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Professional Development

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5 Things That Matter in Planning for Effective DEIB Training

For anyone who says diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) trainings are ineffective and counterproductive, as someone who has facilitated across dozens of organizations big and small, corporate, nonprofit and educational, here is a non-definitive list of things to consider:

Size matters: In the virtual world, groups up to 30-35 tops can thrive. Beyond that, the work loses coherence and meaning. It becomes a seminar, a lecture—something that people who abhor that learning modality will tune out.

Power matters: If the leaders aren't in the room, modeling curiosity and vulnerability, no one else should be expected to. Likewise, if people are in a space with a manager they don't trust and who may be the secret source of toxicity, they will disengage and resist. I would.

Relationships matter: Putting people who don't work together and have no meaningful relationship with one another in a learning environment that, by its nature, requires risk and vulnerability just because their schedules align is a terrible idea. Don't do it. It may be efficient and cost effective but it will lead to a backfire effect. Instead, organize people by affinity, team or role. Make sure people have some stake in showing up for one another.

Having an actual plan matters: If in 2021 you are bringing in consultants for DEIB training without any actual plan set against some performance indicators or at minimum practical commitments to change, the training will be seen by participants as a sham. Because it is.

Facilitators matter: I am darn good at what I do but what I do and the way I do it may not be for you. Equity practitioners are not fungible goods. Just like in any profession, there are people who have areas of expertise, people who resonate with your community, and people who are just flat out better at what they do. Choose wisely.

Contributed by Dax-Devlon Ross, Principal of Dax-Dev, a disruptive, equity venture and social impact consulting firm and author of the recently published book, Letters to My White Male Friends.

Photo courtesy of Allison Shelley for EDUimages.