DEI Changes Aren't Happening Quick Enough!

Nov 11, 2021
DEI Changes Aren't Happening Quick Enough!

Monday Kickstarters is a working session to help us figure out how to have a conversation worth having when faced with a tough situation, challenge, or problem. What follows are two topics we reimagined with eager anticipation.

Change around DEI is too slow at work; we’re going to lose people.

The problem with bringing DEI changes to our organization is that institutional changes aren’t happening as fast as individual awareness is growing. We’ll be at risk of losing people, so it’s a retention problem, and while some changes are taking place, they’re not communicated well.

Flipping this challenge to its positive opposite, heralds a sense that change around DEI is moving forward and people are happy with the changes. How might we be more specific about what that could mean for an organization? In other words, how might we really frame this? Here’s what surfaced during our session:

  • We have a diverse workplace that is productive and engaging where we are thriving.
  • All employees feel respected and included; a respectful and inclusive organizational culture.
  • Meaningful change around DEI is happening at a rate that is sustainable and lasting.
  • People are activating strategies for DEI in the workplace and life.
  • We are attracting new talent, and our organization is seen as a healthy place for developing relationships with staff.

The positive frame that was selected was: Meaningful change around DEI is happening at a rate that is sustainable and lasting.

Below are the generative questions that this week’s participants offered to help employees and management engage in a conversation worth having, and we hope they will do the same for you!

DEI Change is too slow

How can workplaces help address workplace stressors?

The problem is that many people are stressed at work, trying to balance their home life with it and trying to take care of themselves (wellness) and very often that stress increases during the holidays. Flipping this challenge to its positive opposite is about envisioning scenarios where workplaces address these stressors. While two very closely-related frames emerged from a rather lively discussion, the positive frame that resonated most strongly and slightly shifted the direction of the conversation was: Employees are able to manage their wellness and support one another.

The generative questions crafted for this exercise included those for employers/managers, i.e. “How might we reprioritize our workload over the holiday season?” and those for employees, i.e. “When do I feel energized by my work?” One question inspired a broader thought – “What role do employers have in understanding our personal stories?”

Stress and Worklife Balance

The practice of asking generative questions invites you to adopt an attitude of curiosity. This can be a challenge in and of itself for anyone who was taught or believes they need to have answers. When we want to shift conversations to those worth having, it’s important to pause, breathe, and get curious because when we’re genuinely curious, we naturally ask generative questions, like these:

  • What else might explain what happened?
  • How do you see it?
  • How have you seen this done before?
  • What might be possible if . . .?

Generative questions focus on what adds value, the best of what is, and what might be. The result: breadth of understanding, new ways of solving complex problems, and compelling images for collective action.

That sounds like a great way to enter the holiday season, followed by one question my father asks every holiday, “Who wants pie?”


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