Lead With Inclusion

What is your vision for DEI in 2024?

January 10, 2024

Have you started your 2024 vision board yet?

I love creating vision boards. Fun fact, I’ve crafted one almost every year out of the last decade. They keep me on track, focused, motivated, and moving in the direction of my goals. But did you know that this same concept can be applied to your DEI goals? As we head into the new year, ask yourself: what is your vision for DEI?

Without a vision, what are we working toward? We’ve seen what can be at stake when organizations don’t take the time to set a clear plan around DEI, or when that plan is executed poorly (check out my past newsletters for examples here, here and here). This work is important. We’re at a point now where people are really paying attention, and not just from a performative stance. People don’t care as much about the black squares, the rainbow logos, or the pins that people are wearing. These things don’t hold as much meaning. People are really paying attention to where your dollars are going and who you’re supporting. In other words, people are really paying attention to actions. So, if you don’t have a plan for action, you may find yourself in some hot water. And that’s not a threat. It’s just a fact.

Rather than worrying about the possibility of finding yourself as the subject of an unsavory headline about a botched DEI initiative, you can use a few simple ideas to help you get clear on your DEI vision for this year – whether it’s for you as an individual or your organization as a whole.

Lead With Inclusion

While organizations have a responsibility to set clear goals around DEI, every single one of us can contribute to creating an inclusive workplace. How often do you, yourself, think about how your actions impact DEI on your team? How are you ensuring that other team members are being included? And – just as importantly – are you in a space where you feel like you’re being included? Are you in a space where you feel you belong?

If you’re answering those last couple of questions and having some big realizations, now might be the time to think about what this means for you. January is a notorious time for turnover and movement in organizations across all sectors (we could talk about this at length, but we’ll have to save that for another newsletter). The point is, it’s incredibly difficult to make meaningful DEI contributions in a void. If you, yourself, are not working within a team or organization that feels inclusive, start by determining what may need to change. What is needed for your space to be more inclusive? How can you contribute to that change? Only after you’re in a more inclusive space, can you start to think more about your own impact and how you can advance DEI goals for others.

Be an Inclusive Leader

What are your plans for advancing DEI in Q1? If you don’t have any Q1 plans yet, that’s a pretty solid sign that you’ve yet to develop a clear vision. If you’re still playing catch up from last year, that’s okay – as long as you’re working to establish clear goals to move your work forward. This may sound obvious, but the most important thing you need in order to develop a strong DEI vision is an understanding of why all of this should matter to you.

Back in November, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel webinar where we had a great conversation about managing toxic behavior. One of the things I was very adamant about is the fact that as managers and leaders, you have a responsibility to not only understand DEI, but also to embody it. And if you can’t do that, then you are in the wrong job. You may not want to hear it, but there’s a reason that you get paid a higher salary as a leader. There is a reason that you’re in this role managing other people. And if you can’t accept that responsibility, then you shouldn’t be in this job. That’s it. Period. If you want to be a manager, you can’t just take the salary and the title. You also have to take the responsibility, and you can’t have one without the other. Your DEI vision starts here – with this realization. Without this understanding, even the best laid plans are unlikely to achieve their desired outcomes.

If you’re reading all of this and thinking to yourself, but I don’t even know where to start, then you’ve come to the right place. If you don’t have a vision yet, let me support you. If you don’t know where to start, let’s talk. I was recently named one of the LA Times’ DEIA Visionaries in 2023, and that’s not an accolade that I take lightly. My job is to help you find, set, and achieve your vision. If you’re ready to get started, I’m just a click away. Follow this linkto get in contact with me today.

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