Diversity and inclusion are two buzz words in many industries because businesses pledge to be committed to these concepts and interest groups for the under- and unrepresentated demand more be done to promote diversity and inclusion.
But what happens when a diversity and/or inclusion initiative a company or organization implements is forced and not organically created?
I posit that one possible outcome is push back or resistance from those within the organization and even from those on the outside looking in.
It’s common to see criticism of diversity and inclusion from people in groups that are traditionally represented. They are skeptical and are wary of diversity and inclusion and usually have been fortunate to be able to be oblivious to the absence of diversity and have always been comfortable everyone in their industry looks like them, or come from a similar cultural background and so they don’t see absence of diversity as an issue. The opposite is true in that a lot of these naysayers insist that everything in their industry is based on meritocracy. To a lot of them, everything else is unnatural, artificial and unnecessary.
Typically, they also harbor resentment towards beneficiaries of diversity and inclusion efforts and think of them as undeserving.
When the resistance comes from the top, you may see self-sabotage in the form of underfunding, underdeveloping or under-committing to the diversity and inclusion initiatives that they launch.
The result of lacklaster or tepid approach to diversity is that they are a set up to failure. Then when failure occurs, those who were initially resistant anyway can then use the excuse that they tried but the market or interest wasn’t there. It’s cyclical and an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I can think of three recent examples that represent this illustration theory and I discuss in my latest 10-minute podcast.
When Diversity and Inclusion efforts and initiatives are not necessarily organic but come as a result of community pressure, the powers that be who hail from the majority may not dedicate adequate resources, funding, development or commitment to these success. A lot of the effort is window-dressing to appease the masses without putting in the work to achieve true success.