Achieving diversity, equity and inclusion is a process. Leadership is a process. Anything involving learning and growth is a process. Simon Sinek talks about process in his video, “Love, Relationship and Leadership”.
It is not flipping a switch or a point in time you can touch. The process for achieving diversity, equity, and inclusion is brought to our attention in a negative way far too often, yet we must be diligent in continuing the process to make opportunity more possible for everyone.
I want to be totally transparent. I once suggested to someone very much like me, who is a leader in his business, that I should write an article on “diversity” for his publication. He basically said I could not do that based on what I look like rather than who I am. I am a white, middle-class, heterosexual, married, Christian, male. That, however, is only a small
piece of who I am.
Talent Attraction and Retention
For any form of talent attraction and retention to be successful, more than demographics, data and metrics must be considered. It’s not only about “what” a community is but also “who” a community is. We know that talent attraction and retention has become even more critical and the challenges are not going to change any time soon.
In order to attract and retain talent, our workforce diversity is important, as long as the focus goes beyond that to equity and inclusion.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Defined
Let’s look at these dei.extension.org definitions: “Diversity is the presence of differences across many population factors, often times marginalized. Equity is promoting justice within the processes and distribution of resources by institutions. Inclusion is an outcome to ensure those who are diverse are welcomed and are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes.”
There are over eight billion different people in the world.
Differences Make Us Better!
I believe someone who truly believes in diversity, equity and inclusion should seek out those with different viewpoints and experiences. It is only through understanding those who are different from us that we can respect them and their thoughts and further shape our own thoughts.
I grew up in Verona, WI. It is in rural Dane County and had not yet been consumed by Madison. My true “life” experiences related to the topic didn’t begin until I entered the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a very “green” freshman. I was selected to be a student manager for the men’s basketball team. That meant I worked in all areas of a collegiate
The first black coach in the Big Ten Conference was hired at Wisconsin the same time I started in my role. When I talk about differences making us better, that was truly the case here. I worked alongside players and coaches with similar backgrounds to me and those from cities where differences were very prominent.
I learned that while those differences impact people, they do not define them.
I had good and bad relationships for a variety of reasons, with those from the varying backgrounds. It was a great learning environment.
One of my next career moves involved basketball again and there were more lessons for me. The world of sports is a breeding ground for people coming together to learn from differences.
While an associate head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, one of my key assignments was recruiting student-athletes to get an education and play basketball. Relationships gave me the opportunity to recruit in high schools where a university located in Platteville couldn’t typically. You see, Platteville is even more rural than Verona.
…to be continued…
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