Diversity. It’s been a buzzword for years. Now we finally see companies take action. Over $50 billion over the past year has been committed towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. Yet, only $250 million has been spent. People understand the need for DEI, but what’s stopping them? No doubt, there’s a disconnect, and I think it’s the fear of uncomfortable conversations.
Many in leadership positions are terrified of saying the wrong thing, so they say nothing. Others tremble at the idea of being called out as a company that doesn’t take diversity seriously, so they make false promises. There’s a happy medium, and it’s called intention. It isn’t enough to rely on employees to speak out. There shouldn’t be a need in the first place for employees to stage walkouts, strikes, and protests, but that’s another story. Just as you’re intentional with your sales and marketing strategies, you must be just as intentional about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Leaders need to take the initiative and put in the effort to facilitate these uncomfortable conversations. Again, as you would if your sales numbers were down. If you don't, you risk losing the trust and respect of employees and customers. It’s unwise to expect your employees to stand up for DEI if you’re not willing to. Be the example. You’re in leadership for a reason. Your skin should be thick enough to address the issue, develop a solution and make the team feel valued.
We all say or do the wrong thing from time to time. We can’t let that make us afraid of living. So push past the fear and focus on what’s in the company’s best interest and the team.
If you need help facilitating a conversation about diversity, Contact me, and we’ll work on it together.