Diversity & Inclusion: More Than a Women’s Movement

you-x-ventures-4-iZ147pSAE-unsplashFairness, justice, and opportunities for all are values that I believe resonate in the hearts of most people regardless of their profession. Aren’t these some of the founding principles upon which America was built? Unfortunately, despite the best intentions, life is not fair, never was, and likely never will be, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep striving to make those values come alive in our businesses. Who isn’t inspired to support women who want to put their passion, skills, and talents to work in industries primarily served by men? I don’t think many would disagree that it’s only fair to afford women these opportunities.

Although we may agree on what the vision should look like, we may have different ideas on the best way to bring that ideal to fruition. Media, journals, conferences, and LinkedIn are aflutter with talk about Diversity and Inclusions (D&I) with named women’s groups promoted as the steps toward bringing awareness and action. These women’s initiatives are started by both industry societies and individual companies who are trying to support women.

As I wrote in What Role Do Men Have in Women’s Movements, any women’s initiative in a male-led industry that excludes men risks underserving its mission by eventually becoming a social outlet versus a sustainable empowering program. Why? Because when one sex holds the power, there are only two ways that power can be distributed: (1) those in power willingly sharing it and (2) the underserved taking it forcefully through legislation, guilt, bribery, or punishment.

Feminism, Affirmative Action, and the Me Too initiatives were all social and/or legislated initiatives that used some level of force to change the relationships between men and women. Although these approaches had positive outcomes, they also created unintended consequences such as resentment, fear, hiding, and hoarding, and are not fully sustainable when the applied pressure is released. A more sustainable approach to equalizing power is to encourage men to voluntarily share it.

I readily admit that we live in a world where many people are working towards accumulating power, so why would they give it away? Because some men are not primarily motivated by power and are willing to spread it around. How can this be achieved? By inviting men to participate in the process. Not only will men help build momentum, they’ll be able to help work through the guaranteed roadblocks.

My recommendation to women’s groups, who are trying to promote women in male-dominated industries, is to carefully think about strategy. Men don’t necessarily want to give support to a small defined cause, they prefer to donate their time, money, and influence to win a movement. Men want to get behind a vision that is bigger than themselves. As a business strategist, I would minimize any labels that make it appear as a women’s only initiative and give it a bigger appeal that would naturally be more inviting to men.

Putting energy into promoting a label of “diversity and inclusion” appeals to men, because it implies they are part of its movement. Men need to be included in the group for it to be diversified. Ask for their direct participation to help create more opportunities for women. Men will feel more comfortable claiming they are part of a “diversity and inclusion” movement versus a “women’s” movement.

In the end, aren’t women seeking a business environment that reflects diversity and inclusion? If this is true, call it that from the start. You may be thinking, “you say po-ta-toe, and I say po-tot-o, but it’s the same thing.” At its core, the objectives are the same, but a movement needs a good cause as well as a good marketing plan to engage the audience and get them to say yes. Don’t underestimate the power of marketing to advance women in traditionally male-led industries such as chemicals, oil & gas, high tech, and security.

Would love to hear comments from both men and women on this approach to a very current hot topic.

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com


Ask Your Coach: Right-Sized E-Coaching Services

Sandra The Peoples Coach Rev 2

Why do people and teams hire coaches? Because they want to get better and win!

Shine Crossings offers an “email” and “small call” service that gives you access to an experienced coach when you need it most. Perfect for when you want a different perspective, bounce ideas off a professional, brainstorm options, and come up with your next steps in conversation with a trusted partner.

Do you have an issue in one or more of these areas: (1) managing teams, direct reports, and your boss, (2) job and career, (3) leadership, (4) financial decisions, (5) sales, (6) relationships and marriage, and (7) business strategy. You can get these services by enrolling in the “Ask Your Coach” monthly subscription, which gives you up to 60 minutes of email and call time. Think 15 to 30-minute calls a few times a month.

The introductory price for this new service is $99/month. Have a coach at your fingertips. The outcome of one coaching conversation can influence the success of your next decision. If you’d like to learn more, check out the FAQs. If you’d like to subscribe, reach out to me at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or 281.793.3741.

Ask Your Coach FAQs

  1. How do your coaching services work?

With your paid monthly subscription, you get up to 60 minutes of call or email time per month to use in whatever way you need. Get perspective, ideas, and recommendations on topics covering leadership, team building, job, career, finances, relationships, parenting, and marriage. The only area that I don’t coach on is health, fitness, and wellness.

  1. How do I contact you to use the services?

You can either send me an email with your question or topic and let me know whether you want an email response or call.  You can also text me to set up a mutually agreed to time to talk. My time to provide feedback to your email question or with you on a call counts toward your coaching subscription time.

  1. Are our written and verbal conversations confidential?

Yes. If you want to subscribe, you will be emailed a simple contract that provides me with your contact information, addresses confidentiality between us, and outlines the fee structure. Once we both sign the contract, we can begin your coaching.

  1. How do I pay?

Three days before the start of your monthly subscription, you will receive a PayPal invoice to your email account. Simply pay the invoice by credit card and you’re set for the month. You will be put on an automatic monthly invoicing schedule with no credit card on file. When you no longer want the services, don’t pay the invoice.

  1. Is there a minimum monthly commitment?

No. It’s a pay as you go plan, one month at a time.

  1. What happens if I decide I want more coaching services than 60 minutes per month?

We’ll have a conversation to determine your needs and adjust your plan. If the email/short call structure works for you, and you want access to more minutes, we’ll adjust the monthly subscription price. If you want to focus in depth on a specific issue, we can set up a face-to-face or video call to do a deep dive. Regular coaching services are billed at a minimum of 1 hour and prorated for additional minutes.

  1. How easy is it to get a hold of you when I need you for coaching?

For short calls, I try to schedule our call to take place within 36 hours of your contact. For emails, I usually respond in less than 24 hours. If I’m unavailable due to a vacation or business schedule, I notify subscriptions holders by email with blackout dates in advance.

  1. If I have further questions or want to enroll, what is my next step?

Send me an email at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or give me a call or text to 281.793.3741