3 keys to unlock lasting DCI change in organizations


Since the murder of George Floyd, as our national discussion on race relations has intensified, efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in business have taken center stage. Entities ranging from JPMorgan Chase at Mcdonalds at McKinsey & Co. at Harvard Business School announced sweeping initiatives to signal their commitment to increasing the number of employees of color, improving institutional culture and belonging, and even working to address some of the deep-rooted racial equity issues that have plagued not only their own organizations, but also society in general.

However, as the saying goes and as most organizations have experienced, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. The initial statements of great vision have largely not yet converted to successful initiatives, while some of them also have turned against him. We already know how difficult and complex organizational change can be, and the additional dimensions of inequity issues and power dynamics make IEI a particularly thorny and sensitive topic for change initiatives.

So how are these organizations going to actually implement their intentions and achieve the goals they have set for themselves? Through our work, we have identified three keys necessary to achieve this.

Key n ° 1: Commitment from above

Military officers know that an initiative is serious when a) a general is charged with it and b) important means are applied to him. The hierarchical nature of the military requires positional authority to properly direct resources. Based on their corporate level experience, senior leaders are the appropriate stewards of volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments. Therefore, there is a need to deliver actions, appropriately communicate a vision, operationalize that vision, and implement the scope. “Pinning the rose” on a leader with such positional authority ensures accountability for important initiatives.

Likewise, no real change is possible in American business, academia, or government without deep commitment and ownership at the highest level and the significant financial and human resources that only top leaders can mobilize.

So far DCI has been largely relegated to the HR department and has either been entirely ignored or only superficially adopted in the C-suite. For real change to occur, the commanding officer, or the CEO, or the dean , or a senior official should make it clear that true diversity, equity and inclusion are their top priority. Most importantly, they must “put their money where their mouth is” by devoting real resources to the effort.

For example, CQ Brown, the new Air Force Chief of Staff, and the first black man to hold that position, modeled true and authentic leadership by reveal their own emotions and experiences following Floyd’s murder. Likewise, former McKinsey and Co. Global Director Kevin Sneader provided a particularly good example of an immediate signal from top management that he was serious about the company’s commitment to DCI. with the video message he sent to employees the day after Floyd’s murder. As a result, the company was able to devote significant human and financial resources to underpin a detailed 10-point plan “towards racial equity”.

Key n ° 2: A sustained and continuous process

Institutional efforts to combat EDI have historically been largely “Checkbox” in nature, undertaken more to protect the institution from liability or for public relations benefits than to bring about meaningful change. However, our research has shown that, like most business change initiatives, successful DCI programs require continuous, long-term work and sustained, ongoing effort to be truly effective. It takes tenacity to gradually change the culture with an asymmetric approach similar to how the military presents its specific service values.

The newly embarked soldier, sailor, aviator, navy or coast guard are exposed to these values ​​during the bootcamp, after which the values ​​are continually reinforced. Individuals are then required to take monthly tips to assess them on how they model these values ​​on a daily basis. These frequent touchpoints are what adjusts behavior over time. It is not immediate and there are no quick wins, but this adjustment process creates a much more efficient organization.

Key n ° 3: Quantifiable and measurable evaluations

Once you have the buy-in and commitment from the top and a mandate for a long-term, sustained and ongoing mission, you need to have metrics in place to measure the results you have (or haven’t) achieved. . We all know about KPIs, measurable values ​​that demonstrate how effectively a business achieves a goal. Together with DCI, these measures should focus on measures in three areas: diversity in representation, equity in opportunity and inclusion in participation.

Perhaps the easiest of these three parameters to measure is diversity in representation, that is, achieving a diverse workforce. Diversity transcends many lines, including gender, sexual orientation, race, and even socio-economic status / background (e.g. first generation college students). Achieving true diversity requires creative strategies, such as hiring people with criminal records, that don’t disproportionately hamper people of color.

With regard to equity of opportunity, it is essential to analyze the processes of assessment, career development and promotion in order to level the internal rules of the game. The entire promotion system should be reviewed to identify and eliminate biases, and advancement results should be measured from year to year.

Finally, when it comes to inclusion in participation, perhaps the best model comes from Frances Frei, a professor at Harvard Business School, who describes the four stages of true inclusion with what she calls the “dial. inclusion “: of course to welcome to celebrated to darling. This can be measured through anonymous surveys that are tracked over time to “take the temperature” of the workforce.

Success in FDI will require a top-down, sustained and quantified approach in order to successfully implement the organization-wide changes that are necessary to get the most from our an increasingly diverse American workforce. The effective implementation of these three key practices is a crucial task for any organization operating in the 21st century.

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