Saturday, March 28, 2009
So when does diversity morph into perversity?
Here are three worst practices I believe the masses have achieved in a CMMI repeatable way:
1. Broadening the focus to include all individual differences when the real issues are based on innate group identities such as race, gender, sexual orientation, national identity, age and/or ability. This general language only serves to insult employees and customers and dissipates the focus of energy on measurable outcomes.
2. Using euphemisms such as ethnic or culture when we mean race…or lifestyles when we mean sexual orientations. An organization’s lack of courage to name an issue with direct language signals to employees and customers a lack of comfort in addressing the real issues. This euphemistic language also signals lack of clarity or lack of commitment to the work of diversity. We must first clearly articulate the issues before we can change them.
3. Assuming that training changes behavior is a common worst practice in diversity. Awareness training to shift perceptions and unarticulated assumptions is critical to change-and must be a part of an overall strategy that includes specific goals, measurement, behavior skills training and accountability. Awareness training alone will not change behavior.
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