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Rise To The Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Challenge Locally And Globally

By Melissa Lamson & Jennie Walker

Are you a global leader? In the increasingly globalized business environment, employees across organizations often work with teams of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and locations - a recent survey revealed that 89% of employees say they work “at least occasionally” on global teams. The concept and practice of leadership itself has also evolved, transcending hierarchy and role in many organizations to promote accountability, collaboration, and innovation at all levels. So, whether you’re working for a local or international company, as an executive or employee, you’re likely a global leader.
 
Research continues to find that working with diverse groups requires a global mindset – the agility to quickly recognize different beliefs, values, and approaches across cultures and to adapt behaviors accordingly. For example, when I (Melissa) travel to Singapore, I know I need to adjust my sense of time (not...

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How To Manage Diversity in Remote Teams

Like so many managers in today's new global environment, you've been tasked with the responsibility of leading a team of employeesmany of whom report to you from multiple locations. Congratulations! You're a manager, you have one of the toughest jobs in the company…

Even with it being the norm today, leading a remote team is still challenging, maybe more so. Research at Deloitte found that virtual distance can lower your team member’s trust by 83%, ability to innovate by 93%, and engagement by 80%.

As a manager you're expected to maintain morale, keep communication open, overcome technological glitches, keep your workers on task, meet project deadlines and manage diversity.

Let's talk about managing diversity 

With increased revenues by almost 20%, the good news is diverse teams financially out-perform more homogeneous organizations. We tend to think, communicate and make decisions based on our backgrounds. And, when everyone on a team...

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Let’s Talk About Hidden Disabilities in the Workplace

We each live with a unique package of skills that we do well as well as skills we do not do well. Just look at Gallup’s Strength finder quizzes, there are over 34 themes and key skills. In this context, differences are understood as naturally occurring characteristics of all people.

Every person represents a mixture of physical, mental/cognitive, and psychological strengths and weaknesses. No one is strong in all aspects of life and no one is completely characterized by weakness.

According to Daivergent, a Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to the neurodivergent and disability communities, neurodiversity takes into account variations in the human brain regarding learning, mood, attention, sociability, and other mental functions that don’t pathologize the conditions.

This means variants are not regarded as abnormal or unhealthy but as differences to be understood and worked with. It largely rejects the medical model of disability.

These differences are...

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The Basics: Checking for Inclusive Accessibility

We've seen incredible strides towards advancing diversity and inclusion efforts over the last several years. Not only did the country hear the calls for justice, reform, and addressing discrimination, disparities, inequalities, and bias, many organizations answered that call. They responded with policies changes, DEI initiatives and training, and doing deep personal work to make themselves and their workplaces a better and healthier environment.

Unfortunately, a group of people has been excluded from many diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations. Those people are those living with disabilities - or those who are differently-abled. 

The differently-abled are our friends, family members, and coworkers, and in many cases, we are unaware of their disability status. If possible, most differently-abled people don't disclose their conditions for fear of being ostracized, "other-ed," dismissed, excluded, or not hired or promoted. 

To be an inclusive environment, we must...

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How do I get more power? Let's talk about it...

Probably one of the most common questions I hear from established and aspiring leaders and those eager to make big impacts is “how do I get more power?”. Now, this may seem like the kind of question that will earn more than a side-eye or skeptical look, but I’ve learned this question doesn’t come from a diabolical power hungry intent, but of an intention most of us have; to have more power to enact change or make a difference through the roles we serve. 

 

Power to not only enact change in their organizations and roles, but more autonomy in their work that's driven by passion. 

With the millennial and Gen Z generation are now rapidly entering the workforce, this question brings a different kind of consideration.

They are less committed to models of work-life that are stagnant and inflexible, pursue power, movement, and expression at much higher rates - and quicker. Gallup reports have shown that this generation is the least engaged,...

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So that just happened... I experienced/ witnessed/ committed a microaggression. Now what?

