What would we gain by having more diversity and inclusion?

Humans detest loss.  It is called loss aversion.  That is why in times of change, we naturally focus on what we are losing vs. what we are gaining.  Diversity and inclusion represent change.  If our organization was already diverse and inclusive, there would not be a need to focus on it.  It would be the norm.  Yet, it is not.  Thus, the need for change.

Change can be hard.  As humans, we are wired to keep things the same.  It is safe.  Change requires effort and discomfort.  As an organization focused on this change, it is important to address loss aversion proactively.  That means asking a series of questions to dig into the question:  what would we gain by being more diverse and inclusive?

Rather than people focusing on what they might be losing with diversity and inclusion:

  • Loss of power
  • Loss of job or promotion
  • Loss of voice

This especially affects the majority group – those that are generally white, cisgender, male, straight, or able-bodied.  They fear they have something to lose with diversity and inclusion.  That those that identify outside of the majority group – those that are non-white, LGBTQ+, female, or with a disability – might somehow take their power, take their jobs or promotions unfairly, or steal influence in their voices being heard.

It is not a zero-sum game.  Those with power do not have to give up that power to others to achieve equality.  Diversity and inclusion is not a fight over pie slices.  It is an effort to make the pie bigger together.  We are stronger together.  When people with different backgrounds and experiences tackle challenges together, they overcome adversity and produce better outcomes.

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We all gain when we are all included.  Yet, we resist this positive change.  Humans are wired to protect their own self interests.  Think of the last time you went through a reorganization on your team.  What was the first thing you thought?

The answer…what is in it for me.  How does this impact ME?  It is called the WIIFM.  People need to see the benefits to change for themselves, for others, and for the organization overall to be able to support diversity and inclusion as allies.

Refocus the conversation around the benefits and the WIIFM and the conversation changes.  Ask questions like:

  • How would you benefit from this change?
  • How would our team improve?
  • What are the positive impacts to our organization

Still not sure where to start the diversity and inclusion conversation?  I have more ideas.

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