Unlocking Success: 3 Reasons Why DEI Should Focus on Relationship Building

Nov 01, 2023
3 Reasons Why DEI Should Focus on Relationship Building

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives are an important ally for organizational growth. The challenge for many leaders is how to move beyond good intentions and buzzwords and create actual change. Leaders are best served by taking a  measured thoughtful approach instead of a rush to check off diversity quotas and hoping for the best.

To truly make a difference, DEI must evolve beyond surface-level measures. At its core, effective DEI revolves around the skill of building and nurturing relationships. In this post we will take a closer look into why leaders should prioritize DEI as a means of relationship building and explore the potential benefits.

  1. Tide that Lifts All Boats

When a leader sees DEI through the lens of building and nurturing strong relationships, DEI becomes a pathway to improved productivity, a healthy and happy workplace, more innovation, collaboration, and market share. This relationship perspective molds a leader who not only values diverse perspectives but actively seeks them out. An organizational culture that nurtures diversity through strong relationships takes the organization to a new level.

For instance, consider Google's TextFX, an AI generative language product created in collaboration with Lupe Fiasco. This innovation caters to rappers, writers, and wordsmiths, expanding their creative horizons. 

The willingness to develop a relationship with someone with a different point of view opened an opportunity for Google’s A.I. efforts that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. The internal team working on this was presented with an opportunity to bring their complete selves to a project and the result is brilliant. 

Think about the competitive edge Google is creating by adding more diverse inputs into their A.I. efforts. By being intentional about including all that the full human tapestry has to offer, one can only imagine what they will accomplish in A.I.  

So, the lesson is clear: embracing diversity and fostering strong relationships can lead to innovation that reaches untapped markets. Increased revenue can generate more jobs and investment in human capital. There's enough to go around, and by tapping into our full human potential, there's virtually no limit to what we can achieve together. 

  1. Makes Better People

Creating a diverse and inclusive environment isn't about expecting perfection from everyone. Instead, it's about cultivating essential qualities like empathy, open-mindedness, and a caring attitude toward those around us. When leaders commit to a culture that prioritizes strong relationships for the sake of true DEI, they nurture an environment where people can thrive as their authentic selves.

In such an environment, employees don't feel compelled to commit harmful acts in the name of self-preservation. Instead, they can focus on personal and professional growth, fostering a work environment where everyone can bring their best to the table.

  1. Get an Edge on Your Competition

Imagine a sports team that refuses to recruit outstanding players or hire brilliant minds solely because of their differences in color, gender, or language. Such a stance would be a significant detriment to their success.

Similarly, in the corporate world, being open to hiring the best talent regardless of their background is a winning strategy. Organizations that prioritize merit over bias will inevitably outperform those that resist change.

In essence, DEI isn't just a moral imperative; it's also a smart business strategy. Companies that invest in understanding how to nurture relationships for their DEI efforts will reap benefits far beyond what their competition can achieve.

In conclusion, DEI should be about more than just quotas and intentions. By making it a foundation for relationship building, leaders can drive innovation, create a nurturing work environment, and gain a competitive edge in their industries. Ultimately, the potential for growth and success knows no bounds when diverse perspectives are welcomed, valued, and integrated into every facet of an organization.

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