At the debut CIDI-ICDI (Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion) Community of Practice Event in Calgary.I had a wonderful take-away within the first 5 minutes of discussion. Leader Michael Bach posed the question – What are the challenges? and a participant from the Calgary Airport Authority raised that all-pervasive objection – “But if we put in programs to promote and hire them what will happen to me?”
It is the classic positional bargaining, I Win, You Lose illusion. Your benefit is my loss. Overcoming this kind of illusion requires a paradigm shift. Once that shift from I Win, You Lose to We Both Win happens, there are tremendous wins for an organization. The talent pool expands and the sum becomes greater than the parts.
Unfortunately the win/lose illusion does not look like an illusion from up close. It looks threatening. There is a very real perception of threat which can only be overcome through dialogue and education. Policies are not enough.
So how can an organization address that objection in a meaningful way and facilitate the paradigm shift? Such a shift has the potential to have a tremendous impact on organizational culture and it begins with dialogue. It is important to acknowledge and understand the perception of threat. Only once people feel heard, understood and acknowledged will they be ready for acceptance.
Are you measuring Diversity in your organization? Where are you on the journey to paradigm shift?
Check out the CIDI report What Gets Measured Gets Done. You can download it here. http://www.cidi-icdi.ca/reports/what-gets-measured-gets-done.pdf.