Many of us are on a quest to improve our knowledge of inclusive leadership. We don’t want to be left behind. 2020 has taught us that traditional one-off training is not enough. With additional calls for inclusion and world diversity rolling out, we are rushing to invest in diversity, inclusion and equity training to learn and manage our blind spots. At last glance, the expenditures amounted to more than $8 billion. If you’re out there dancing with discomfort, here are five strategies to get the most out of your investment.
Plan your success taking into account time management, budget and project requirements. It is prudent to modulate the amount of content and training approach for optimal engagement for timing. For afternoon deliveries, consider distance fatigue and 2021. Add multiple checkpoints to see if content is resonating with attendees.
The saying goes: “you get what you pay for”. Therefore, manage expectations accordingly. If there is a small budget with huge demand, expect other project parameters (time/scope) to adjust accordingly. Limited funds could have a direct impact on customization requirements. Show empathy for all stakeholders in the planning process. It is not easy to provide training that changes lives and cultures on a shoestring budget. Be patient and recognize that this is a
journey. Also consider providing small pieces of content with multiple training offerings to enable participants to understand and implement learnings.
Create a psychologically safe environment
Inclusive leadership training evokes strong emotions (positive or negative) in search of an outlet. Psychological safety is fundamental to impactful educational outcomes. Expert Amy Edmondson says employees at work engage freely without fear of punishment when they feel safe. Consider the current culture and its unwritten rules. Is there a message that rewards professionalism over vulnerability? Let’s take some time to reflect. Keep the outcome in mind when implementing diversity, equity and inclusion training. Develop a plan to address safety in the delivery of training. Gain insight into the techniques used to establish safe incubators for growth and learning.
Provide experiential learning
Don’t get bogged down by the technicality of delivering a boatload of concept materials. This approach is guaranteed to lose your audience along the way. Meet your audience where they are. A quick way to note this in advance is to make a recording. Consider pairs or smaller groups to set the stage for authenticity. Then debrief as a large group to address any challenges that have arisen. The answers will indicate if there is a trust issue. Assess nonverbal cues that also signal that you’ve lost attendees and adjust accordingly. Be sure to include enough time for authentic conversations that promote understanding of complex topics. Pause the program, introduce yourself and reserve space for those who wish to become vulnerable and grow together in the training incubator.
Model of inclusive behaviors
Speak up when delivering training. Demonstrate your vulnerability
to model desired class engagement behaviors. Plan an approach to address unconscious biases that could derail your success. We are all confronted with prejudices on a daily basis. Similar to the approach we take to minimize hiring discrimination by removing names from resumes, we can use the selector
wheel tool to eliminate bias in determining who we call on to participate
in the formation.
Hold learners accountable
Deeper learning occurs outside of the training environment when participants have had the chance to practice in their usual environment. Increase understanding by providing opportunities for accountability. How? ‘Or’ What? Ask your participants to commit to acting personally and professionally on the new knowledge. Then, follow up to make sure the attendees have delivered on the promised commitment. Another way is to create follow-up training that builds on the knowledge