Check out my latest Harvard Business Review article on The Necessary Journey.
How To Move From Promises to Results
Many organizations take big actions in the realm of DEI because of something they see another company do—such as publicly declaring themselves champions of people of color or setting an ambitious top-down DEI strategy across the firm. However, these grand stances usually fizzle out, leaving leaders frustrated and saying, “DEI work is too hard. It takes too long to see results.”
The fact is, DEI isn’t a short-term project, and a company making big moves before it has the right culture and structures in place is likely to fail, leaving marginalized employees and customers no better off and giving companies a reputation for hollow promises.
Academic research and the author’s experience working with firms on DEI strategy suggest that companies tend to follow predictable stages on their DEI journey. In this article, Georgetown professor and organizational psychologist Ella F. Washington describes the five stages: aware, compliant, tactical, integrated, and sustainable. She also includes questions for leadership teams to ask themselves. Understanding what stage your company is in can help you decide where to focus your energies most effectively and keep you from getting stuck