The First Five Steps to Take as a DEI Leader- Part 3

In Blog, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion by Erika Powell

This “First Five Steps to Take as a DEI Leader” series explores how you can set yourself up for both short and long-term success by laying out the first five steps to take in your first 90 days of starting a new DEI role. So that you get off to a strong start, the top five areas we recommend you focus on during this time are:

  1. Make Your Presence and Role Known
  2. Find Allies and Champions
  3. Assess Where the Organization Is In Its DEI Journey
  4. Create a Vision & Secure Necessary Resources
  5. Set & Track Progress Towards Your Goals

In part three of our series, we’re diving into the final two areas: Create a Vision & Secure Necessary Resources, and Set & Track Progress Towards Your Goals.

Create a Vision & Secure Necessary Resources

To make a significant impact at your organization, you’ll need to work with leaders and team members to create a vision for success and secure the appropriate resource.  So, once you’ve collected and analyzed your organization’s data, prioritize having conversations around your organizational vision for DEI with key leaders and team members.  

The following questions can help guide those conversations and help you gain the critical buy-in you need for success and change:

  • What does DEI mean at this organization?
  • What is the vision of DEI that we as an organization aspire to?  
    • What does that vision currently look, sound, and feel like to individuals at all levels of and identities at this company?  
    • What will it look, sound, and feel like in the next 3, 6, 9, and 12 months?
  • What parts of the organization’s culture, policies,  and/or processes need to shift for that vision to emerge and take form?

Then, work towards securing the resources that will help you successfully achieve that vision.  Questions to consider include: 

  • What trainings and/or educational opportunities will your teams need so that your organization can be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to realize your vision for DEI?
  • What specialists or consultants might you need to bring on board to support this work?
  • What additional resources will be needed to make this vision a reality?
  • What teams, departments, and/or leaders will need to come together to make your vision happen? 
Set & Track Progress Towards Your Goals 

The challenges that DEI work addresses did not appear overnight.  They are the result of decades of inequity in the workplace and are systemic in nature.  Inasmuch, they will require you to set and track both short-term and long-term goals during your first 90 days.  

The goals that you craft should align with the wider vision for DEI that you are trying to create at your organization.  Make sure that short-term and long-term goals are grounded in SMART language (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) and speak to the specific increases and decreases that you will need to see in order to observe your vision taking shape.  For examples of DEI goals from well-known companies, check out this article.  

Once you’ve settled on and put your goals in place, be intentional and vocal about sharing and socializing them with various stakeholders in your organization during those first 90 days and beyond.  It also helps to mention, track, and celebrate progress towards accomplishing them in key meetings, especially company-wide meetings such as All Hands or quarterly leadership meetings.  Doing so will help sustain momentum, enthusiasm, and commitment at your organization.

Finally, we’ve all heard the business adage, “What gets measured gets done.”  These words ring very true in the DEI space.  Check out a recent SGO podcast on DEI metrics and measurement for a deeper dive and some practical tips on measurement in the DEI space. Make sure that you are keeping track of movement around your goals, whether positive or negative, so that you can quickly adjust and iterate as need be. 

We hope that you have enjoyed this series on the “First Five Steps to Take as a DEI Leader.” Have you been able to implement any of these steps? Do you have any additional tips to share? Please let us know!


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