Inclusion is not the goal.

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.

  1. Chris aka new_resource

    At some point the rubber must meet the road. You have been holding it down and teaching the benefits of diversity for years…I know personally for 18 months *wink* So I can understand why you are tired of that particular conversation.
    I get tired too Joe, and we must remember our audience is changing and growing and hard headed.
    You is important.

  2. broc.edwards

    Yes! And yes again! Joe, I don’t have much experience in D & I but completely understand where you’re coming from. I operate in the training/leadership development environment and have long contended that training for the sake of training is stupid. The ONLY reason to train is to improve performance. That’s it. So I’m fully with you that D & I for the sake of D & I is really missing the point.

    Sad that more companies don’t see inclusion as a direct path to competitive advantage. Done for the sake of itself, it’s just a check box that won’t yield the gains that are potentially available.

    Why do we humans fight so hard for the status quo when status quo never leads to greatness?

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