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  • Emerging Ally

Resistance... Yup you're doing something right!

So I chatted with some friends a bit ago. We had all been experiencing some serious resistance in the Diversity and Inclusion space and wanted to chat. Compare notes but also lean on respective shoulders. Giving each other support.

As I mentioned in my last post that is important. Having a support system to get through the inevitable tough times.

Diversity and Inclusion is about change. Even more than that it is about cultural change… we all know change gets resistance…. And cultural change… wow… does that ever get resistance.

So a support group is important. They have helped me get through tough times and also helped to navigate them.

As we chat we share ideas, perspectives and thoughts.

Oddly enough I have learned over the years that resistance - while painful - can be very instructive.

First, it is usual in response to progress. No one resists anything that isn’t doing anything. So it is a result of actually getting some traction! I mean if you weren’t making progress they wouldn’t be bent out of shape.

Next, I don’t know about you but I have always liked to know who is on the other side. It’s tough to wage a fight when you don’t know where the fight is coming from. Generally I find that’s 50% of the battle. So now you know… and they saved you the energy of looking for them! Doesn’t mean they aren’t causing pain but when you know who and where they are it is easier. They were always there, hiding in the shadows and preventing stuff from there. Now you know. And now that you know you can figure out how to deal with it.

Also you get to see what leadership is doing. To see how they are responding… or even if they are responding. That is important. If they are responding how they respond is important. There is no easy rubric here, but actions generally speak louder than words. You know your situation and the level of the resistance but you also know when the support of leadership is genuine, good and enough. Whatever the results take notes and hold them dear. What leadership does or doesn’t do matters a great deal and will tell you nearly everything you need to know about the culture and its willingness to change.

Additionally you get to see what support you have. Who steps up and who steps back. Again you can judge where an ally has stepped up or back. Take into account the leadership question above. Everyone in an organization takes cues from leadership. If leadership is not responding or is not really being supportive it becomes tougher for others to support at least in public.

But when people step up take note… Especially if it is public support… Take time and meet with them. Be cautious as I am sure you have been burned in the past. But be open. You never know someone’s story. You could have a larger circle of support than you realize.

See resistance means you are doing something. So it shows you are making progress. And you can learn something from resistance. And learning is progress. So progress on all fronts! Way to go!

So take a moment. Breathe. Take a quiet sip of your favorite beverage and smile. You ARE making a difference.

As always I hope this helps. I look forward to continuing the conversation. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

All the best,

Dave Terné

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