again, I want to thank our listeners from the webinar for submitting these wonderful questions, I wish I could take credit for them, but they’re not my question.
The last one is going to be for you, Chris. “In my work as a social worker, resistance is often reframed as a natural protective reaction, that occurs to me, this has an application on an individual group family working et cetera at an organizational level. Do you find this to be true? Is this what you’re describing as the WIIFM dynamic?
Chris Sansone: Yes, the What’s In It For Me dynamic, absolutely, yes. One thing that we could look up from a what’s in it for us dynamic as well ultimately because we’re talking about collective units organizations. One thing I want to say yes too that resistance is a natural protective reaction, absolutely. We all need resistance in order to change. That may sound counterintuitive, and here’s why. This is why resistance is a natural precursor to change, it’s an indicator.
If we’re not experiencing some discomfort, if we’ve not experienced some cognitive dissonance between the way that we are, the way that we see and believe, and what’s in front of us, then we are not experiencing an opportunity for change. There is no call into anything. We are simply staying at the modicum of what’s typical. When we experience that internal struggle, to meet that cognitive dissonance, and we can do this collectively and individually, there’s an internal structure we have to work with. If we don’t have a healthy sense of self, that to put in another term, if we don’t have a healthy ego structure, then we can’t move into the change. Yes to discomfort, yes to resistance being a natural protective reaction. I think we covered that pretty thoroughly in our presentation at the webinar. What we’re looking at is paradoxical, flipping resistance on its head and saying, “Here’s an opportunity. Here’s a way that we can create change.” Let’s move into that. How we do it has all the bearing on what kind of outcomes we create. Essentially, we’re looking at embracing discomfort so we can talk about and tackle the tough issues.
The good news is, and this is going to actually– I’ll refer back to one of the earlier questions. The good news is that the majority of top leaders in or more progressive organizations already understand how critical these conversations are. Indeed, it’s happening across healthcare and university systems, across for-profit organizations, tech, and others. It is happening. There is a wave of change. We are moving the dial. Perhaps not quickly enough, or perhaps with more resistance than we want, but it is happening.
Here’s the thing about those that are facing this change in positions of leadership is, and I’m going to speak predominantly to those leaders who identify as white. They’re terrified. They’re terrified about messing up, saying the wrong thing to their stakeholders, to their employees, board members, funders, clients, customers, and they get paralyzed into inaction. Well, the worst thing we can do is just keep pounding on the drum of fear and create more inaction. What we want to do is engage the leaders. We want to bring them into the conversation.
This is not about seeking permission [00:32:00] or deferring, it’s about taking a position and enrolling others through engagement, through involvement, and other ways that people personally are connecting with the change. There’s a kind of a skillset that goes with this as a leader. Let’s say that I’m terrified. I’m white and I’m leading an organization that has traditionally been whiteness, run by the dominant constructs, and I want to change. Well, the skill set that I need to evoke is inquiry. I spoke about appreciative inquiry as a changed model, but I’m talking about a personal approach to this. I need to get curious.
I can’t pretend that I know everything that, I’m knowledgeable about all the topics because I’m not. I began asking questions so that I can help inform myself to overcome that uncomfortable silence, and to address any awkward exchanges that are going to come my way regarding my power and privilege because they are. The primary focus here is to engage myself as a learner, and that requires some vulnerability. I have to admit that I don’t know, and I’m seeking answers. Not like others need to provide my answers, but then I’m figuring it out.
I might ask questions like– To explore my curiosity, what are some of the bigger challenges that you have, some of the bigger barriers to your success, and what role can I play in helping to remove those barriers? Implies empowerment to the other and self. This is not about, “You figure it out for me and tell me what to do.” Another question, how do you feel as you take risks at work? In order to contribute, what do you need to do to contribute to the organization, to our community? Another one is [00:34:00] what percentage of your time is spent on addressing exclusion, microaggressions against yourself or others?
Those are all time-wasters. How do we remove that? How do we educate others? A couple of other questions are, whose voice, or what perspective is missing from this conversation? How can I amplify your voice and that of other underrepresented voices? We need you in the organization. These are ways of getting involved with a sense of empowerment that we are going to create change. It doesn’t tell a certain skill set, the ability to listen to others. Suspend judgment, bracket assumptions, and just listen. Deeply listen to the whole organization and to individuals.
It also begs the craft of the skill of asking questions that are truly powerful, that evoke reflection and learning. If we’re not afraid of making some verbiage blunders, and using the wrong terminology in such that we’re willing to take on a learning process, we are actually modeling the change that we’re attempting to establish within our organizations. Yes, back to the earlier questions, some questions that we ask, some of the things we may choose to do may trigger deeply held emotions. Is it just inevitable, but that’s part of the process.
