21 Jan How to Make a Difference on MLK Day
It’s MLK Day. Our social media feeds are full of photo quotes. Many of us have the day off and are not exactly sure how to use it. Some of us are planning to attend events. The common theme here is that we want to do more. Whether you are in the office or at home today, if you want to truly show the world your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), honoring the legacy of MLK; I have a meaningful challenge for you. Spend a few minutes today conducting a DEI work and life audit. Get your pen and paper handy and read on.
DEI has become more important than ever in our personal and professional lives. As I wrote in Coaching Your Way to Success, organizations still struggle to support the inclusion, growth and development of diverse employees. Many organizations have diversity strategies and commitments but, many times, these statements are developed without the input of employees. They feel too artificial and high-level. They are usually just a start.
Conversely, personal commitments go a long way. We have control over them and they represent the professionals that we want to be. Many of us want our personal and professional DEI strategies to be aligned. So how can you evaluate the extent to which you are truly embracing diversity, equity and inclusion in your work and life?
1. Write down your core values from a DEI standpoint. Examples of these values can include: authentic connections, championing, advocacy, transparency, honesty, belonging, psychological safety and respect. The list goes on and on. What are your top three?
If you are stuck, start by jotting down your passions when it comes to DEI. Or ask yourself this question: “What actions did you see from others that you admired?” Your values will quickly become clear.
2. Evaluate the extent to which your work and personal actions are aligned with your DEI personal values. Go back six months. What are specific examples of how you displayed these values in the workplace? In your personal life? What are some actions that you took that went against your values? How far did you push yourself? Did you have clarity or did you feel you were all over the place? On a scale from 1-10, how did you do?
3. Write down your values-aligned DEI goals for 2019. What actions can you take to increase your personal rating? How can you increase your quality of interactions? How can you integrate your personal DEI values with organizational ones?
This activity goes beyond one day and it will only work if your periodically revisit it throughout the year. As MLK would say “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Let’s all do better in 2019!