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Establishing Culture and Diversity in Your Business | Laura Kriska

From Audio: [Feature Friday] Author Laura Kriska on Preventing an Us vs Them Clash The ROI Online Podcast Ep. 91

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The ROI Online Podcast
Duration: 07:21
Laura Kriska talks about diversity, inclusion, culture, and so much more.
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Laura Kriska talks about diversity, inclusion, culture, and so much more.
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So let's talk about at least the cultures that we're trying to establish in our businesses. Um, diversity is like a real important word to know and implement in your organizations. Or at least that's that's the cultural, uh, they caught the cultural expectation of a lot of businesses is that show us show us that you are diverse and that you are operating in a way that's respectful of that. But it can come back to bite you in some ways, you know? What do you mean by come back to buy you? Well, I think that if you're doing it in a way that maybe you're stepping on the toes are these unknown rules You could have the right intent or maybe be sloppy at it and actually be upsetting, upsetting the things that yeah, in the opposite way of what you're wanting to establish. Mhm. I would say that there is this false notion that proximity to people who are different is enough that if you hire people, for example, who don't look like you or sound like you or pray like you that you've done enough, it's a good thing to have a diverse work place it's it's good for business. It's the right thing to do. Um, but when people are just looking for somebody who is different but not really wanting to include them in the decision making, um, in in the heart of the organization, uh, it can cause more problems. It's kind of cosmetic diversity. I heard this phrase recently, uh, cosmetic diversity versus substantive diversity. So I really like that idea of substantive diversity. And in the book, I talk about this idea of looking inside yourself to understand and reflect on what type of life choices you've made because so many of us are in favor of diversity. We want to be inclusive. Yet if we look at our own lives, we live pretty segregated lives. I see this. So I'm a white middle aged woman and many of the relationships where I live, you know how I spend my time is with other middle aged white people, and there's nothing necessarily inherently wrong with spending time with people like you. People do that all over. But if you're really trying to embrace diversity, you need to question that and say, Well, why is that? You know why? Why do I, uh, have lunch every day only with people who look like me, sound like me and pray like me. And most often it's because we don't put ourselves in situations where we can be with people who are different or if there are people nearby. We hesitate for one reason or another, and this is a problem. So right now, for example, uh, after last spring and black lives matter protests which fundamentally has changed the messaging in corporate America, right? We see so much more messaging, um, in support of black lives matter, which is very important. It's great, but hashtags are not even close to being enough. We need organizations, and especially the leaders in those organizations, to take action to make policies to do the hiring and mentoring and integration of people who are outside the cultural majority, which in most companies is white Americans. So people in charge of those initiatives in corporate America, our majority middle aged white people just like me. And so if those people myself included, if they haven't done the work to think about their own choices and themselves, I don't believe they can make effective policies and help their organization's culture. So one of the concepts in my book is I use the phrase an internal infrastructure And so this came from my observation of the civil rights, um, legislation, uh, comparing it to the Americans with Disabilities Act. That was, I think, in 1991. And I'm sure as you remember, when this act was made into law companies, organizations spent huge amounts of money building an infrastructure to include people with various types of disabilities. So close captioning, um, physical ramps, parking, you know, places to park. You know, we see evidence of this any time you go out in public. And so when the civil rights legislation became law in America, there were similar rules. You have to do this kind of, um, you know, there are things you had to comply with, but there's no visible evidence of this. You can't look at another person and understand if they have done the internal work to be able to connect to people who are different, to integrate, to have relationships, to build trust with people who are different. So the business of we talks about the need for individuals, especially leaders, especially middle aged white leaders to look at themselves and, um, and ask yourself, You know, have I done the work? There's, um The second step in the book is a self assessment. There are 10 questions, 10 questions that can change your viewpoint. It can change your culture. But these 10 questions ask, uh, any person to measure themselves in relation to another cultural group. You get to choose whatever cultural group that is, and when your score is very low on a specific culture, it means you need to do some work to increase your score. Because when you increase your understanding and your integration and your relationship and trust with people in a particular other group, you are much less likely to cause unintentional damage. You're going to learn those little invisible rules that you brought up. And not only are you going to avoid causing trouble and damage and heartache and hurt feelings, you can then leverage your knowledge toward positive outcomes, such as a really strong, trusting relationship with somebody who has a different life experience than you
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