We need them to reflect, to learn, to react, take a different step toward the same goal, by this time being informed so we can educate ourselves. We need to read up, we need to listen. We need to become involved and be willing to make mistakes. In other words, we have to get vulnerable, we have to get uncomfortable. If we’re grappling with complex [00:36:00] change, we got to be willing to take it on and to model it for others. That’s what a true transformative leader does. It doesn’t hurt that, to have a skill or two around apologizing and admitting your mistakes. We’re human, we’re going to make it, we have blindspots.
We have opportunities when others are going to correct us. Hey, express gratitude and move on and thank them for the learning opportunity. Sometimes, your ego is going to be hurt, but, it’s time to just get out there and do it again. You rose to that level of leadership for a reason, and some qualities within you, call on those. Maria, do you have anything else you’d want to add to that?
Maria Velasco: Another way to really tailor your strategy to the resistance that different people are experiencing in the organization is to do an assessment. Chris and I have developed a tool, as a result of our research, that is called DIRI, D-I-R-I, Diversity and Inclusion Readiness Indicator. DIRI is used to proactively identify each unique kind of resistance found within diversity, equity, and inclusion in your change initiatives. It really helps predict what types of resistance, what are the sources of resistance that different groups within your organization are experiencing, so you can design specific strategies for the different fears, the different groups are experiencing.
For example, many times leaders experience resistance around, “Well, I’m not sure about what the impact of this initiative is going to have on our mission, or I not sure how does diversity, equity, or [00:38:00] inclusion initiative is going to change the way we do things around here.” You will know that for that group, through the assessment, you have identified that they need more education. For that specific group, you will make sure to design that strategy, or maybe front-light employers are experiencing other different kinds of fears.
Maybe they are afraid that they are going to be losing their power or their privilege. Then you will design a specific strategy for that specific group or for that specific department that matches the source of the fear in order to move them forward.
Chris Sansone: I think DIRI is a wonderful tool, and it has a very specific or contoured application that is once we know if we were looking to change, now we go out and continuously test. It’s like a pulse check on the change itself, and it answers a lot. I think with any initiative, we’ve got to pay attention to why is this idea better than anything else we’ve done? Conversely, another way to answer that is what happens if we don’t change?
That question gets surfaced, and it creates the opportunity for having these conversations.
We get the results back and take a look and we say, “Oh, it looks like we’ve got some barriers to change here around not really understanding how this idea is better.” In other words, we can look at it as how consistent is this initiative with our own values, either personally or as an organization? How does it fit with our vision, our mission, and our organization? Once again, that’s another way of collectively tackling this issue of creating inclusion, creating equity without hitting it right on the nose and creating a backlash. [00:40:00] We’re looking at where the commonalities? This kind of data speaks to that. Maria, anything else you want to suggest?
Maria Velasco: Not really. I think the great application of this specific tool is that he can help you identify what are the most salient areas of resistance for certain teams, for certain individuals, so really, you can design different types of strategies at different levels of the organization.
Chris Sansone: Ben, is it all right if I throw in another? One of the things that I want to emphasize is how to create the momentum for change without once again creating backlash because oftentimes hitting things overtly, hitting things in a mandatory sense, with a sort of legal enforcement posture ends up creating a backlash, but how about the diversity task force? This isn’t charged by the HR department, this is charged by executive sponsorship. This is director level on up, and ideally, the higher up we go, the better. If the CEO forms a diversity task force, now the diversity task force is charged across the organization.
It is a cross-functional team that’s self-managed and it raises awareness. They are charged with raising awareness throughout the organization. It gets embedded at different levels and at different areas within an organization. It becomes more natural, it’s the way we do things around here. As opposed to, “Oh, boy, here we come with another mandatory training program, how do I test out of this?” Instead it’s not even viewed that way remotely, it’s simply the way we do think. Consider a diversity task force led by at the highest level executive sponsorship.
Ben Rue: Thank you both so much for that [00:42:00] wonderful conversation. Thank you to our listeners for joining us. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to reach out to Maria or Chris directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chris at CGsansone@gmail.com. You can listen to more Forum podcasts at our website, forumworkplaceinclusion.org/podcasts, or you can also find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify Anchor, and Stitcher. Thank you again for listening, have a great day.
Announcer: Thank you again for listening to the Forum and Workplace Inclusion Podcast. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast to get updates and latest episodes. Also, tell us what you think by reviewing our podcast, we’d love to hear your feedback. For more information, visit us at forumworkplaceinclusion.org or search Workplace Forum on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Thank you very much, and have a great day.
The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Podcast is recorded at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. One of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest, Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 9 graduate degrees to 3,000 foreign students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota location.
Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. In Augsburg, education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran Church and shaped by its urban and global settings. Learn more at augsburg.edu
[00:43:32] [END OF AUDIO]