Capability vs. a list of “Dos and Don’ts”
We view diversity management as a capability that individuals and organizations can develop to strengthen the impact of tactics used as part of their strategic plan. We understand that diversity management goes beyond race, gender, and all people demographics. It includes any dimensions that may create challenges for individuals or organizations, such as, talent, functions, lines of business, customers, communities, global partners, and competitors.
These dimensions surface in all strategic decisions an organization must make about its workforce, workplace, culture, business, and greater community. The development of a diversity management capability by all members throughout all levels of the organization is necessary to find effective solutions to these complexities.
On the other hand, Traditional Diversity Training has led to a “legislation of tactics.” Just as policymakers have legislated rules around Affirmative Action, so too have practitioners and organizations created “how to’s” or rules that instruct people on how to respond to specific diversity challenges – in essence, a list of dos and don’ts.
The limitation of this approach is that while awareness is necessary and a list of possible responses is helpful, there’s little room for people to think critically and discover and draw upon a wider array of alternative actions that address a diversity challenge. They have static lists for very dynamic life situations. When practitioners present such training, they are not training people to manage diversity. They are training them to follow instructions. This does not provide the knowledge and skills necessary to make quality decisions when life is predictably unpredictable and veers from the script of the “how-to” instruction sheet.
Skills vs. “Woo Woo”
Our approach equips participants with a set of principles, tools, skills, and knowledge necessary to address any diversity challenge they encounter, even ones that have yet to be identified or recognized as a challenge.
By this we mean the following: today, Unconscious Bias is all the rage. Many companies are seeking to be on the cutting edge and identify what the next hot topic will be. If you have a diversity management capability, you are already equipped to handle whatever that next “diversity wave” will be, even though it’s still not identified. Diversity all boils down to differences and similarities and a diversity management capability equips you to navigate differences and similarities effectively in any context.
However, let’s contrast our approach with the “woo-woo”, emotionally triggering yet substantively empty content, that is often delivered in traditional diversity training. Such training definitely increases the awareness of individuals about the differences and similarities that exist, typically limited along people demographics, but it does not provide participants with actionable skills or tools to help them navigate the broad range of differences and similarities we encounter every day.
Singular Universal Approach vs. limited in scope and application
We believe in “One Approach, Multiple applications.” This means that the Strategic Diversity Management Process™ is our singular comprehensive approach that can be applied to multiple contexts. By seeing “diversity” as a mixture of similarities and differences as opposed to a narrower definition based on demographic differences (both inherent and acquired), our framework can be applied to address any challenge, in any organization, in any country. The concepts and skills remain the same, but the applications vary depending on the needs of the organization.
It also allows for the universal application of the same diversity management skills – among all members, at every level, and across all areas of your organization. This provides a cohesive, organizational-wide unified approach to managing differences. Organizations don’t implement multiple approaches when it comes to financial, risk, or safety management. Why do we accept such a disconnect in diversity & inclusion and Diversity Management and expect to achieve sustainable and effective results? We won’t.