To return to my D&I facilitation story - for starters, the sessions were held in Nevada during the summer. I’m sure that the heat outside and the heat sometimes generated inside during the sessions didn’t help. It may have seemed to the participants that there was just no escaping the heat, either from the sun or from heated conversations around diversity.
While much of the information was helpful and the activities were powerful, there was something in the client’s overall approach that didn’t sit well with me as the facilitator. I was representing the views and the voice of the company, which I discovered over the summer wasn’t well aligned with who I was and what I believed. I suspended that type of work for several months while I processed where the disconnect was and how I wanted to show up and represent my own views and respect my own voice.
Since my early days in this space, in which I NOW focus specifically on diversity, inclusion & belonging, I have found that the work isn’t hard, but it is complex. And with the complexity comes great fulfillment every time I successfully demonstrate to a client what my approach to this work is and is not.
In my approach to diversity, inclusion and belonging it IS about real relationships, NOT race relations. It IS about knowing and growing together, NOT shaming and blaming each other. It IS about focusing on change-the-culture behaviors, NOT creating check-the-box initiatives.
I have also begun to ask my clients to consider how they feed their leadership soul. I ask this question because more often than not, at least one person who attends any given workshop always says, “this isn’t what I expected. It’s about leadership.” And my reply is, “you’re right! It’s about leadership that works for everyone.”