DEI is not an initiative; it is a reflection of your leadership

5 August, 2021

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs are a top priority for more companies than ever before, with corporations and organisations spending billions of dollars annually on them. In the latest sign of this, the Carlyle Group has just announced it’s awarding a total of about $2 million to more than 50 executives and other employees globally who are excelling at goals tied to diversity, equity and inclusion. Unfortunately, many of these DEI efforts do not have a lasting impact, and some could even end up leading to more division in the organization says Chad Kalland, CEO of Vecta Environmental Services and Co-Founder of The Second Story Project, in this Forbes article.

Mandatory training and public relations campaigns might check a few boxes and satisfy stakeholder expectations, but a culture that supports diversity, equity and inclusion depends on a lot more. It depends on a leader who is willing to do the hard work of evaluating the true nature of their organisation and taking the steps to change what they can. 
Kalland has developed a 4 step process to help leaders address the cultural problems their organisations may have. An important part of the process involves taking an honest and critical look at your organisation, its leadership and your personal values. 

So how do you that? Choose to step away from the immediacy of your role to take a deep dive into your leadership capacity, interrogate your values and consider what you stand for. Commit to carving out time to answer this question – what will you allow?

Meaningfully addressing cultural problems also requires you to evaluate your motives. Kalland suggests leaders identify why DEI is important to them and their organisation? Are diversity, equity and inclusion personal values of yours, or do you think they’ll be good for your bottom line? What real problem would you solve if you had a more equitable and inclusive culture?

Kalland points out that “The leaders of tomorrow will demand their employers create a culture that supports the value of diversity, equity and inclusion, but no training program or HR initiative will create that on its own. Only through the actions of a committed leader can truly transformational change take place, and the process above can help you achieve it.”

Forbes, 2 August, 2021. Read the full article here.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership’s programs include the 2 day Executive Ethics, 6 day Executive Colloquium and year-long Vincent Fairfax Fellowship. We also deliver online and tailored corporate programs. Find the right program for you. They are all held under the Chatham House Rule to encourage genuine and open debate, and allow participants to candidly discuss sometimes sensitive issues in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public, and contribute to a broader conversation. The alumni program offers ongoing leadership development support and a lifelong connection with Cranlana.

Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash