When we at Tribe wanted to formalise what ‘diversity and inclusion’ meant to us, we realised that before diving straight into developing a strategy, we needed to do a stocktake to understand where we are as an organisation right now. Which meant the strategy writing was paused for now…
In the pursuit to have authentic intentions to be inclusive, we needed to understand how we are currently perceived. We got together a small group and used the Diversity Works NZ stocktake to ask questions about how we do things, what policies we have in place, and what our philosophies are. A line in the sand if you like.
We followed up the meeting with a results session which was a chance to sit down and hear confirmation of all the good stuff we already inherently do and get a list of recommendations on things that we could do better. At Tribe, our small size meant that many of the recommendations simply meant that we had to put more rigour and process around what inclusion looks like here.
Getting started on our D and I Commitment Statement
Once we understood where we are now, the next step in our journey was to write a Diversity and Inclusion Commitment Statement. I was told that the key was to make it succinct. Anyone who knows me, knows that I write like I’m talking, which doesn’t exactly bode well for a succinct statement!
Where to start I thought? I started by doing some research and looking at other statements to see what I thought would work for us. Some resonated with me and others didn’t so much. The shorter ones were more powerful and made more sense to me. The ones that focused more on similarities rather than our differences resonated more with me also.
Two of my favourites corporate quotes were T-Mobile (UK telecommunications company) and Salesforce (US founded Technology business). T mobile say “Uniqueness is powerful. Be Yourself. We like it that way.” And Salesforce simply say “We’re greater when we’re equal”. These are simple but powerful.
I also love Dr Suess and read it lots with my kids, and one of my favourites is ‘Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!’ – how good is that? My feeling is that it has to feel “right”, familiar and honest. And yes, I know that some people roll their eyes at this kind of stuff but it’s important for our tribes and everybody’s future together.
Writing our D and I Commintment Statement
I started by writing some words and statements that we use here… conveniently, at the end of last year Tribe went on a bit of a journey that we called our culture project. One of our aims was to readdress our outdated mission statement that was written four years ago and make it relevant to who we are now and where we are going. We had four sessions, all offsite, and had many people come and help us with our journey – Stacey and Scotty Morrison, Judith Jameson, Sarah Laurie, Jamie and Hitch from The Enthusiasts and Megan from Toi Tangata.
We have ended up with a set of values and a new guiding light (our name for our mission and vision statements). Having just been on that journey meant that I had a lot of words and statements that everybody at Tribe helped create over a couple of months. They were authentic words and statements that the team had agreed on which I could use to create our D and I Commitment Statement.
If you are not in a position to undergo a culture project like we did, then you could run brainstorming sessions about what inclusion means to you. Remember though, it needs to be a group of people who are engaged and interested in driving it later on.
Just write it!
So, when it came to the writing, it was actually quite easy – we had already written most of it as a team. I just strung the words together. And in true Tribe storytelling nature it turns out it reads like a short story and one that’s energetic and dynamic too. Here goes…
We're all on a journey.
We have our guiding light to show us the way. We bring our whole selves to work. We encourage inclusion in every single interaction. We genuinely care about people and are curious about their stories. We celebrate all points of view. We will help you find your tribe, the same way we have. We’re all on a journey together so come along…
The wider team loved it when we shared it with them. I’d be surprised if they didn’t as it was all their language! What do you think about it? We’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts… feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know. Have fun creating yours, if you don’t already have one... and as Mary from Diversity Works said in her video “anywhere on the D and I journey is a good place to start”.