Unlocking the Power of Difference in Teams and Workplaces

on Apr 13, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Business Inclusion
It is baked into our DNA to be afraid of difference. Our reptilian brain says, “run!” or “fight!” when we encounter someone who doesn’t fit into our expected mold. But here’s the thing…we’re better than that. We don’t have to listen to our animal instincts. We’re sophisticated beings who can do incredible things, and we’ve come a long way from the days when our “fight or flight” instinct governed our lives. It’s time (past time, in fact) we stop fearing differences and embrace them. We live in a world filled with differences. It’s important to understand how those differences can be utilized to create stronger teams and better workplaces. Through differences, including but not limited to race, gender, ability, thought, and perspectives, teams and organizations can become stronger, more vibrant, and more successful. Let’s choose to get curious, to inquire, and to use difference to our advantage. Here are 5 ways difference makes a difference.
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8+ Problematic Phrases in the Workplace (and 8+ Alternatives)

on Mar 30, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Race Business Communication Inclusion
Workplaces are filled with jargon and catchphrases. In recent years, we’ve been inundated with “synergy” and “thinking outside the box,” while being asked to “pick the low-hanging fruit.” Those phrases might be overused (or even annoying!), but they’re harmless enough. But sometimes a phrase is not harmless. Sometimes it belittles certain groups of people, whether the speaker realizes it or not. We all have a responsibility when it comes to language. Just like when we were little kids learning about “inappropriate words” we shouldn’t say at school, so, too, must we have the humility to unlearn some of the harmful phrases that have crept into workplace lexicon over the years. If we do not make an effort to banish these phrases from our vocabulary, we run the risk of marginalizing others. These turns of phrase can be viewed as micro-aggressions (defined as statements or actions that––while sometimes well-intended––can be offensive because of the subtle ways they denigrate others), and these micro-aggressions can add up quickly and create a hostile work environment for all involved. To start creating a more welcoming and inclusive environment, it’s important to banish the following 8+ phrases from your speech. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, and if you’re unsure about a certain term or phrase, it’s best to look it up to see if it has a problematic connotation.
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4 Metrics to Measure and Improve Workplace Inclusion

on Mar 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Culture Business Inclusion metrics
Chances are, your workplace tracks and measures many different things. It may track the effectiveness of its advertising, or the profitability of a certain product, or how many days of PTO its employees usually take each year. These metrics help guide the organization to make crucial decisions for the future—decisions that could affect its bottom line. So, why don’t we place this kind of emphasis on inclusivity? Some might argue that terms like diversity, equity, and inclusion are too hazy to measure. How is it possible to gauge inclusion? What does that look like? What metrics can you possibly use? This week, let's discuss 4 ways to measure workplace inclusion.
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No More Performative Allies: 7 Empty Actions to Avoid

on Mar 2, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Business Authenticity allyship
True allyship isn’t always easy. Using one’s privilege to support the rights of a marginalized group can involve “uncomfortable” actions such as acknowledging shortcomings, broadening one’s perspectives, conducting research or continuing education, and working hard (and continuously) to enact meaningful change. It’s far easier (and far too common) for people to play at allyship, especially in the workplace. Company leaders may say or do things that are merely performative or take actions that mean relatively little in the scheme of things. Performative allyship is like a prop kitchen on the set of a sitcom. At first glance, the set looks like a real kitchen, but if you tried to use it, you’d discover the water doesn’t run, the oven won’t bake, and the refrigerator won’t keep your food cold. All of the cupboards are merely shells, without any actual drawers or shelving. In short, the kitchen—like performative allyship—may look good, but it’s fairly useless in terms of functionality. Here are seven empty actions of performative allies—things people do (or say) with the intention of appearing to be allies, but which won’t make a meaningful difference in the lives of marginalized people.
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8 Black Entrepreneurs Making an Impact

on Feb 16, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Diversity Impact Business Entrepreneur
It’s Black History Month—a well-intentioned time of year that can, unfortunately, be used as a “free pass” to gloss over Black people and our history for the other 11 months of the year (see my blog post on Using Black History to Propel the Future for more). Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that Black innovation and changemaking do not solely belong to the past—to history. Today, Black people are making waves and making strides in many industries and roles. According to NBC News, Black-owned businesses have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing by an incredible 38 percent from February 2020 to August 2021. Let’s celebrate Black Present (instead of History) today by spotlighting 8 incredible entrepreneurs.
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6 Ways DEI Initiatives Make a Lasting Impact