Microaggressions and How to Manage Them When They Occur

 

Microaggressions - a term that can send an electric shockwave of contention through any environment. As one of the top hot-button topics over the last few years, just the mere mention brings people to immediate attention, combat-ready. Though for this combat, both parties play a different defensiveness. One person is accusing another of committing a microaggression, though they wouldn’t be in an offensive attacking posture because they are essentially speaking up for themselves - defending themselves.

Then in the other corner, the person being accused becomes defensive of the accusation because, with microaggressions, they’re defined by them being unintentional or done unknowingly. 

What typically results is an automatic fight with everyone pointing fingers at each other. But if we sincerely want to resolve workplace conflict and foster an environment of understanding, communication, and safety, we must...

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Flowers For Us- Understanding Women's History Month

 

As much as I believe and have even written about pushing away from this sort-of check-the-box approach to EDI work, which generally looks like adding more diverse dates and celebrations to the calendar- I love International Women's Month. This year, the joy and gratitude come with a larger perspective of what Women's History Month means in a more contemporary context.

Women's History Month celebrates the contributions of women in a world that continuously and historically chooses to exclude, undermine, and overlook us. As women, we have endured some of the worst conditions, experiences, and abuses, continuing to march forward with our heads held high. With the weight of generations of women before us, our families, and our futures planted onto the soft grooves of our shoulders, none of the women I know slouch beneath this heavy understanding. I truly admire so many generations of women that stood for what they believed, backs straight and tall ready to face whatever the world had to...

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Are you still using the Word "Crazy"...in 2022?

Ableism is probably one of the least discussed topics in the diversity, equity, and inclusion conversations, yet it’s one that also affects an enormous portion of the population globally.  Racism and sexism are pretty simple to understand as a concept and something we are more aware of. Most people can say with some degree of confidence if they hold any of those mentioned above prejudices, but ableism and how it manifests itself, have been a bit more elusive. While racism, sexism, and discrimination against the LGBT community appear more evident as straightforward, demonstrable actions, behaviors, or beliefs, ableism is something that many of us have exhibited unknowingly and unintentionally. 

 

Think not? 

 

Consider how many times we say things like, 

 

“He’s can be a little bipolar.” 

 

“Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said. I was spaced out, haha, I’m so, ADHD.” 

 

Or the client...

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DEI Isn't Just About Who You Hire; It's About HOW

Lately, I’ve seen the terms diversity, equity, and inclusion everywhere, a continual line item at the top of everyone’s agenda., As the nation devoted more attention to racial and social injustice, we also focused on the inequalities and disparities in the workplace It seems like studies and articles were released left and right detailing the lack of diversity in these industries, which led most companies to shift their attention to increasing their diversity efforts. But over-focusing on WHO you hire may take away from the larger picture and reason why diversity is so important. 

But Diversity is About the WHO, Right?

The short answer is yes and no. 

While pursuing a more diverse and inclusive workplace, you naturally examine demographics like race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc. These are areas that need to be addressed, BUT treating these demographics like a box to check is a grave mistake. It quite literally devolves the entire effort...

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We Are Way Past Holidays

I love holidays and celebrations as much as the next person. Any time for happiness, joy, togetherness, food, and activities are times that should be treasured and valued; they are the times that feed our spirits. But the only holiday that I dislike deeply is Groundhog Day.

 It's not necessarily the day itself but the concept of Groundhog Day as made fmous by the '90's movie In the film, the protagonist, the hilarious Bill Murry finds himself trapped in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over. And when I reflect on many of the "steps towards progress" made over the last couple of years, I can't help but think that I'm trapped in my own Groundhog Day story. 

 

When it comes to furthering practices around anti-racism, oppression, diversity, equity, and inclusivity, I keep having the same conversations to no avail, to no understanding, and little resolution. 

 

Last June of 2021, President Biden signed a bill to recognize Juneteenth as a federal...

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