Our guest, organizational scientist Jerlando F. L. Jackson, Ph.D., lives by the mantra, “Organizations are made up of people. It is the people and their decision-making that we want to change.”
The Vilas distinguished professor of higher education and the director and chief research scientist of Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jackson starts off the show by defining the difference between “diversity” and “inclusion.”
Diversity, he says, includes the full spectrum of human differences, such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic situation and political beliefs. He also says it’s valuable to consider lifestyles, family composition and education level.
“Inclusion is very different,” he explains. “It is not simply compiling a list of diverse characteristics, but rather an ability to cultivate a sense of community. An inclusive organization promotes and sustains a sense of belonging. It values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs and backgrounds as well as the ways of living” of its customers and staff members.
The magic comes from committing to both diversity and inclusion, according to Jackson. “When an organization commits to diversity and inclusion, it manifests itself through a bold mission, strategic priorities and high impact practices to support a diverse workplace and leverage the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive advantage with a highly skilled workforce and a capacity to relate to the full spectrum of customer.”
What’s the first step if you’re thinking of launching a D&I program at your CU? Jackson recommends an assessment of your culture and readiness.
In the show, Jackson also provides: five ways you’ll benefit from prioritizing D&I; five roadblocks you’re likely to encounter when launching a D&I initiative; and three powerful statements worth considering about D&I.