By Dr. Nika White
President and CEO, Nika White Consulting and Amazon Best Selling Author of “The Intentional Inclusionist™.”
In the wake of what’s happening in our world to potentially compromise the work of equity and inclusion which has been implemented, the time is now to become even more vigilant in educating ourselves on how to best value and manage human difference. Viewing diversity and inclusion as a leadership function is vital for well- functioning organizations. Years of experience have taught us that a diverse, inclusive workplace doesn’t just organically occur. Yet, as we look to the future, we recognize that huge demographic shifts are happening that impact society, requiring strategic diversity and intentional inclusion be practiced at every level for optimal performance. To remain relevant, organizations must ensure their diversity and inclusion game is on and strong. To be passive about inclusion can be dangerous, and to ignore inclusion can be reckless. Matters of inclusion should be a c-suite level and board concern to set the tone for all corners of the organization. Now is the time to get in the game and be intentional about the work of inclusion.
Well intentions can be the greatest motivation to start a new initiative. But, sometimes plans fail to reach implementation because of misguided information. Diversity and inclusion is one of those initiatives often absent or lacking in effectiveness in organizations for a myriad of reasons. Most often the reason is the lack of “know how” or understanding of the value to the organization’s mission. Passion for organizational effectiveness and an inclusive society fuels my drive to help influencers understand the essentials of intentional inclusion leadership as paramount to successful organizations and thriving communities. This is why I am so honored that my company, Nika White Consulting, has been hired to plan and execute the inaugural Diversity and Inclusion Summit for the Greenville (SC) Chamber of Commerce.
Plans for the 2017 Diversity and Inclusion Summit, LEVERAGING HUMAN DIFFERENCE: A Strategic Priority for Business Success & Community Prosperity are underway. This Summit is scheduled for October 17, 2017, from 9 am to 6 pm at the TD Convention Center. This full day experience will engage business and community leaders across a wide range of private/public sectors and will consist of an opening plenary with keynote speaker, a luncheon with a keynote speaker and approximately 9 different workshops offered in between. The day will end with a LEVERAGE. LAUNCH. LEAD Networking Reception for all guests and speakers.
We have secured a dynamic roster of presenters who are all national and international experts skilled in a wide array of diversity strategies. This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from authorities who have years of experience. Viewing diversity and inclusion as a leadership function is vital for professional and personal development. The Summit will address a variety of topics relevant to helping leaders more effectively manage and value human difference to create high performing organizations and thriving communities. A full listing of session descriptions, speaker bios and registration information can be found online at greenvillechamber.org
If you are still not convinced that these types of efforts matter, consider that an effective diversity and inclusion strategy begins with believing that the outcomes are worth it. To believe in the results, one must first become educated on the benefits of inclusion, becoming knowledgeable on what it is and what it’s not.
Inclusion is not a program, it’s a mindset.
Programs get canceled, but mindsets prevail. Inclusion is a strategy, philosophy, standard, expectation, and a driver of business success. I sound the alarm on this message every chance I get! Don’t just take my word for it, but acknowledge the research from McKinsey, Catalyst and Deloitte and the likes who suggest that gender and ethnically diverse companies outperform their peers as measured by business, financials and talent outcomes.
I like to work with clients who believe that it is worth investing in their organizations to attract talent and yield high-performance results through strategic diversity and intentional inclusion. My clients understand that staying competitive in today’s marketplace requires sustainable solutions to effectively engage diverse constituents. One of the greatest appreciations I have about being a diversity and inclusion practitioner is that after spending time learning the culture and practices, I can reveal to organizations insights about their work environment that employees may be thinking or experiencing, but are reluctant to share because of perceived repercussions. Having a person of authority on diversity and inclusion to identify the opportunities and barriers can be helpful for creating sustainable efforts. It’s not always easy to address less than ideal realities of an organization’s culture that may hinder success, but it’s essential to conduct an honest assessment to know where improvements are needed. An effective diversity and inclusion consultant recognizes the importance of earning clients’ trust by confidently presenting data, offering solutions and encouragement to stay to course to reap rewards that come with strategic diversity and intentional inclusion. If you are a diversity champion in your organization focus on what’s right for the organization. You could very well be the difference needed to move your workplace to one that is passive about inclusion to one that strives to intentionally model inclusion.