Employing diversity and inclusion consultants are required more often than consultants for other projects or interventions to secure success. Their remit will reach beyond change management to embark on true organizational transformation in the finest sense. We need our caterpillar to turn into a butterfly. There will be science, art, and a little magic.
Given the key areas covered by Diversity and Inclusion spanning: culture; race; ethnicity; disability; religious tolerance; spiritual beliefs; gender; transgender; intersex; generational; sexual orientation; identity etc. plus a host of psychological and emotional complexities associated with perception and behavioral change, such consultants must have the basics including:
- The ability to rapidly instill broad-reaching confidence and credibility, as impartial deep content experts with best-practice knowledge, to impart new skills and influence thinking;
- The ability to facilitate the drive to accomplish short-term goals while being a catalyst for change. Bringing fresh perspectives, viewpoints, and ideas whilst remaining flexible, objective, and independent;
- The ability to innovate and collaborate constructively to create buy-in and transfer ownership for future plans and commitments.
Given the subject matter of Diversity and Inclusion, at inception particularly, it would be naïve to believe even credible internal resources could handle the challenge. Infrequently are “prophets” accepted in their own towns. Even relatively independent HR personnel are seen as part of the existing models, institutions, and patterns. Initially, the “authority” to “preach” the new “doctrine” is paramount.
Employing Diversity and Inclusion consulting is therefore not at all about substituting for any internal existing inadequacies and shortcomings. There is the key issue of establishing the right understanding, foundation, and credibility before turning attention to training, development, and sustainability. People will need to see evidence of the “new creature” emerging before they begin to trust and believe there will be a difference going forward.
The underlying focus is therefore always on facilitating self-actualization and individual plans within the broader transformation framework. To achieve this lasting and meaningful conversion consultants focus on coaching and mentoring.
Not only will they elicit smart, distinct, and emotionally rich goals, but they will model and capacitate people to deeply introspect and self-discovery. Consultants will transfer related skills which will enable individuals and teams to broaden, develop and motivate each other to achieve improvements. Diversity and Inclusion consultants know we are only winning when we leverage the power and expertise that already exists in organizations such that they feel are liberated and enlightened.
These very specific coaching skills and qualities included cover: Listening; Questioning; Calming; Egoless; Building rapport; Empathizing; Summarizing; Reflecting; Intuiting; Checking; Focus; Non-Judgmental; Supportive; Challenging as well as looking to unlock limited beliefs.
On the Diversity and Inclusion journey, the best consulting will establish relationships between all involved. They will transcend partnering because the cornerstone of interactions has the more intimate touch of Coaching and Mentoring passion and excellence.
At Symmetra we are committed to assisting our clients to build inclusive leadership capability and embed an inclusive culture that will optimize performance and innovation. Our team comprises a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, and expertise, representing Symmetra across the globe on all continents, ensuring we bring a diversity of thought to every initiative.