This is the part of our website where we could overwhelm you with research showing the millions of dollars wasted by organizations each year on ineffective diversity training. We could go on a long rant about how in many -- if not most -- cases, diversity training actually makes the organizational climate worse (due to the fact that people dive into really difficult dialogues about ethnicity, gender, and other vitally important human differences without any dialogue skill training -- which is sort of like diving into brain surgery without any medical training). Or we could even give you a detailed analysis of why the latest trend in diversity training -- unconscious bias training -- hasn't yet sparked the revolution its proponents were hoping to see. But we're not going to do any of that. Instead, we're just going to give you a very brief introduction to our approach to the diversity training problem -- an approach that we happen to think is unique.
6 BIG IDEAS THAT MAKE DDC'S APPROACH UNIQUE:
1. Diversity programs get the right people into the organization, but inclusion is what keeps them there.
2. Most organizations mistake assimilation for inclusion: “Welcome to our organization! We look forward to helping you learn to think and behave like we do …"
3. Authentic inclusion requires mutual transformation: “Welcome to our organization! We look forward to how you’re going to help us learn to think and behave differently while you learn to think and behave differently …"
4. Mutual transformation requires constructive conflict: Way back in 1924, pioneer management expert Mary Parker Follett pointed out that "It is possible to conceive of conflict as not necessarily a wasteful outbreak of incompatibilities, but a normal process by which socially valuable differences register themselves for the enrichment of all concerned. " We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
5. Constructive conflict requires an open-handed approach to our own and others’ ideas. In other words, tight-fisted debate (with each of us desperately clinging to our own perspectives) isn't going to get us where we need to go -- if we really want inclusion, co-creative dialogue is the ticket. You see, the simple truth is that we can't intellectually and emotionally join hands until we each relax our grip on our own perspectives.
6. An open-handed approach to our ideas requires five specific behaviors of respectful engagement: Perspective-taking, Affirmation, I-messaging, Reflective listening, and Suspending judgment (PAIRS). These are the skills of conflict competence; they're the fuel that powers co-creative dialogue and they're the way of life of authentically inclusive organizations.