Mind the Inclusion Gap

Mind the Inclusion Gap

How good allies can bridge the divide between talking diversity and taking action.

Diversity programmes are everywhere. From reverse mentoring, to sponsorship, target setting and leadership programmes - interventions in this space are vast. But are they working? After decades of diversity effort what has actually changed?

Today, women still earn only a percentage of their male counterparts, homophobia, transphobia, racism and misogyny are still abundant in our society. The upper echelons of leadership – whether it be sport, politics, business or government - are, for the most part, not that different than when we began our journey. There are a handful of organisations and individuals who are leading the way but, on the whole, our diversity efforts are moving at a glacial pace and many inclusion programmes do more to create negativity than they do to create measurable and lasting change.

Why not? What is it we are doing wrong? Or better yet, what should we be doing differently if we want to drive different outcomes?

While most of us are curious about diversity, and some would go so far as to call themselves an ally, very few of us are skilled in inclusion. Instead, we double-down on being nice and hope it will be enough. But will it? We make a big deal about diversity, but not a big deal about diversity capability – in the absence of skills in this space, we allow our instincts of niceness and our moral compass of kindness to ground us. It turns out that those very honourable traits may harm as much as they help.

In my line of work, I meet many people who care, many people who are interested, and many people who are curious about diversity. Almost everyone wants to do the right thing, but very few people have the confidence, the capability or the desire to take action. They find themselves paralysed by the fear of ‘getting it wrong’, low on time and unsure about what the right action to take might be. They also often have niggling frustrations and reservations about how diversity is playing out.

In the live inclusion workshops I run, participants get to roll around and dive into areas where they have questions, concerns or low levels of confidence. That conversation helps people move forward and the difference in how they act when they exit the room is visible. Deep conversations of that nature offer people a fundamental grounding and empower them to engage in inclusion in a different way.

That’s why I decided to write Mind the Inclusion Gap: How good allies can bridge the divide between talking diversity and taking action. This book is for anyone who wants to dive into the complex areas of diversity, to build their confidence and their know-how to navigate the polarised and divisive issues we face in the workplace and in the world. It will give the reader the skills to take action and challenge them to play a meaningful role in shaping an inclusive future.

The book manuscript is currently in development. You can pre-buy a signed first edition and support the author in the journey of development, or even pose your burning questions to me for inclusion in the book. Find out more at https://unbound.com/books/inclusion/

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