Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “I don’t much care where.”
Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.”
Alice: “So long as I get somewhere.”
Cheshire Cat: “Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.”
— “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” Lewis Carroll
How can you pick a road to somewhere when you don’t know where you’re going? How do you get “there” when you don’t know where “there” is?
Without direction, you and your team are adrift.
Unfortunately, this lack of clarity often leads organizations to approach DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) work as disjointed projects or initiatives, rather than a systemic, sustainable, and scalable effort.
We see this as DEI work being done as distinct projects or initiatives — cultural celebrations & observances, one-off trainings (e.g. unconscious bias), courageous conversations, targeted hiring — to name a few. Untethered to a strategic direction and lacking in rigor.
This lack of structure, more often than not, contributes to many employees experiencing your organization’s DEI initiatives as a “got to” — we HAVE to do this/are being made to do this.
The GOOD NEWS is that you get to change the “got to” to a “get to” — and it all starts with having a clear objective.
Your organizational MISSION creates FOCUS and answers the following questions:
Your mission tells clients and community what you do. And, it guides the everyday work of your employees.
Your organizational VALUES define BEHAVIOR and answer the following questions:
When upheld, your values are experienced both internally through employee interactions and externally by how stakeholders feel when dealing with us.
Your organizational VISION provides DIRECTION and answers the following:
Your vision is your North Star — it is WHY you are doing the work you do. The change you will make in the world because of what you do (mission) and how you do it (values). The WHY inspires.
So, why a DEI vision as well? For a number of reasons, there is often misalignment amongst your mission, vision and values. This lack of alignment can be experienced on a spectrum — at worst, a toxic work environment. At best, not walking your talk. Both will show up in a variety of ways as resistance to change — including DEI change.
Developing a DEI vision is one critical step in a strategy to create lasting, positive cultural change in your organization — where your unique organizational mission, vision and values are truly felt to be in alignment. When this is so, the cultural climate of the organization is experienced as a safe place to be, where people feel a sense of belonging, and where inclusive behaviour is the norm. These are the conditions in which diversity and equity will thrive, as well as the drive to meet the mission and vision of the organization.
DEI visioning allows you to leverage the inherent diversity of expertise, of experience, and of perspectives in order to get to your most innovative ideas about DEI development that make your organization distinctive in what you do, how you do it and why you do it. Your DEI roadmap — complete with goals and objectives — results from the North Star you envision.
Unlike Alice, you can choose to define where your DEI “somewhere” is, where you want to go.
You will create the road to get there — your path and the direction on that path. And, the walk will not be a lonely one when your DEI vision is created in a collaborative way that respects and embraces your organizational mission, vision, and values and inspires employees to “get to” be a part of both creating and reaching that North Star.
Do you want to learn more about how to create a DEI vision for your organization? In our 3‑week DEI Builder Program, we explore how to create better teams by leveraging DEI. Learn more about DEI Builder now.