Diversity training – as I’ve experienced it – is a fluke. Let me use my “I” voice. First, understand the concept of training is delivering information to change performance. Performance is linked to how we reach desired goals, or simply put – how we do things. So, I conclude that issues of race, tolerance, and diversity are entirely too complex for a training environment.
I know. The diversity trainers of the world are wailing in contempt.
Let me start at the beginning.
Racism is a learned behavior.
It is deeply ingrained into one’s identity, psyche, and belief system. Only an idiot (sorry no other word would fit here) would believe such a character flaw can be changed in a day (or even a week) of training.
Sure, you can teach your team some “no-no” behaviors, but at the core, the flawed beliefs will remain. And if the beliefs remain, the actions will always re-surface in conscious and unconscious behaviors.
Listen to my podcast on the subject of diversity training.
I won’t facilitate it!
As a consultant, I stay clear of offering diversity training. I’ve attended many and been trained to deliver some. Still, I conclude they do not work.
What does work? Let me tell you, an effective diversity process occurs on a very personal, micro-level. In my opinion, a training environment inhibits this process more than it facilitates it.
People need to be alone together over a period of time for such in-depth personal, self-exploration to truly transpire. They need the tools and the resources to contemplate, examine, and assess.
THEN [again] they must be left alone to process and self-examine. This does not often happen in a training environment. A weekend retreat with lots of alone time could be a first step (note: first step), but still, the alone time is critical to re-program.
I remember a youth organization called “AnyTown” that had long, well thought-out experiences like I’m describing. It worked. It changed hearts.
My own journey…
For my own personal development, I recently began this very process. Once I had acquired the tools, here is how I began to challenge, modify, and test my own issues of tolerance.
We got bad Intel on other races.
They simply told me the wrong information.
I acknowledge that I have been “fed’ messages about people from my first “teachers” (my family) and the media.
Yeah. I have my “stuff” and so do you. I believe specific things about (some) people based on information I received during my formative years and life experiences.
I self-examine Teri.
Consistently I must “bump up against” conclusions I draw about people I do not actually know.
I must question my motivations and perceptions. For example, if a man makes me uncomfortable, I must ask myself if my discomfort is rooted in something “real” or an assumption my first “teachers” taught me. That is where I start. Then I proceed to examine my “stuff” further.
Again, I have stuff.
To be truly authentic, I must accept my “stuff” (i.e.emotional, experiential baggage) and begin re-programming my thinking. Re-programming takes time. In the meantime, I resolve, commit, determine to not let my “stuff” affect how I interact with people. It cannot interfere with real life.
Diversity training could not ever teach me that.
Summary of my points:
Recognize I have “stuff” + I must question/challenge myself +Re-program and re-route my thinking + controlling my “stuff” so it does not interfere with relationships and interactions = A better Teri.
It’s really ok…
Hey, the bottom line is we all make snap judgments. Those judgments are like instantaneous “movies” that play in our brains the minute we meet a new person. Don’t beat yourself up about this. No one is truthfully colorblind. But, we cannot let it interfere with work, friendships, gestures of kindness, or collaboration. Stop the movie and play another one.
No. Diversity training will not make your environment more tolerant. The only thing that will change things is self-examination, self-improvement, and an opportunity for meaningful non-threatening interactions and the latter is something TCB Consulting can help you create.
That’s my take. Save your money. Do some compliance training or engage a solid diversity expert like Deth Im in Kansas City. Deth (pronounced “Date”) was an instructor at AnyTown and has great experience in diversity training. Plus, unlike me, I’ll bet he’ll travel. 🙂
I want you to be your most authentic at work and learn to work with others!
Leveraging the 4 personality styles to help you when working with different personalities in the workplace. I also discuss often how business personalities play a role in how you approach work and manage work personalities in general. I also answer the question” “how does personality influence communication at work?” Your temperament plays a role in everything. I love talking about it and exploring exactly how!