By including, we have already excluded.
Fascinating, this came back in a flash, back in 2017 Danny Cords Asked a very pertinent question to a panel of leaders at the conference, "Building Resilience in a Changing World" when we were exploring Humanistic Management. The question was based on his observations after a 5-year career in a corporate setting. " We talk about diversity but once we bring in the diversity where does the inclusion happen?".
A great deal of work has been done since then and many ideas are being implemented to address this particular dilemma. I have confidence that Seattle's corporate culture is finding solutions. Now with everyone home, why address this question?
I had a realization, Diversity means different, I talk about the diversity of thought as a tool quite often, I focus on the fact that different means harmony and balance, different means, welcoming and challenging, different means, if you are here and you have a different opinion it is because you are respected and you are expected to be true to your difference. This is a framing that welcomes inclusion, but as soon as we add inclusion to diversity, this shifts the perception from included to excluded if you don't agree or don't have the same values and opinions.
Or are we kidding ourselves and it means simply you are of a different breed, or your not, or more or less, and we will make accommodations so you feel a little less like an outcast whom we are helping? Because we are included and you are different.
Having an entire department that diversifies the employees, identifies the differences, and tried to find ways to include by categorizing seems like a backtracking system. Organizational Development practitioners' (OD) entire focus is defining who, what, where, and how the different types of people work best in collaboration with what types and how they can communicate and contribute best with which strength. Yet there are so many coaches and consultants who believe with a little training they can recognize diversity and inclusion and fix it. HR knows better, but it sounds good and it will satisfy the equality act while checking a box. Are we still in an age were checking the box means the work is done, time to move on? I don't believe that. This is why I think it is time that People Operations and Change Management be looked at by OD Practitioners.
Incorporate culture, Agile coaches listen and categorize based on the diverse characters on any given team. Scrum Masters, get the job done in real-time with a sense of all being included, and the People Operations and HR take care of any incidents or feelings of exclusion that might come up.
Trained Organization Development practitioners include the Scrum Masters, HR, People Operations, and the CEO in the overview design and implementation. Everyone is included, and if the practitioner does there work right the only person who feels excluded is the OD practitioner because they do not build a role for themselves into the design. When the job is done right, OD Practitioners, at least the ones I have known including myself, we design the workplace communication in such a way that the interconnectivity between diverse skills, mindsets, and tasks have a backup plan for each other. This is crucial when it comes to self-sufficiency and a feeling of belonging. In the end, the OD practitioner can walk away.
Because OD practitioners work from a quiet place, front, and center, and they tend to disrupt a system in place, yet they are not given the title Change agent, most departments see them as a negative force to deal with. Change Agents, People Operations, Agile coaches are all sweet, meanwhile, OD practitioners disrupt, challenge, break down a system, call out strengths and weaknesses, make everyone else do the work, don't give anyone the answers, wait, till the aha moments happen to congratulate and then leave. That seems easy enough.
OD practitioners have been undersold and replaced by fast results and quick turn around. Does a company want to really make changes? do they really want inclusion? Or just another department to send people to when diversity is an issue? I like this new appreciation for coaches, and workshops that can support team building and team dynamics.
I guess where I was going with this is asking the question, for every inclusive person someone is excluded, and for every team that is diverse, they feel different from the rest of the organization, who is looking into the diverse coaches, Scrum Masters, People Operations, and Facilitators? watching out for this new department, so that the diversity and inclusion office does not become the detection box for those who can't seem fit in but have a skill the company needs? are we all still in high school? And to close, who's role includes system thinking?