After the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, in the US, and the spectre of COVID had laid us bare to the echoes within social media, our lives were suddenly filled with the torment and pain of racial inequality.
Black Lives Matter has been a movement for many years following the numerous killings of Black people by police in the US. And the UK is not immune, as Black people are disproportionately more likely to die in police custody.1 However, the death of Mr Floyd resonated like no other, and the moment reinforced the movement.
As organisations began the soul searching into how to manage this out-pouring for racial justice, the other concerns of the under-represented, and the impact of ongoing Diversity & Inclusion work, also reared its head.
Just a quick scroll of a few pages on LinkedIn and you can see:
“It’s not one of the 9 protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act of 2010, but socio-economic status and how to promote greater mobility is quickly rising up the agenda of organisations…”
“Parents ‘see construction as a male industry’, says study”
“…while women of colour are “playing a crucial role in today’s pandemic, they are still disproportionately underpaid for their work, making it even harder for them to build a roadway to economic prosperity.”
Socio-economic progression has been identified as one of the government priorities; The emasculation of certain sectors should be possible in the 21st Century, but apparently not in construction; and, the overlapping of economics, gender and race is a triple hit, not only in the illustrated story, but across society.
And there’s more:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. Our dignity is derived solely from our humanity. Not our race, sex or gender. Not our class, religion or abilities. Not any characteristic other than being human.”
“8 of the most LGBTQIA-friendly countries: Spain, Uruguay, New Zealand, Canada, Thailand, France, Taiwan and The Netherlands. It’s a disgrace (but not surprising) that the UK is not on this list.”
“When you’re Black and Disabled; what battle do you fight first?”
Indeed, what battle do you fight first? Those tasked with tackling these issues can find themselves asking: Black Lives Matter? What about Brown lives? And, where does discrimination towards those from SE Asian heritage sit? And, then disability, does this include invisible disability? What’s the difference between sex and gender? If we’re talking about being gay, does that exclude bisexuals? What does sexuality even matter at work?
Within that there are the more demanding questions around things like privilege and white fragility…
It is clear that organisations know they need to do something about – what’s variously called – D&I, EDI, DEI, Inclusion, Belonging, Diversity, however, all these seemingly competing agendas can become overwhelming. It’s enough to give many diversity fatigue, scream, run for a darkened room, curl up in a ball and wish it would all just go away.
But then, they have to do something; and people are bleating on, something about a dance and party, and others “what gets measured gets done!” and in order to create the perception of change they look at race over here, and gender over there and disability elsewhere, and start making tokenistic gestures, rather than taking meaningful action.
Don’t misunderstand, all of these needs are real and must be addressed, but when you know why you want change, and you know what those outcomes should look like, the question that remains is how?
How do you take action so that all of these matters can be tackled?
So, the next question to you is, do you want to Manage Diversity, or Lead Inclusion?
At Above Difference, we’re very much about the latter, because then you can do the How.
One participant told us that their time with us taught them “to view difference as an opportunity rather than a problem to be solved in some way”.
So, what is the how? Where are the opportunities?
Rather than beating people over the head for not hitting targets when told to achieve them, better is to provide them with a framework of skills to help with motivation, thinking, planning and action, which help them to move towards tangible success.
Cultural Intelligence (CQ) does just that. It’s the capability to work and relate effectively with people who are different from you. Once you’ve done the self-reflection required to act appropriately, you can lead inclusion efforts that work, regardless of where the action sits in the social justice plan.
And that’s a game changer.
No longer are you running for the hills, or tearing your hair out – because there’s a paradigm you work through. It helps you address each and every one of those needs outlined in those LinkedIn calls for help. It’s a step-by-step process of addressing the change you want to see.
When we use Cultural Intelligence, we can take an over-arching approach to inclusion which tackles, not only the racial equality agenda, but the gender pay gap, disability rights, trans-lives, socio-economic mobility, the intersectionality of all of these, and so on.
This is radical, because to spend the time on introspection with the belief it will prove worthwhile on reflection, is not a place many are willing to invest in. But invest in it we must.
CQ is an academically robust proven methodology. When the CQ Center did their research asking what’s the difference between success and failure in today’s globalised multicultural world, the framework they developed was in answer to this, so why wouldn’t we all do it?
The outcome of leading using this approach is visible and invisible diversity working in energetic constructive conflict to produce the best most innovative results.
CQ is the spark. CQ delivers. CQ is the catalyst for change.
As Dr David Livermore, President of the Cultural Intelligence Center, says; “The world has increasingly grown smaller… but for those with CQ the possibilities for success are greater than ever. Cultural Intelligence enables you to thrive in any business environment – whether it’s across the world or in your own backyard.”
To use the quote often attributed to Einstein, “the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”; doing difference differently relies on us approaching the whole issue from an angle we’ve not done before.
And we promise you, if you use CQ, you’ll get a different result.