Equity & Leadership in Uncertain Times

Adapted from client and partner communication by partners at movingbeyond.co

Dear clients, partners and colleagues;

We are working daily in our response to COVID-19 with clients and want to share our thinking with you on the role of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in this time of chaos and turbulence.

By now, most of you are physically distancing and sheltering in-place, while also working harder than ever to ensure the survival of your organizations and continued employment of your staff. We at Moving Beyond have little doubt that COVID-19’s reach and consequences will have a lasting impact on our lives and forever alter how we work.

This moment is shining a light on the gross systemic inequities that exist at all levels. In this juncture, we more clearly see the interconnectedness, intersection and interdependence of people, planet, and our communities. Leaving anyone behind undermines all of us — this is the time to move forward together.

As we respond to the impact of COVID-19 on our organizations, communities, and families, it may feel less urgent to engage in DEI efforts. Some of you are new in your journey, others have been working for years; regardless, use this moment to plug into the equity conversation unfolding. We see an opportunity to put our core values to work, learn from peers, step up to work differently and influence the #futureofwork.

As you move forward, we invite you to deploy an equity lens in your decisions. Think of this as a pair of contact lenses, instead of a pair of glasses — what does it mean to consider equity at every step, in making tough choices that will have far reaching consequences for your organization and employees?

  1. Keep Learning

Tune into the compassion and resilience required from all of us in this moment to stretch yourself and commit to doing the personal work required to unite across differences. Continue to engage with podcasts, reading and conversations with peers. A few current favorites — The Slate, America is a Sham, Forbes Could coronavirus offer a silver linging for equity in the workplace?, Democracy Now Solidarity not Charity, and Braiding Sweetgass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

2. Gender and Racially Balanced-Teams

Many of you are in the midst of hard leadership decisions including layoffs and moving employees into standby unemployment. As you make a decision, ensure that the remaining teams are balanced. There’s never been a more important time to have a diversity of perspectives, skills, and ideas — it will help you survive and start strong when we work our way back out of the crisis. Be generous with those who are in-place to see the organization through this crisis — this can look like more adaptive workdays, or stipends for meals for individuals working around the clock.

3. Repurpose Time

Gone are the days for work travel and large, all-hands meetings, and training sessions. Use the time freed up to understand your organization’s ecosystem with respect to DEI (yes, you can successfully roll out an assessment or survey), have this time inform why DEI matters for your strategic bottom line, lean into the complexity of the moment and test bold implementable experiments that can build learning, and invest in weaving DEI in your leadership development curriculum.

The pandemic has brought to the forefront deep systemic inequities, and along with it, an opportunity to respond with an equity mindset. It is imperative that as leaders, you begin to shift organizations from a place of chaos towards complexity, build resilience, and respond to a crisis with strong diversity, equity and inclusion lens.

We are grateful for your colleagueship and thought partnership as we all take actions to recenter and get back in the fight. Moving Beyond is here to support you navigate the challenges brought on by uncertainty — we invite you to reach out for thought partnership and co-creating solutions.

Warmly,

Aparna and Jessica, Moving Beyond

Written by

Dreamer, Do-er, Dissent-er // All things women and girls, equity and innovation Co-Founder @futurefor_us & Moving Beyond

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