Fine Tune Your LGBTQ Diversity & Inclusion Vision

Business leaders desire to create workplace cultures that celebrate innovation, drive productivity, and enhance profitability. Exceptional leaders understand that such cultures result from building diverse, inclusive and equitable workplaces. The most exceptional leaders embrace a new way of understanding diversity, in which they include staff differences, values, and ideas in decision-making, and then leverage those differences to produce competitive products and services. And yet, while managing diversity is a competitive necessity in the global marketplace, even the most seasoned leaders struggle with developing a clear diversity vision inclusive of LGBTQ people.

For those exceptional leaders eager to obtain a roadmap into what may seem like unchartered territory, look no further! This post shares a glimpse of the first step of the TEAMS Transformation Method™, a unique branded system my firm developed for executives, HR, and diversity professionals ready to transform their big ideas about LGBTQ diversity and inclusion into an executable plan. This method includes 1) tuning your D&I vision, 2) empowering your leadership team, 3) assessing the climate, 4) managing implementation, and 5) sustaining the change. With respect to the first step, I’ve shared five basic strategies necessary to fine tune your LGBTQ diversity & inclusion vision:

1.     Begin with Yourself. As a leader, you must first take a long hard look in the mirror, and ask two key questions: 1) Can you succinctly and persuasively explain to the resistant board member, senior partner, or even a junior staff as to why you wish to invest in LGBTQ D&I efforts for your organization, and 2) Are you comfortable role modeling diversity, inclusion, and equity practices within your organization? If you hesitated in enthusiastically answering yes to both questions, you’ll have some soul searching to do before advancing with this work, and that’s absolutely okay. Successful leaders are those that are self-aware, so absolutely take the time necessary to gain clarity on your own understanding of LGBTQ diversity, inclusion, and equity matters before pushing your organization to make diversity & inclusion investments.

2.     Clarify the Terms. After you have clarified what “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “equity” mean to you, you will then need to pivot and work with your leadership team, and your staff more broadly to develop a common understanding of what these terms mean for your organization, and why taking a closer look at LGBTQ diversity, inclusion, and equity is critical for competing in today’s global economy. Since these terms are used often in a variety of different contexts, they may seem loaded, and abstract. Write them down, along with working definitions that are developed by your entire team, and create a sense of ownership as to why these concepts are important when you consider your team’s identities, ideas, and experiences as they relate to LGBTQ talent.

3.     Create a Roadmap. While it may seem like unchartered territory, many business enterprises have already developed roadmaps for implementing their own diversity, inclusion, and equity vision statements, with many more joining the effort to gain a competitive advantage. Roadmaps that include clear goals, metrics to gather data and assess progress, and accountability measures are ones that will transform the way your organization recruits, retains, and develops LGBTQ talent. Such a transformation results in a workplace that values, includes, and leverages the diversity of LGBTQ talent to create an environment where everyone can bring their whole selves to work, ultimately increasing productivity, innovation, and the bottom line.

4.     Develop a Power Map. After you’ve clarified your vision and drafted your roadmap, it’s time to develop a power map. A power map offers a means to analyze power relationships within your organization, and cultivate a strategy for introducing organizational change. Power mapping is especially helpful when you are in need of senior leaders and other power brokers to serve as ambassadors promoting your LGBTQ diversity & inclusion vision and roadmap. With the power map, you’ll have a visual understanding of where these power brokers are positioned in your organization, and where they are capable of influencing other staff to commit to your vision and roadmap.

5.     Know When You’re Done. The first step of the TEAMS Transformation Method™ is complete when you are able to walk away from the process with a clear personal LGBTQ diversity & inclusion vision, and an organizational understanding on the importance of creating a welcoming culture for LGBTQ talent. You’ll also have a roadmap with clear organizational outcomes that will lead to increased productivity, innovation, and profits. Most importantly, this road map will be championed by those power brokers you’ve identified in your business power map. These power brokers have the potential of leveraging their position to influence those within their professional networks to embrace the inevitable organizational changes that come when trying to welcome new talent and ideas.                                                        

If you’re interested in learning more about fine tuning your LGBTQ diversity & inclusion vision, please be sure to save the date for Thursday, September 22 at 11 am PT/ 2 pm ET. I’ll be hosting a Q&A webinar focused on engaging LGBTQ talent, and going into more detail about this first step of the TEAMS Transformation Method™. In advance of the webinar, interested participants may share their opinions on the subject, all of which will help inform and guide the webinar discussion. Save your seat for this Q&A webinar today by visiting: http://www.rhodesperry.com/register.

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Rhodes Perry

Rhodes Perry is a nationally recognized expert on LGBTQ and social justice public policy matters, with two decades of leadership experience innovating strategy management, policy and program solutions for corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. At his core, Rhodes is an entrepreneur, where he most recently established Rhodes Perry Consulting, LLC, a national diversity and inclusion consulting firm that uses an intersectional approach to collaborate with leaders on creating solutions in the practice areas of strategy management, issue advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. Previously, Rhodes founded the Office of LGBTQ Policy & Practice at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, and prior to this assignment he served as the founding Director of Policy at PFLAG National where he led the policy strategy and advocacy efforts for the organization’s 350 chapters. He cut his teeth serving as a Program Examiner at the White House Office of Management & Budget, where he improved upon federal benefit programs designed to provide assistance to low-income communities. Rhodes earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame, and obtained a Master of Public Administration from New York University.