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How To Continue Pushing Forward When Unhappy With Our DEI Progress?

Sometimes we find out that all our hard work working on diversity, equity, and inclusion goals yields small dividends. Results like this can be frustrating and perhaps cause us to wonder if we should continue to move forward and prioritize our diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. The answer is a resounding YES, for if we throw in the towel too soon, we will still feel the pain when we restart the process. So here's what we can do if we are unhappy about our pace.

Acknowledge the current situation.

We must first acknowledge that something is amiss, causing us not to yield the desired results. To assess our progress, we can begin by reassessing the metrics we are measuring. Next, we must ask ourselves if we have set realistic goals. And whether or not we have the proper support to set us up for success. Consider the example of societal and employee pressures that call for a commitment to more diversification in the workplace. We rose to the challenge and found that our recruiting efforts were falling flat. We are still struggling to find diverse talent; when we do, we can only find them for lower-level leadership positions. Sound familiar? If so, there's hope and clues to course correct.

Consider the following:

  1. Are all the right people in the room to chime in on solutions to address the challenge? If not, did we leverage experts to supplement and train our teams on how to engage and get the desired results?

  2. How boldly did we show up as inclusive leaders? What commitments did we make to gain our desired results? Did we step up our sponsorship approach to make room for more diversification in our leadership pipeline?

  3. Were our goals too aggressive for the time specified?

These are a few questions we can ask ourselves as we assess the current situation.

Admit disappointment And Ask For More Help.

2020 taught us that we prefer hearing the truth even if it's painful. Those who opt for sugar coating or spin suffer in the long run. So we can admit our disappointment if we're not where we want to be on the diversity, equity, and inclusion journey. Embrace vulnerability, prepare to establish new goals, and ask for additional support for achieving our goals. How can our Board help us? How can our employees help us? How can our customers and vendors help us? Ask, and we shall indeed receive. Consider leveraging focus groups to unearth additional insights.

Celebrate all wins.

It's easy to focus on the losses, but we must collectively acknowledge and celebrate our wins. This task will help us to continue pushing forward until we achieve our desired success. Inclusive Leaders know that our efforts are for a longer-term gain. So, individually, let's go on a scavenger hunt to find wins on our DEI journey. Perhaps it's reflecting on the employee engagement survey and how answers have changed over time, or maybe it's noticing our leaders' progress. Progress of note may include inviting multiple perspectives into conversations, building more connections, and demonstrating empathy. The wins are there for the acknowledgment. Our job is to find them and celebrate them along the way.

Don't give up! Let's keep working on our DEI goals, and one day we will wake up and be astonished that we kept the focus and increased our progress to a place that has made us all happy.

This article was originally published in Forbes.



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