"Diversity in Action - 2005 and Beyond"
- Putting Awareness to Work

Diversity awareness sessions should be followed by diversity action sessions. We have found that people are ready, willing, and able--indeed, impatiently wanting--to move ahead. For tens of thousands of people, diversity awareness was a short session a long time ago and hasn't been connected to the realities of their work. More and more people who went to awareness sessions are now requesting or demanding some follow up. They want to put their awareness into action.

Many groups want a next step to follow the awareness session--whether it comes six months or several years later. It is clear that the same trainers who did awareness are usually not the ones who can do the follow-up.

Our programs on "Diversity In Action--Beyond 2005" (or "Putting Awareness to Work") are about increasing organizational capability and performance by leveraging the multiplier effects of inclusion, pluralism, and collaboration . And they are about institutionalizing mechanisms, processes, and structures that go beyond individual attitudes.

Most diversity awareness programs introduced an approach that separated people according to various demographic categories. "Diversity in Action" brings people together.

Diversity awareness often cites the "Workforce 2000" report from 1987 which was based on the 1980 census. "Diversity in Action" is based on projections for 2020--which is just about the same number of years from us, only in the other direction. Anyone who uses data from 20 years ago should be fired. Anyone who uses data from 20 years ahead will be fired up.

Diversity work has gotten detoured. Let's get back on the track. Diversity is personal, emotional, political. The best awareness sessions have tried to personalize statistics and to eliminate labels. Action sessions need to make the connection between individuals and work, between the social philosophy and the functional operations.

Most awareness sessions don't talk about systems and systems change. Action sessions do. Most groups in the last ten years had one session on diversity awareness. Our diversity action programs establish a course of action and the means to see it through.

Diversity coordinators and members of diversity councils can either help make something happen or keep postponing it, which undermines the effort that has already been made.

It is time to move from appreciating to actualizing. The celebrating came too soon and has caused a lot of cynicism and backlash. Diversity work loses credibility if it just celebrates an awareness session.

Now is the time to operationalize and activate people's awareness. Otherwise, it will turn into an awareness that you didn't mean all that diversity stuff in the first place.

    We offer a workshop for people to --

  • recognize what has been accomplished
  • brainstorm things that still need to be addressed
  • develop action plans
  • determine areas for follow-up from past diversity work
  • come up with an agenda and assignments of tasks
  • discuss how to address issues
  • handle unfinished business--issues, reactions, gaps
  • formulate criteria for success
  • identify resources both inside and outside the organization
  • anticipate obstacles, barriers
  • get whatever sign-off or buy-in is needed
  • be prepared for next steps
  • reinforce the message
  • turn the rhetoric into reality

"Diversity in Action - 2005 and Beyond" - Putting Awareness to Work
Where would you say you are on the scale --
Diversity awareness 0-10--
Diversity action 0-10--
Has your organization done something you consider to be diversity awareness?
If so, when/how long ago --
For whom?--how many people, what positions in your organization--

What was it--presentation, workshop, discussion, class?

How long was it? hours for each group

How do you evaluate the benefits/results of this?

Has there been any feedback, backlash, criticism, reaction?--YES NO

If so, what and from whom?

Do you have a task force or committee thar looks at diversity? YESNO

If YES, what is it called?

Do you have an individual who coordinates or manages diversity efforts? YESNO

If YES, what is that person's title?

Do people in your organization consider diversity to be a synonym for affirmative action?YES NO MIXED

a synonym for "minority?" YESNOMIXED

When people in your organization use the word diversity, do they include white,
heterosexual, English-speaking, able-bodied, men under 40, as well as other people?
YES NO Don't know

What follow up has there been for people who attended an awareness event?

Have you had discussions about institutionalizing organizational practices that will support diversity? YES NO

Do you have Affirmative Action targets, goals, plans? YES NO

Do you expect diversity to go beyond meeting Affirmative Action targets?YES NO

Do you already have diversity action plans defined? YES NO

If YES, what issues/concerns/goals do they focus on?

What is the urgency/priority for addressing diversity issues?LOW MEDIUM HIGH

What is it about our announcement that appeals to you or interests you?

How would you like to proceed?

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