The RIGHT End of the Telescope: Focus on Inclusion First
May 09, 2023 | 705 Views
James is keynoting CHART's Hospitality Training Conference, July 29-August 1, 2023 in Orlando. SESSION DESCRIPTION.
In many of our lives, on many of our screens, in many of our readings, and in many of our conversations, we are consistently bombarded with the words…
Diversity. Inclusion. Bias. Culture. Equity. Equality. Belonging.
The unfortunate truth is that too often they are jumbled, conflated, and used as a catch-all for the purpose of making the speaker’s point. This happens often, and it happens outside the confines of the terms listed above too.
We do it regularly, frequently, and without giving it a second thought.
The challenge with these terms is that in today’s environment – in the recruiting, retaining, and promoting environment and the training and professional development environment – a lack of clarity has more meaning, impact, and can do more damage than a casual conversation at the coffee shop.
My work in the DEI space has led me to several significant truths, and one of those I thought I’d share here. When implementing any version of a DEI program, initiative, training, etc. the words matter. But even so, the order of implementation matters more.
It is an impossible choice for some to prioritize one of these critical areas over the other. So many will lend themselves to a mindset that incorporates and drives the idea of working on more than one at a time. I think this is a fine task for those of us who have serious expertise, time, resources, and a clear runway to execute, adjust, and execute again.
If you happen to have limited resources, or you have a right-now set of priorities, or if you are uncertain of your expertise in the DEI space, I recommend the following: Focus on Inclusion first.
Many of us have seen the results of powerful recruiting, retention, and professional development programs. Some of us are the result of these programs. When done well they can result in a set of new and talented colleagues coming through the doors, at the entry level all the way through the C-Suite and Board.
And what happens when these folks enter a space that does not include them? What happens when they do not feel welcomed? What happens when the policies are written absent them?
Often, through no fault of the candidate or new team member or leader, their ability to thrive and succeed is hamstrung because of practices that are not inclusive. I would even dare say that, in many cases, well-meaning recruiters and leaders are cultivating relationships with potential team members and leaders believing strongly that their organization is doing the right thing by focusing on recruiting talent from everywhere and every background.
They are not wrong. They are doing the right thing.
The secret sauce, the catalyst, the inspiration for keeping the talent, is in the inclusion. It always has been.
Bottom line? If you are limited, if you have only one arrow in your quiver, choose Inclusion. By focusing on Inclusion, we can accelerate, enhance, embed, and cultivate all the other priorities. Unfortunately, without inclusion, the others suffer and ultimately fail, and we are left with the stories of the one or two that made it as opposed to the massive influx of new talent our organizations so desperately need.
When we engage Inclusion first, we are looking at our challenge through the RIGHT end of the telescope.