on Feb 9, 2023 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Impact Business Inclusion DEI Consultant
We’re in the second week of Black History Month in the United States. While it can be valuable to shine a spotlight on the amazing accomplishments of Black historical figures, activists, entrepreneurs, and other changemakers, it can also feel like checking a box. “Great, we celebrated Black history! Now let’s move on…” As an organization, it’s certainly fine to acknowledge Black History Month, but don’t let a single month offset the rest of the year! It’s not enough to send out a few inspirational quotes from famous Black leaders or mention Black history in a company newsletter. Instead, organizations should strive to create lasting, meaningful change all year long. One of the best ways to do this is by investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives (which we’ve discussed often on my blog). DEI initiatives not only help diversify the workplace, but also create a more inclusive environment for all employees, regardless of race, gender, and other factors. Keep in mind, this isn’t about ticking items off a list. True DEI-centered actions are company-wide, leadership-driven, and long-lasting. If your organization is truly committed to DEI work, incredible transformations can take place. Here are 6 ways DEI initiatives make an impact...
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4 Steps to DEI New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace

on Dec 29, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | Plan Business goals Inclusion Equity
Another year is upon us, and that prompts many people to create New Year’s Resolutions (or goals, or objectives) for the year ahead. Even though we’re really just turning the page of the calendar, the psychological effects of the New Year are real. People feel like they have a clean slate, and a chance to head in a new direction. This phenomenon is known as the fresh start effect. This concept claims that “people are better at tackling their goals when they start on so-called temporal landmarks.” A temporal landmark might be the first day of the year, the first of the quarter, or a Monday morning. There is some debate about whether the fresh start effect is a help or a hindrance, but one thing’s for certain: the effect is real. There’s a reason gym attendance increases by 20 percent at the beginning of a new year! How can you use the fresh start effect to create momentum around your work’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices? Try the following 4 steps:
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4 Ways to Effectively Lead a Multi-Generational Team

on Nov 3, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | leadership Business Communication Teamwork
In today’s workforce, it’s possible for five different generations to work alongside one another. Baby Boomers (born between approximately 1946 and 1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Millennials (1981-1995) comprise the bulk of the workforce, while the Traditionalists (aka The Silent Generation, 1922-1945) and Generation Z (1996-2015) make up a smaller sliver. With people living and working longer, this blended workforce is new and unique. A multi-generational workforce can be a boon to businesses. When people of different ages effectively collaborate, that can result in more innovations and creativity, stronger brand-building, greater inclusivity, and knowledge sharing. However, multi-generational workplaces can also be a breeding ground for conflict and misunderstandings. A report by AARP reveals that “60 percent of workers report the presence of generational conflict in their workplace.” This conflict might be caused by differences in communication, values, goals, culture, or more. As a leader, how can you minimize conflict and effectively lead a multi-generational team? Try the following four approaches:
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4 Ways to Develop Underrepresented Talent

on Jul 14, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 0 Comments | HR Diversity Hiring Business
Whether consciously or not, certain people are often unsupported in their professional development. A company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts should not stop with recruiting a diverse set of people. Rather, it is crucial to nurture diverse talent and provide equal opportunities and support systems for traditionally underrepresented individuals to advance. Why nurture traditionally underrepresented talent?
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4 Dangers of Groupthink (and how to avoid them)

on May 19, 2022 9:00:00 AM By | Deanna Singh | 1 Comment | Diversity meeting Business Communication
Picture yourself in a team meeting. One of the more vocal team members proposes a strategy to address a current problem, and everyone nods and agrees without question. The team doesn’t consider other options or examine potential issues with the proposed strategy. No one voices an alternative idea. Instead, everyone moves on. This is an example of groupthink. In essence, groupthink involves making a decision as a group without much critical thought, discussion, feedback, or dissention. This term was coined in the 1950s, but was popularized by psychologist Irving Janis, who published a book called Groupthink in 1972 (revised in 1982). Chances are, you’ve experienced some form of groupthink.
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