How to advise leaders around D&I issues

How and what to share with leadership when it comes to DE&I.

  • There’s pressure to comment right away on social media when a big event occurs. Don’t jump in unless you have something authentic or valuable to share.
  • Sharing a generic, vague statement without any kind of planned action is useless.
  • Pause and resist senior leaders’ urge to comment right away or meaningless, muddled statements of general “support.” People are sophisticated and more demanding.
  • Use this moment to look inward. Ask: Are we as good as we think we are? Identify specific ways you can realistically improve DE&I efforts.
  • There’s so much “We don’t know where to start” right now. Statements are fine, but meaningful actions are what matter now.
  • Find the baseline of where you’re at on DE&I issues. People must feel free to express themselves. It must be safe and easy to do so. Step 1 is listening to people and how they’re feeling.
  • Leaders often don’t have a good handle on how employees are actually feeling. There’s a major disconnect with leaders, who often think things are better than they are. This is why you must gather raw, honest feedback.
  • CEOs often have thin skin, but they also have egos. You can make them think a new project is their good idea.
  • Speak to execs in business terms. Prove the business case of why DE&I matters, with hard data and measurement.
  • It’s OK if you’re part of a slow-moving ship that doesn’t move quickly. Use your voice to push for change—even if it seems small. Celebrate incremental change and progress.
  • Be willing to press execs: “What are we actually going to be doing?”

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