Why Vision is a Critical Piece of Diversity

Written by James O. Rodgers

Crafting a vision for a Deliberate Diversity project comes down to answering two questions: First, what would you like to see happen as a result of implementing the project and second, how will you know if you have been successful in bringing this result about? Developing a clear path of where the project is supposed to be going, and what it will look like once you get there, is crucial to the success of any strategic diversity initiative. If you don’t know where you’re going, you often wind up somewhere you didn’t want to be.

It is important to realize that no two organizations have the same vision of what they want to achieve as a result of diversity management. This means that the vision for the project needs to be generated during the conception phase, by the senior level executives at the organization – and is not something a consultant can create. Consultants have a wealth of experience, and they can be incredibly helpful in the way that they apply their knowledge, however, they will never be as close to a client’s business as the client themselves. That is, they can’t read a clients mind and tell them what they want in terms of big picture vision. Therefore the vision for the project needs to be homegrown. 

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Once a vision is defined, it is important that someone is responsible for reenforcing the original vision in order to help make sure that it becomes a reality. A consultant can work with the project leaders to make sure that everyone buys into the goals and direction of the project, stays on the same page and, when necessary, can help keep everyone pointed at the same target. 

When people are mired in the day to day operations of their job, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. That is, it can be easy to lose sight of the original vision they committed to when it seems so much easier to simply revert back to the way they used to do things. It is therefore important that someone is around to say “Remember? Here’s what you said you wanted and here’s how we plan to get it. It may not seem like it at the moment, but what you are working on is important to the overall vision we committed to!”

The person playing this role might not be the same every time. That’s why its important to define a vision at the outset, develop a plan around that vision and have everyone involved buy into that vision as much as possible. That way, when the inevitable bump in the road raises its ugly head, someone will be around to help get everyone over it.