Do you have an inclusive mindset?
Find out how celebrating differences in the workplace can drive your organisation forward.
Should race, gender, shyness and other differences be celebrated in the workplace? Very much so, according to DHG, one of the Praxity participant firms where inclusivity is fundamental to success.
February was Black History Month, March was Women’s History month. April is Celebrate Diversity Month. May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. You get the picture. But what has this got to do with business? Quite a lot actually. In fact, celebrating differences and being inclusive is now seen as a key driver for commercial success for firms within Praxity Global Alliance.
In honour of Black History Month, Matt Snow, CEO of Praxity participant firm DHG, sat down with the firm’s new leader of inclusion and diversity (I&D), Kevin Price, to talk about is new role. The key takeaway is recognising and valuing our differences in the workplace – from race to age to personality – is fundamental to personal and business growth. Moreover, every single one of us has a role to play.
Matt: In February, we recognized Black History Month. Why is celebrating Black History Month and other I&D-related celebrations so important?
Kevin: Black History Month, and all of the respective heritage months, are important because they provide us with the opportunity to learn more about a culture that may be different but very important to the person sitting right next to you today, someone that lives next to you, or even that person that you may hire to join your team tomorrow. It’s valuable to approach these opportunities from a position of curiosity and to appreciate the occasion to learn.
Matt: For me, highlighting things we may not already know a lot about and creating an understanding of where we are today is such an important part of any historical month or cultural celebration. In the case of Black History Month, I think recognizing the impact of historical injustices can help tell the story of why we are where we are today. I learned that in listening to one of our team members talk about going to a lynching museum. Listening to her experience and trying to put myself in her shoes had a profound impact on me. How can our people lean in to inclusion and diversity at DHG? And why should they lean in?
Everyone can play a part
Kevin: I think our people can lean into our I&D journey by cultivating a spirit of curiosity and maintaining an open mind to explore something new and fresh. It’s also having an awareness of what may be important to someone else. I think with our clients and with our general approach, we must really bake I&D into the DNA of our organization. Building behaviours out of inclusive values, that’s really important from a whole person perspective. We want to inspire our people to live an inclusive mindset all of the time, not just during the hours they’re at DHG.
Matt: Thinking about the Firm of the Future (DHG’s ongoing journey to be high trust and high performing), what do you think inclusion and diversity will look like at DHG in 5 years?
Kevin: If you think about it, the Firm of the Future is tomorrow, it’s Monday and Tuesday, and so on. So our steps today are vital in delivering that inclusive workplace that respects every ounce of diversity that we bring to the firm and beyond. It’s important to know that diversity will continue to evolve, so we have to be proactive and prepared in our approach. In five years, hopefully less time than that, inclusion and diversity will be engrained into our organizational DNA. It will be second nature in all that we do and we will be the industry leader in terms of delivering an inclusive workplace. I think we should all strive to be an “anti” person, not a “not” person. What I mean by that is it’s not enough to say that you’re not exclusive, you should be anti-exclusive. The goal is to instil the courage in everyone to address something that’s not welcomed in our workplace. So if you’re anti whatever it is, you don’t sit on the sidelines blindly, you address it properly. It’s important that we all take an active part in fostering our inclusive environment.
Matt: As we continue to learn more in the I&D space, what resources would you recommend we explore?
Kevin: There are great resources out there from fantastic thought leaders in the I&D space, but for me, I think the greatest resource to really grow your I&D mindset is the person sitting right next to you. We have an infinite number of resources at DHG that we can learn from. Learn from someone who may look differently from you, or someone who may think differently than you. Be inquisitive and use that person as a resource. I like to bring up the example of introverts and extroverts, particularly introverts in meetings. A lot of folks aren’t asking the introvert, “What do you think?” Grow outside of your shell and find an opportunity to say, “I know you didn’t say a whole lot in the meeting, but I know you have a lot going on in your mind. What are your thoughts?”
You could pull up a book right now that would detail how to fly an airplane, but there is nothing in the book that is going to replace the experience of actually being in the airplane. You’re going to have your hand on the yoke and the throttle, you operate with muscle memory, but there are so many other things that you’re going to experience that a book can’t begin to convey. What does it feel like to see traffic off your right wing that you weren’t expecting? What does it feel like to hit an air pocket? A book doesn’t cover that. There’s no substitute for actual, real world learning. A book may be able to tell you how to interact with someone who may be different from you, but there’s no substitute for the fire and the passion you see in someone’s eye for something that may be really important to them.
Matt: Thank you for sharing your perspective with us. You are exactly right- the Firm of the Future is sooner than we think and leaning in will be key to our success. Change starts today…and it begins with each of us. Lean in. Be the change!