Have you recently attended a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion conference or conversation?
Now you are asking yourself, what do I do with what I learned?
You are not alone.
Last Wednesday I spent the day with nearly 200 local business leaders and professionals at the second-annual Diversity, Equity and Inclusion conference in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina. The theme for the conference was “From Intention to Action.” The purpose of the conference was to get the business community off the sidelines and into the game of creating equitable opportunities and outcomes for their employees and the community.
As we wrapped up the day, the energy in the room was buzzing with inspiration, hope and enthusiasm. I left feeling accomplished! The conference was a success. We delivered on our promise of an experience that provided insight and practical tips for participants to take back to their businesses.
On my drive home, although I was elated and had a great sense of satisfaction about the day, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Now what?” As I moved in and out of lanes trying to avoid getting caught in the “5 o’clock” rush hour traffic, I was thinking about what more I could do to continue to move the business community to action. A pressure that many who lead, or influence Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion work carry on our shoulders every day. Those thoughts, while quickly turning on my blinkers to get into the correct lane so that I don’t miss my exit, led me to write this blog.
As my truck made the u-shaped exit ramp, a thought occurred to me, “I am sure leaders left the conference asking themselves the same two-word question that I had, “Now what?”
If you are wondering what to do with all the information and insights you gained from your last DE+I conference or conversation, here are five of my recommendations.
- Facilitate a discussion of those who attended the event. Gather their key takeaways and learnings. Don’t just ask them what their takeaways are, ask this question, “What is at least one thing you think we can do at our company with this new information?”
- Create a list of three to five actions that your company will take because of what you learned.
- Create a list of ideas or actions you still need more information on and who from the conference may be able to help you. Did you hear an idea that you want to implement in your organization? Reach out immediately.
- Appoint someone with decision-making authority to convene a group to dive deeper into the three to five actions.
- Set a date to follow up on the team’s progress. TIP: Set a schedule of regular follow-up meetings.
As a former executive, I know how important developing a plan of action is to accomplish organizational goals. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts are no different.
My challenge to all of you…
Identify at least one policy, practice or program you can change, modify or create in your organization that will get your company one step closer to creating equitable opportunities and outcomes. Do this within 90 days of attending a conference or conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion.
We know that to make meaningful lasting change is a journey.
But as Henry David Thoreau said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
Take one step, today.