Now that we are several months after such events as the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, my hope is we've moved past using the initial reactions and statements like the above when communicating with our members. Instead, my hope is you've moved from emotions to ACTION!
While ACTION is the focus, you have to be cautious not to develop programming without a plan. "Knee-jerk” initiatives for diversity, inclusion, belonging, equality and equity could lead to creation in isolation and often without the input of key stakeholders or tied to measurable results. Although you want to be perceived as reactive, don't over prioritize speed and thereby create a non-sustainable plan without the longevity so greatly needed.
Yes, step one of a well-meaning, measurable plan is to PLAN the plan using the below suggestions! Many have heard the saying, "if you fail to PLAN, you PLAN to fail." With something this important and timely, associations do not have the bandwidth or resources to spend reworking or undoing an underdeveloped action plan. Instead, let’s take the time to think through each step so we can all achieve the end goal – a diverse, inclusive association where all staff, volunteers and members feel they truly belong!
So what’s the first step in the development of this strategic diversity and inclusion plan? It will sound like an oxymoron, and I think you can see the theme here, but the first step is to ... PLAN!
Ask questions like the ones below to come to a consensus within your association to determine the plan's purpose:
- Is the plan to develop a common language and focus?
- Is the plan being developed to create a culture of accountability on issues of diversity, inclusion, belonging, equality and equity?
- Are you inviting individual and collective responsibility for these issues through the development of the plan?
As you PLAN you need to establish guiding principles. These principles should also include a discussion on the timeline, from development to publication of the final document.
Ask these questions to help set guidelines for your plan:
- How will you approach the process of creating the plan?
- Will there be a set structure in place?
- Will the plan be created by leadership or a committee?
- Will an outside consultant be brought in for any element of the development, for example during the data collection period?
- Who are the key internal and external stakeholders that should be engaged along the plan’s development and at which stages?
For a deeper dive into the topic of diversity and inclusion, register for Recognizing and Neutralizing Bias on September 14.