June 21st, 2012
I got a few e-mails after my last post. Some of my peers feel that it is lazy and/or inappropriate and/or cowardly for me to say I am just not that interested in making the business case for diversity and inclusion work.
I value the perspective of my peers, but I am still not interested.
I have done a whole lot of arguing the validity of D & I work. I think I am actually pretty good at it. I just do not see it as a good use of my time.
I think that this issue brings to the surface a fundamental difference between myself and many other D & I practitioners. I do not advocate diversity and inclusion for the sake of diversity and inclusion. That is not my operating philosophy.
Admittedly, I do, on a personal level, believe very deeply in the beauty and significance of diversity and inclusion. I will come out of the closet to you right now; I am the very dirt-worshipping, tree-hugging, peace-loving liberal that you assume that I am. I am probably too liberal for the word “liberal.” But that is not why I work to carry the D & I message to businesses, associations and communities.
Inclusion is not the goal.
Greatness. That is the goal.
Inclusion is simply something that can help us get there.
Unfortunately, a great deal of what we do at work is based on ideology, not evidence. We do not possess tools capable of measuring intangible assets, yet pretend that we do. We can rarely shine the light on causation, yet pretend that we can. We are not nearly as scientific as we think we are. A great deal of D & I work has been ideology-based (D & I as a “good” thing, rather than a “valuable” thing). A great deal of the resistance to D & I has been ideology-based as well.
I do not advocate diversity and inclusion (through my work) because my personal ideology tells me that diversity and inclusion are good and important things. I advocate diversity and inclusion (and authenticity and innovation) because of the evidence I have found regarding their role in finding greatness for groups, organizations and communities.
If greatness is where you are wanting to go, I know how to help you find your way. It involves diversity and inclusion.
Be good to each other.