DEI is a principle that we strive to represent in Canadian society, but one of the most difficult aspects of developing and implementing a successful diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI) strategy is gaining senior leadership support.

What are the challenges?

Getting others to agree that something is necessary and should be done may sound like an easy concept, but in reality, it can be challenging to make sure that everyone views themselves as participating in the DEI process and benefiting from its success.

Why do some leaders struggle to see themselves in the DEI Journey?

The development and preservation of diversity, equity, and inclusion may not always be seen as a business priority, but there is plenty of evidence to support this claim, including 15 years’ worth of business cases and research. In addition, we must comply with regulatory requirements as employers and compete for top talent in the labor market. DEI is nonetheless frequently ignored or placed lower on the list of priorities.

The Blame Game

One of the less-discussed reasons for not prioritizing DEI tactics that Frequently encounter is that some executives are hesitant to participate in DEI initiatives out of concern that they would make a mistake or be branded “the problem or cause,” and this concern poses a big problem.

First off, a DEI approach is not necessary as a result of one person’s activities. No matter how strong and influential we may feel, no one individual is capable of causing that kind of issue on their own, and, to be honest, blaming others rarely yields the desired results. The need for DEI results from a cultural transformation or awakening that recognizes the necessity for change and really respects the dignity of every individual. Everyone at the table must be prepared to discover, accept, and comprehend what DEI is and what is expected of us. Above all, everyone must recognize themselves in the answers that will guide their organizations’ journey toward DEI.

Fear of Making a Mistake

Failure to address a workplace culture that encourages fear of making mistakes is the second factor preventing some leaders from implementing a successful DEI plan. We are aware that a fear of failure can prevent a company from moving forward in a variety of business areas, but when it comes to DEI, the rarely discussed but deeply ingrained cultural fear of making a mistake, and the resulting inaction, sends the message that DEI is undervalued and unimportant, which can cause significant harm to your company’s culture as well as its reputation and brand.

Empowering Leaders

We’ve discovered that companies that approach their DEI initiatives from a knowledgeable and organized viewpoint are the most empowered and capable of transforming their errors into advantageous opportunities for leadership and their workforce. Employees at these firms perceive leadership as actively participating in a process that benefits all employees, while leaders at these organizations regard themselves as contributing to the company’s DEI success.

It’s crucial to make sure everyone feels welcome at the table and can identify with the solutions you’re working toward if you want the senior leadership team to support the DEI approach. It has been demonstrated that DEI tactics work best when DEI is seen as an inclusive journey.

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