It is difficult to argue that there is not enough talk about diversity these day but it is clear that far too little tangible progress is being made. In my experience, so much of the problem stems from very well intended people being stuck in futile cycle of "try, fail, repeat" which is too often based on myths, mistruths, and misconceptions.
So, in this newsletter, I am going to be sharing my experience of things that have worked but also highlighting things that have not. Some of the, often counterintuitive, perspectives that seem to be delivering tangible benefits - include: what happens when we focus on statistics; why shifting the narrative is essential but we must carefully consider "where to"; dealing with conundrums and misconceptions about alignment; and considering when it is actually beneficial to be blind towards diversity.
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When We Focus on Statistics
Why problems persist & what we can do differently
In today's data and analytics industry, it will be no surprise that the diversity - especially from the viewpoint of the variety of backgrounds and where people come from or what people look like - is really, really poor.
Yet, some of the obvious questions that often get asked are: does diversity really matter? If so, can it realistically be resolved? If so, what do we need to do differently in order to make a meaningful difference?
I think it is has become increasingly clear that increased diversity - done in the right way - can deliver multifaceted wins, not only for you as individuals and for the organisations you work for but also for societies at large.
In spite of this increasing realisation, the lack of tangible progress seems to be generating understandable frustration and anxiety. One of the evident approaches that do not seem to be yielding significant benefits - beyond the headlines that thy might initially grab - is the limiting focus on statistics.
My experience has demonstrated that excessive focus on such statistics in themselves can prove counterproductive. So, rather than statistical headlines increasing becoming the end of the road, a key focus needs to be "what tangible changes can we make to actively deal with the actual challenges that the stats highlight to us?".
So, here are three key areas that seem to be delivering tangible benefits:
- Shifting the narrative but we must carefully consider "where to".
- Dealing with the conundrums and misconceptions about alignment.
- Considering when it is actually beneficial to be blind towards diversity.
Ultimately, it is important to accept that making diversity work is not a trivial pursuit - it can be incredibly hard work but, done right, the frictionless creative benefits that it brings far outweigh the investments required to achieve tangible results.