Shared language is more powerful than most people realize. With that, it is good practice to start your DEI initiative with a conversation about what DEI signifies to each of your team members as individuals and how your organization intends to define it.
So ask each other:
- What does DEI stand for?
- What does it feel and look like to be part of a team that values DEI?
- How will we know if we are making progress in becoming more diverse, equitable, and inclusive?
Then, as a team, share common definitions of DEI and create a common understanding of what DEI means to your organization as you embark on cultivating it.
One set of definitions could be:
- Diversity: Representation from a range of human characteristics, especially those that have historically been sources of disparity (including but not limited to protected categories)
- Equity: When all individuals have equal access to opportunities to grow to their full potential
- Inclusion: An environment in which all voices are heard and valued and all people feel it is safe to be themselves
But don’t just take these definitions and adopt them as your own! Practice strong listening skills and take the time to understand each other’s definitions, then come to a common understanding of these terms so you can move forward from the same starting point.