Lived Experience.

I am doing lots of work around diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIBs) at work. I bring my culture lens to it, rather than a policy one. Diversity is a fact. You either have it or you don’t. When you don’t, you need strategy and policy change. Hiring managers need to think differently, we data mine the situation and look for challenges and localized wins we can model. We say – with some boldness – we must do better. It gets people interested.

However, what about the situation once people arrive; for those already here? This is inclusion work. Inclusion takes action. Notice what is missing, ask good questions, reach beyond the norms to find solutions. Be intentional. Meet more and different people, and seek to represent them further and farther around the company. Offer training, but make it action oriented. Now you know about your bias, take action against it!

The last part is the most interesting – certainly for my focus of culture and engagement. Belonging is about saying “I am enough.” For others to concur with that, they need to know you better, more deeply, more organically. Understanding someone’s lived experience – not to solve anything but to acknowledge it – is life affirming and attitudinally powerful. It can cut through. You notice as if for the first time.

Belonging work is fun and exciting, because it is also free and full of choice. It requires little or no permission. It is as simple as saying “Welcome.” If we marry these three components together – DIBs – we get change.

It’s easier said than done, for sure. But, we move forward, step by step.

This Much We Know.

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