We believe that effective work on diversity in organizations is:
Inclusive – Becoming inclusive means striving to use all available resources and to value differences as a source of competitive advantage, as well as developing competencies in everyday behaviors that support these goals and allow all members of the organization to feel that they belong, that they matter, and that they can be fully themselves at work. Inclusion also means involving different parts of the organization in designing and implementing any change effort.
Systemic – Taking a systemic approach means seeking to understand how the different parts of the organization work together, and designing interventions that are strategic and purposeful with regard to the broader objectives of the organization and its leadership.
Integrative – Inclusion and a systemic approach together support developing integration, both of the components of a change effort and of the different parts of the organization and its members.
Every individual contributes to a group’s diversity, and diversity involves many dimensions. Which of these dimensions matters and how depends on many factors. For these reasons, it is important to design diversity training/education and inclusion initiatives in the context of a specific group or organization and of specific organizational objectives, rather than to use off-the-shelf designs. In doing diversity education, we emphasize creating safe spaces in which participants can take risks and explore differences as well as learn about their own identity and its complexity. We seek to create a positive and challenging experience that both permits and encourages everyone to begin from where they are, and supports them in developing enhanced awareness, knowledge, and skills with regards to diversity and inclusion.
We have been heavily influenced by the philosophy of appreciative inquiry (AI), which emphasizes focusing on what is going well or is desired and how to do more of it, rather than on problems. We believe in basing practice on well-founded theory and research, and in using data gathered in the organization as a critical planning tool. We have experience and skill in all aspects of diversity initiatives in organizations, including designing and conducting individual and focus group interviews, developing and analyzing surveys, designing and delivering diversity training, catalyzing and supporting the implementation of strategic diversity and inclusion efforts, and assessing and evaluating results