Caroline Griffiths October 12 2023

Taking the fear out of DEI

Dr Brene Brown, author of Dare to Lead, says “To not have conversations (about DEI) because you feel uncomfortable is the definition of privilege”. Whist we can understand the logic behind this bold statement, we also recognise that the fear of saying the wrong thing, being seen as ill-informed, or being seen as non-inclusive, is real, and can prevent us from having those conversations to avoid offence or creating unintentional conflict regardless of background. 

 Many leaders are asking:

  • How do we lean into our discomfort around it? 
  • How do we confront our own biases and learn how to reduce them? 
  • How do we navigate the complexities of the unknown?
  • How do we face the challenge of communication when we are unsure of the boundaries?

Of course, education is the catalyst for change, however; change can be intimidating, especially when it challenges our established beliefs and practices. Embracing DEI can lead to incredible opportunities for success, innovation, and growth. But, getting diversity right is not a numbers game, it’s a game of aligned vulnerabilities and values, only achievable within a culture of psychological safety, open honest dialogue, and a spirit of finding our purpose through difference, not despite it. 


By embracing diverse perspectives, together we can create a workplace culture that thrives on curiosity, collaboration, innovation and problem solving. 


I know you might be thinking, what about the bottom line? Well, research consistently shows that diverse and inclusive organisations outperform their counter parts. Our research shows that DEI is not just a moral imperative, it’s a strategic advantage with proven impact on business outcomes.  

Taking the fear our of DEI is a journey not an overnight transformation.

This journey starts with: 

1. Becoming curious: get behind the roots of the fear, solicit feedback, build awareness, and practice enlightened empathy.

2. Education is the catalyst for change, so read up, speak up and invest in learning. 

3. Being relevant: many companies who are excelling in the DEI space are passionate about seeing diversity as an extension or mirror of their markets and the customers and communities they serve.

4. Demonstrate and encourage leadership commitment. Enrolling in leadership programmes focussed on preparing leaders to role model against specific leadership tensions to help them understand how they can show up as EDI leadership teams in all aspects of their day-to-day work. 

5. Promote opportunities for open-source innovation, truth exchange and collaboration. Diversity offers varying viewpoints that lead to tangible results.

6. Set clear targets, understand the data, and measure progress. Recognise your journey with grace. Don't make the target the goal.

7. Remember that diversity and inclusion, is not just a moral imperative it is a strategic advantage that drives innovation and growth.


So, let’s take this next step together. Embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion as a catalyst of growth, innovation, and success.


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