With an inclusiveness blueprint, you are well on the way to creating the inclusive organization that you collectively envisioned. Assuming that the steps you outlined in your blueprint will lead to deep changes in your organization, the work will further reinforce inclusiveness in your organization.
For example, as you begin to make changes in personnel and personnel policies, other changes will naturally follow, perhaps within the way your program department reaches out to prospective clients.
It is also important that you remain vigilant about sustaining a commitment to inclusiveness. Organizational cultures do not change quickly and, over time, you may encounter a tendency to become complacent about inclusiveness issues.
To keep a strong commitment to inclusiveness over the long run, be sure that the inclusiveness blueprint remains a vibrant, relevant document over the coming years.
A Commitment at Every Level of the Organization
It is very important that you develop mechanisms to guarantee that a commitment to inclusiveness remains even when leadership changes occur. This is one of the reasons it is so important that work around inclusiveness be done at every level of the organization.
As we have learned throughout this workbook, it is imperative that the CEO/executive director of the organization have a commitment to inclusiveness. Of course, CEOs/executive directors come and go, and with them, a commitment to inclusiveness can also come and go. That's why each new CEO/executive director an organization hires should have a commitment to inclusiveness and be aware of the organization's work. The only way to ensure that is to develop a lasting commitment to inclusiveness within the board of directors, which is responsible for hiring the CEO/executive director. In addition, the board needs to have an ongoing commitment to inclusiveness since board members set policies and priorities that relate directly to inclusiveness. Your organization may choose, when hiring a CEO/executive director in the future, to include a statement in the job description about the need for candidates to have a commitment to inclusiveness.
In addition to the CEO/executive director and board of directors, the other staff in the organization should have an ongoing commitment to inclusiveness. Staff members, of course, have the primary responsibility for implementing the goals that come out of the inclusiveness blueprint. They are also likely to have the most direct and ongoing contact with constituents of color. Staff members will likely have successes and failures implementing the blueprint goals that should influence future decisions in relation to inclusiveness. Thus, staff members also need to be involved in the ongoing implementation and evaluation of the inclusiveness blueprint.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
A critical element of any kind of effective transition is to make sure that people are communicating with each other. Inclusiveness work is no exception. As you evolve as an organization, be sure that any kind of organizational change (such as a change in policy or a new program) is communicated throughout the organization.
If people understand what is happening, when it is happening, and why it is happening, they are less likely to resist change.
Moreover, if people understand what, when, and why, they are more likely to support changes to create a more inclusive organization and to take an active role in making change happen.
In addition, give people opportunities to talk about their positive experiences as a result of the inclusiveness initiative and about anything that they find challenging. Such opportunities can help diminish negative feelings and resistance to change among people who have anxiety about how the process personally affects them.
Make an Ongoing Commitment to Internal Education
By now, you may have already begun (or even completed) an inclusiveness training curriculum. As your organization matures, it will hire new staff members and bring on new board members who should also go through some kind of training and education program related to inclusiveness. In addition to ongoing training and education, try to find other ways to educate people in your organization about issues of race and ethnicity.
For example, you may want to have an ongoing film series or book group that looks at different cultures. You might also wish to collect newspaper clippings about current local events that affect communities of color. Another idea is to have a current events brown-bag luncheon that focuses on how current events affect different cultures - e.g., in what ways does U.S. policy in the Middle East have an impact on different racial/ethnic groups and race, religious, and cultural relations?
If you follow the steps outlined here, you will increase the likelihood that your organization will institutionalize a lasting commitment to inclusiveness at every level.
- Step 1: Creating Structure
- Step 2: Consultants/Training
- Step 3: Making the Case
- Step 4: Gathering Info
- Step 5: Creating a Blueprint
- Step 6: Implementing the Blueprint
- Sample Documents
- Next Steps for Your Organization