I recently received a newsletter from a colleague with an article about Goals vs. Intentions. While his article was about management success, it made me think about our work in DEI. We work with companies who have either began their DEI journey or are further down the road, but the DEI bus has run out of gas. When we work with them to unpack their barriers, we often find the DEI strategies are not aligned with their core business goals. No wonder their DEI efforts are a failure to launch.
An article by the Center for Creative Leadership recommends the first step is to reveal relevant opportunities. They point out the first step is about discovery—not setting an agenda or duplicating what worked for other organizations. Unfortunately, many companies seem to let their DEI strategies “wag the dog,” which is why they fail. They are not aligned with the organization’s core work/business.
So, how do you align your DEI strategy to your core business? According to an article in ChartHop, you embed DEI in every facet of your business. At Write Connections, we often work with our clients to do this very thing. First, leaders should reflect on what problem the business set out to solve when it was founded. Then, how could DEI strategies work in solving that problem in a new way? Common areas of focus are around employee recruitment/retention. One thing to consider is the type of work environment a business wanted to create when it was founded. How could DEI practices help you make those founder ideas a reality?
The best business goals are talked about, stewed over, and acted upon. When DEI is linked to a business goal, the work is discussed. We encourage you to talk about your DEI journey even when nothing seems to be going on. DEI initiatives are often launched with much fanfare, and then it’s crickets when things get tough. When leaders talk about their DEI struggles in relation to meeting a business goal, the strategy becomes a tool and not a management whim.
Finally, to ensure DEI practices are adopted, organization-wide leaders should insist their teams practice individual goal-setting using DEI strategies as tools for success. Goal-setting is common practice in all industries. Adding a DEI lens to annual goal-setting at the employee level is a positive way of helping DEI become a practice to secure organizational and individual success.
Write Connections | strategy + design, LLC. works with companies and nonprofits in all of their DEI efforts. Make the write connection with us.
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