Lasting lessons on diversity and inclusion

Some reflections from a recent blog on actions taken by GovCon firms to address social justice and systemic racism issues. There is still a lot to say.

As with any story you write and especially one with eight or nine sources, there is a lot that is left on the cutting room floor.

That’s especially true with my recent blog on what companies are doing to address racism and promote diversity and inclusion.

The interviews took place over a period of weeks and I worried that the initial fire I had for the topic would be lost. I’m happy with the published blog, but there is still so much more that I couldn’t quite figure out how to say in that kind of narrative.

One thing was the sincerity of the executives. My interviews often lasted 30-40 minutes and from those interviews I used just a few quotes from each person. But during those conversations, the executives talked in often person terms what impact the last few months have had on them and what they personally have learned.

It was interesting as well that these executives see this as a journey, both personal and professional.

As leaders at their companies, these executives are used to taking charge. It’s part of the job description. But in this case, they’ve had to take a step back and listen and fight the urge to take over the conversation.

In the few months since George Floyd’s murder, these executives have been in a listening mode. They’re talking to minority employees and hearing heart breaking stories of racism, both inside and outside the office.

The listening and the conversations need to continue, they told me, but they also are moving forward with actions. As I described in the blog, training sessions are in the works as well as the development of new community action programs and shifts in charitable contributions.

There’s a great desire to create an atmosphere where people can have frank conversations and when things go awry, company cultures should allow employees to speak up and call out inappropriate behaviors.

People need to feel free to say something.

Getting there does not happened overnight. And that was another big take away for me. This is a journey and there will be steps and missteps along the way. And at the same time, none of these executives see a quick fix.

There was a lot of talk about taking steps and being careful not to do too much at once. They talked about setting achievable goals and moving forward.

All of the executives talked about the need for training, and that’s an area I’d like to explore more going forward, particularly the training around unconscious bias and micro-aggressions. What do those terms mean? What does the training look like? How do employees and managers react?

The question that over-arches all of this for me (and one I probably didn’t ask well enough) is how do you sustain it? How do you avoid fatigue?

One plus for companies is that this focus on diversity and inclusion can have a lot of business benefits. More voices at the table and more perspectives can result in better ideas and solutions for the customer.

I learned that diversity and inclusion are two different things with the concept of inclusion being where the real change will happen. It doesn’t matter if your work force exactly mirrors the country’s demographics -- yes, you can check the diversity box -- but if those minority voices can’t speak up and be heard then the value of that diversity is lost. That’s why inclusion is so important.

Another encouraging sign has been the quarterly reports by the publicly-traded GovCon firms and how they are being asked about diversity and inclusion by some analysts. Many of these executives have spoken on the topic without being asked during these investor calls.

I believe the way that businesses, and GovCon firms in particular, can be leaders on these national issues.

Next steps for me are to keep listening and to look for more voices to include. Don’t hesitate to reach out.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.