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Looking The Part: Why Inclusive Teaming Is A Must When Working To Diversify The Enterprise

2022 continues to prompt action for more diversity, equity, and inclusion agendas. However, many of us may feel overly anxious to do something, and something quickly. That burning desire could equate to a tactical goal of creating more diversity in areas under our remit due to the persistent focus on the importance and benefits of diversification. And, frankly, if your space lacks diversity, it is perceived as lagging, which may prompt hasty tactical actions to make progress on the inclusive leadership journey. This article provides tips on moving forward while acknowledging the importance of pausing for proactive reflection and adopting more effective strategies for more significant impact.

When bringing people together to focus on diversification goals, the team leadership, members, and approach are critical to overall success. Below I outline some tips to set us up for success.

Do the work to ensure you have an inclusive team.

Ensure The Team Has The Right Members

We must have an effective leader leading the charge. Such leaders must demonstrate behaviors that welcome differing input from team members. We must be mindful of ingesting information and rephrasing it with personally biased language. Doing so creates mistrust in gaining authentic input. The leader has a crucial role in ensuring the team is successful in its approach. Additionally, leveraging tools like a RASCI diagram lend help to outlining clear roles and responsibilities within and external to the group.

Get The Team Ready By Doing The Work

How ready is our team to do the work of diversity recruitment? Have we done the job of effectively training our teams for the task at hand? Nothing is more frustrating than an inexperienced team ready to achieve the goal without investing time in education to navigate the diversity, equity, and inclusion space. Consider that we must do work personally and professionally to succeed as inclusive leaders. As team leaders, we must make space for building inclusion competency on our agendas. We must ensure teams can deal with uncomfortable topics and handle unwelcomed input that suggests a rather steel hill on achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Slow The Pace

We must avoid the temptation to move at breakneck speed to recruit diverse candidates. Instead, evaluate what's prompting the rush for any results. It is normal to want to reap the benefits of a diverse workplace quickly. However, it is equally prudent to slow the pace to ensure inclusion and belonging are considered and have accompanying plans. We must spend the time to set realistic goals within a reasonable amount of time.

Think Big

We must think holistically. What are the opportunities for diversification across the enterprise? Have we spent the prerequisite time having conversations with our constituents to define strategic goals? If we feel rushed and want to gain any traction, we risk focusing only on the areas we believe we have control over. While this may be the case, we still need to think strategically and align to a bigger vision. Looking at leadership, community, and data are good places to begin.

The overarching point for those vying to be inclusive leaders to consider is that we will circle jerk if we are not thoughtful in our approaches to bringing more diversity to our surroundings. Therefore, it is proactive to have a well-thought-out strategy before camping out in the land of accomplishing the wrong things hastily.

This article was originally published in Forbes.



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