Are we Criticial (enough) about Our D&I work?

Doing a lot on Diversity & Inclusion tend to be considered a good thing. It seems to be a way of showing commitment. In addition, if the communication is effective – or at least colourful or with cool wording – many people get impressed. But: are we paying enough attention on achieving the desired impact and results? Are we ready to accept that our activities should be reaching deeper or striving further?

Most large companies already have ten or more years of experience with D&I. Over this period, they have found many things that worked well and they found out that some approaches don’t resonate with their audiences or in their context. As most D&I indicators are moving in the right direction, organisations generally feel confident and comfortable that their work is between good and great. However, our observation is that programmes lack robust success measurement, especially when programmes are as small as monitoring would be complex. On the other side, the potential impact of corrective peer review is limited when everyone applies the same standards and group members stabilise each other through applause.

What do we need to do – as D&I expert community? First of all, if we really want to continue to make a difference, I am convinced that we need to rigorously commit to driving change and get beyond managing initiatives or managing programmes. For the existing situation is a product of past and present practices. In order to create a true change impact, we must rigorously focus on the various audiences – mainly within the organisation – and be clear about the subgroups theses contain. Only if we speak their language, press the right buttons and apply the same kind of professional management and measurement approaches, we can be successful in taking them with us on our journey. Therefore, it is our responsibility to create the big picture and a related road map or change plan. And we need to be able to explain the pathways forward and spread the excitement it takes to embark on new initiatives.

Clearly, applying a critical view on our own work is the first step to be followed by breaking new ground and being inventive about new impetus. For 18 years, we have been contributing to the ongoing reinvention of D&I and we are glad to have been instrumental in creating innovation for and with our clients. As we have seen a lot of self-confidence in many corporate initiatives, we feel that there is a need for some encouragement – even for good work to become better. Therefore, we have included a few critical articles in this newsletter. Enjoy reading and please provide your feedback!


Michael Stuber