While the foundation for D&I seems to be robust, current challenges seem to relate to the effective implementation of D&I. With a breadth and depth that was unimaginable 10 years ago, Diversity Management has become a multi-option framework where almost anything appears to be possible. For many, making the right choices is more difficult – and important – than it ever was. Focus on prominent topics such as gender or culture, or pursuing an umbrella approach for inclusive leadership?
Running effective programmes or orchestrating a holistic change process? Providing clear-cut implementation models or internal consulting for individual in-business solutions? Identifying the best fitting combination of content, approach, tools, organisation and process can be done in many ways. Surprisingly, one factor that is
known well by Diversity experts gets in the way of doing this professionally: Unconscious bias. As often
in private and professional life, human tendencies and patterns strongly influence the way a project or
task is approached. But are we aware of the personal preferences that subtly affect where we look for information,
how we evaluate (or judge), how we take decisions and, finally, how we manage our projects? And even more: Are we aware of the impact this has on our success in role modelling and leading D&I? Optimising D&I requires a rigorous review and reflection of past approaches. This provides a great opportunity to practice what we preach: rethink
established frameworks, seek out different perspectives, challenge underlying assumptions, apply new methodologies and similar ways to think and act outside the box. In trying to summarise our experience in working with leading multinationals in realigning or re-positioning their D&I work, I am confident to say that in the vast majority of cases, there is no lack of information or tools. The most successful – and critical –factors in optimising D&I currently are
- Re-packaging many existing and a few new items to make the D&I proposition more comprehensive (andmore powerful)
- Re-calibrating the communication and its channels to reach key audiences more effectively (and more concretely) In these processes we sometimes don’t see the wood for the trees and then, this may help: Lean back, relax, go back to basics and do your maths. The time is right, and the time is now.