To create an inclusive economy, we must do this together. It’s too big to take on separately. We need to learn from each other, to keep each other motivated for the long haul, and to work together to create real change.
Each person will do their own personal work, and encourage their peers and teams to do the same. In due time, we will reach a tipping point where a critical mass of people are up to speed on how the world needs to change to make equity and inclusion a foundation for businesses, education, financial resources, and housing.
Influential Leadership: the how
When companies want to change their cultures for employee engagement, leaders willingly attend webinars and engage in executive coaching sessions. When culture change is about inclusivity, and racism is a potential topic of conversation, it takes peer support to help reluctant leaders do their homework because this work is deeply uncomfortable.
Systemic change is not like boiling the ocean. It’s more like starting a wave in the bleachers of a sporting event. Derek Sivers explains the process in his short TED talk in just over three minutes.
Here’s the summary:
- Anyone can start a movement as long as they can attract one person to follow their lead. If you already have a leader starting the movement, your job is to be the first follower. In large organizations, there will be multiple first followers.
- The first follower’s job is to do what the leader does, and the leader’s job is to treat them like an equal in the process.
- In this case, here’s what the leader will be doing and what you can start doing:
- Attend an Unconscious Bias Training so that you can discover the nature of human bias and its effect on decision-making
- Get an Equity Coach
- Make time for self-study about the Antiracism and Black Lives Matter movements
- Learn about the effects of systemic racism and everyday dehumanization in the US
- Learn about how others are updating their corporate D&I practices
- Advocate for change and seek out opportunities to implement change
- Bring new ideas and solutions to the table to address the problem
- Everyone has influence in their own circles, with their own friends and community members. There’s no need to try to influence beyond your own reach. Start with yourself, and then share what you learn with the people around you.
Changing One’s Mind: the 4-step process
The parts of the brain that you use to change your mind about something are the same parts of the brain that process uncertainty and emotional pain. Because of this overlap, there is a 4-step process that everyone goes through when they change their mind. All 4 steps can happen in seconds, or they can happen over months or years.
When planning for a transformational change in a company, a critical mass of the company’s leaders will have to go through all 4 of these steps to be able to support DEI in the workplace. When you yourself have gone through all 4 steps, others will still be on step 1 or 2. It can be hard to remain patient when you want to get going on execution. However, it’s critical that you influence your peers and others in the company to complete all 4 steps of their own process.
- Skepticism – denial that there’s a real problem or that the problem is solvable
- Frustration – irritation that the solution isn’t clear or that the guidance isn’t easy to follow or that it the subject itself is ugly
- Negotiation – curiosity begins to form and energy starts going into working out a reasonable solution that makes sense
- Execution – with a new well-informed perspective, it’s easy to decide what has to happen next and start working on it
- Read “A new brain study sheds light on why it can be so hard to change someone’s political beliefs” on Vox.
- Listen to “Why facts don’t always change minds” on Hidden Brain.
- Read “Neural correlates of maintaining one’s political beliefs in the face of counterevidence” on Nature.
- Read “Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen” by Dan Heath. Upstream explores the psychological forces that push us downstream—including “problem blindness,” which can leave us oblivious to serious problems in our midst. (Book, > 1 hour)
Colorado Companies Uniting Against Racism Pledge
Under the leadership of a unified coalition of CEOs, B:CIVIC helped launch a CEO social justice pledge in July 2020, “Colorado Companies Uniting Against Racism.” Companies pledging to Colorado Companies Uniting Against Racism are committing to develop action steps for their companies to combat racism by listening, learning and leading more effectively as companies.
Since the pledge launched last July, 140+ companies and community organizations have committed to the Colorado Companies Uniting Against Racism pledge.
Beginning in 2021, B:CIVIC gathered insights into the collective actions to advance racial equity and identify gaps and resources that are needed to support fellow pledge-signers in this work. To support all organizations and their teams in advancing their own work, they shared the cumulative survey results as a learning tool in April 2021.
Some of B:CIVIC’s key findings include:
- Most organizations are in early stages of their DEI journeys and setting ambitious goals around racial equity with 77% of goals having a timeline under two years.
- Companies need the most support with increasing the number of diverse candidates in its hiring pool, support through a diversity scorecard and retaining employees.
- 88% of CEOs perspectives changed in the last year on their organizations ability to advance racial equity.