more than checkboxes

Remember back when you were in preschool or kindergarten and you did a task correctly? You probably got awarded a gold star. If you got enough gold stars through the week or month you more than likely got some kind of reward or treat. As you advanced in the educational system that way of functioning gradually went away and was replaced by a more complex system of learning and reinforcing behaviors that lead to success. The system moved from being simplistic to more complex.

Despite research to the contrary some diversity organizations and professionals still approach the work of diversity and inclusion in today’s society the same way. We offer cookie cutter, check box driven approaches to address the diversity efforts of organizations being served.  Addressing diversity and inclusion and equity issues is simple in this approach. Complete a task, check the box, gold star for you. Complete another task check another box. Repeat until all the boxes are checked and then you get a reward the ultimate gold star, certification. Everyone goes through the same process and checks the same boxes and voila diversity issues solved! Success and you are done.

There are two problems with this cookie cutter approach. One it doesn’t work. All current research has shown that this star cookie cutterapproach has not been effective in addressing issues of diversity and inclusion.

Even as corporate America applauds its diversity efforts, hails the triumph of a true meritocracy in the workplace, and parades its principles of fairness, decades of research documenting thousands of workplace experiences of people of color, women, and gays and lesbians paint a nettlesome, contradictory picture.
Giving Notice: Why the Best and Brightest are Leaving the Workplace and How You Can Help them Stay by Freada Kapor Klein
Secondly, these boiler plate solutions represent a simplistic response to very complex issue. While they provide an easy option for diversity professional to provide services, there is little question that they provide desired results.  No business or organization worth its salt applies simplistic responses to challenging and complex circumstances and expects success.
The questions is why would we do that with diversity and inclusion? Consider this thought again from Kapor Klein.
And the solutions offered by the majority of diversity gurus are mostly superficial, cookie-cutter programs that don’t address the root issue: unearthing and removing hidden bias in organizational structures.
So what’s the alternative. First, we eschew the cookie cutter, check box approach, for a more customized sector and organizationally based response. Instead of one size fits all approach the reDI Project is committed to develop tools and resources that address the unique needs and context of each sector and organization. So instead of trying to translate the moral imperative for diversity and inclusion to a business context, we focus on the return on investment for diversity, increase in productivity, greater talent retention, more innovation that leads to bigger profits. This does mean there isn,t a morel imperative it means we recognize the unique drivers for each sector and tailor our services to that.
Finally we take advantage of the latest research available to shape our approach to helping businesses and organizations develop strategies and best practices that really work. We assist our clients to discover ways to make a real difference and move the needle on their diversity efforts. So we recognize that we need to do more than checkboxes. This is what our mission to re-imagine diversity is al about.

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