Part 6 of a 7-Part Series
So often, our Change Management experts get asked about solving a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issue with a specific event. “Can you provide us with a workshop to solve our diversity problem?” “We want a two-hour session because we’ve had some harassment complaints,” or “We need an hour for bias training.” Workshops and training sessions can be great starting points, but they are only a place to start.
Your DEI journey is going to take time and effort. It’s critical that leaders are involved and committed from start to finish and provide assistance and support as needed. Leaders need to be the DEI champion (ideally the CEO), and they must stand up, be accountable and show their people the way with clear, consistent, timely and authentic sponsorship.
From a cultural change management perspective, at Prompta, we know that the #1 reason transformations fail is the lack of consistent, visible, and actively engaged executive sponsorship. Our experience is supported by data* that indicates the lack of executive sponsorship is the primary driver for why 60% to 80% of business transformation fail. (*According to Gartner Group, McKinsey, Bain, IBM, and HBR)
Last year DEI strategies and roadmaps were considered nice to have, but it has become essential that companies start on their DEI cultural transformational change journey now that their employees and customers and our society are demanding it. DEI isn’t the flavour of the month, and it won’t wait. To get started, you must:
- Co-create the future with a clear vision of what your DEI goals are
- Define what specially you’re trying to achieve
- Determine what success looks like
- Identify how you will measure progress.
Our experience is supported by data … lack of executive sponsorship is the primary driver for why 60% to 80% of business transformation fail
As part of this DEI transformation, it’s time to rethink our hiring practices. It’s time to rethink how we support people to grow and advance in their careers. It’s time to look at our hidden biases and call them out. It’s about recognition and acknowledgement so that you can address them; it’s not about beating yourself up for past mistakes.
Starting your Transformational journey
Now’s the time to sponsor and bring around real transformational DEI culture change that your employees are insisting on and your customers are demanding. As leaders, we need to be demanding it as well. From a DEI perspective, we must turn the page. We need to move from concepts, slogans, and happy talk to action, real action. We need leaders to act so that every employee within their organization feels valued, and every customer feels appreciated.
A vital place to start your DEI journey is to establish a baseline and understand employee sentiment. Next, it’s essential to determine the gap between where you currently are on your DEI journey compared to your desired future state. Then it is time to co-create realistic strategic action planning and then look to implement those actions.
DEI culture change is never easy. It’s not quick, but seeing your journey through to new ways of being will bring incredible rewards and a company worthy of great leaders, the best and brightest employees, and the most loyal customers. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It’s not the Destination. It’s the journey.”