Quite often our own anxieties around saying or doing the wrong thing with race can be one of the biggest barriers to progress. It can leave an organisation, and its leaders, stuck at the starting blocks, unable to begin.
Talking about race and ethnicity is hard. Talking about racism and racial inequality is even harder.
Will I say the wrong thing? How can I get my employees to trust me if I am white? What if they see me as part of the problem? Will I be seen as racist if I say the wrong thing?
Our fear of getting race ‘wrong’ slows us down and often paralyses us. Instead of moving forward, race gets moved to the ‘too-hard’ bucket and left for another day.
Race is challenging but with careful consideration and willingness to listen, learn and be transported out of your own world, it is also one of the most enlightening subjects an organisation can embrace. When you have the bravery to dive in, the willingness to get course corrected when you get it wrong (and you will!), the ambition to drive meaningful change, and the staying power to continue when things get tough, you will be rewarded. Well-run ethnicity programmes not only drive unparalleled trust and employee engagement, the deliver the kind of moments that you look back and remember as pivotal in your career.