Monday, November 27, 2017

Organizational Health Drives Intentional D&I

I don't know. I just don't know. I have been doing a lot of thinking, research, and reading about organizational health (culture) and diversity/inclusion. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but I don't know if anyone has gotten it all "that" right. We’ve always looked to our tech giants and thought, “they got it, they are the gold standard.” But even Google has taken some culture beatings as of late. 

If the foundation (organizational health and engagement)
 are not present, during the intentional drive for D&I.
Then the output for a truly diverse and inclusive
culture will not exist. Diversity and Inclusion cannot
grow in an unhealthy organization. 
Now I am beginning to wonder, if diversity and inclusion can be a intended outcome of strong organizational culture. Further, when such initiatives, like diversity, inclusion or women in leadership, for example, do not take root within an organization and do not show signs of behavior change, is it do to foundational issues in the organizations culture? I mean, when we stop and think about it, diversity and inclusion initiatives are like interventions, "the success of the intervention depends on the internal state of the intervener." So, if the internal condition,  or foundation is weak, then the output of the intervention will be weak as well.

Lets apply this to a sample workplace, if the workplace culture or organizational health is not conducive to support diversity and inclusions initiatives the unintended consequence will be many failed attempts at driving diversity, however, foundational, if an organization is "healthy" then intentional initiatives around diversity and inclusion will, in time, reap health returns for the organization.

The issue that many of us face is that we do not address some of the foundational issues that our organizations have. Why? These issues are difficult to identify and very difficult to change. This is why many newer organizations can start with a strong and intentional culture and build on top of it, while a 100 year old organization trying to tear down everything it has built and take the time to address some of the foundational   issues of the organization. Secondly, there is, I believe, a fear for many organizations that if we tear down what we have built over the past several decades that we may not be able to build it again. This is very true, you will not be capable of building that same organization again. Because you will be building an organization on a new (stronger) foundation that looks and feels very different than it did before. But if you do not address your foundation, over  time your organization will erode and succumb to the weaknesses of  it’s own foundation.

To answer my question, can diversity and inclusion be an intended output of organizational health, the answer is a resounding YES!. I strongly believe based on human behavior that the two are very positively and directly related. When you start to think of your organization, team, divisions or department, stop and wonder, what is our organizational health, and do we need to conduct a Stop to Fix on our foundation.

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