Four Reasons Inclusive Leadership Programs Fail

Why so many inclusive leadership programs fail

Inclusive leadership initiatives can be:

  • A flavor of the month program
  • Rinse and repeat
  • Once and done

And on and on… You insert the analogy.

I believe inclusive leadership happens consistently, day in and day out. It does not happen alone, it does not happen in a vacuum, and it does not happen spontaneously. These days, there are many competing priorities vying for your time as a leader. You want to attract and retain diverse talent and be an inclusive leader, but it is difficult to find the time. Not to mention knowing where to start and obtaining the right tools. The truth is, despite the best of intentions, very few organizations are reaching their equity goals — even if they are deeply committed to DEI work.

Inclusive leadership programs thrive when the culture supports true inclusion.

It happens when everyone feels seen, heard, and that they belong in their respective workplace. It happens when we call in problematic behavior and hold people accountable. It happens when we are allies together, because we are stronger together.

Four common reasons inclusive leadership programs fail:

#1: It is not long enough. Most inclusive leadership programs are a one-day training. Maybe follow up coaching if you are lucky. Eight hours to change the behaviors and biases of a lifetime’s worth of lived experiences.  That feels like a tall order even for the most skilled trainer. In fact, as a result of doing training like this, I have begun pushing back on client requests for one and done training programs. I consider myself a skilled facilitator and aspiring ally, yet one day is not enough to change deep rooted behavior in an organization.

#2: It feels check the box. Even with the best intentions, most managers feel like they have to go to this training where they are going to be schooled on what is wrong with them.  Compliance is not a motivator for behavior change.

#3: People do not believe it is real. One of my clients called diversity and inclusion an “initiative,” as if we would solve this problem in a year or two. True diversity and inclusion work involves a cultural shift. This work takes time. People need to see it and hear it, a lot of times, to believe it is real.

#4: It is not consistent. Great inclusive leadership skills come from diligent, focused efforts on it every day. Five minutes or more of focus a day to practice it intentionally. It can take more time if you have it. Consistency is where you win people over and they will buy in to the commitment. It is a commitment day in and day out.

What does it take to drive true inclusive behavior?  It is rare to see, yet we have some ideas…

That is why I developed the Lead Like an Ally program.

The Lead Like an Ally program is a self paced inclusive leadership program designed to guide aspiring allies with tools, strategies, and techniques.

With self paced modules and flexible ways to participate, it meets leaders where they are at on their ally journey in a safe, comfortable virtual learning environment. Follow along with a robust workbook as I teach the 10 attributes of inclusive leadership in quick 5-10 minute videos. Audio files are also available to download for podcast style learning.

Want to learn more about enrolling in this program or bringing this to your team or organization?