Can you believe we’re already a month into 2020? Whether you’ve been head down implementing your 2020 plans or just now hitting the restart button for the new year, there’s no better time to set the pace for reaching your goals by taking action.
As a business owner, you have a responsibility and probably a deep desire to have a profitable and successful business. You may even have some specific goals about how much you want to make, how many clients you want to work with, which clients you want to work with, and probably even some ideas around what you’d like to promote and where. That’s great! So here’s my question…
What action are you taking to make sure you reach every one of those goals?
If you’re visualizing, that’s a step in the right direction. But visualizing alone isn’t going to get you there. It’s a little like sitting in your car imagining where you want to go, but never starting the engine or leaving the garage. You’re still in the same spot thinking about your destination.
It’s the same thing with creating an inclusive business. You can say you’re inclusive, call yourself an ally, quote passages from books about overcoming discrimination and racism. But the truth is no matter how many photos you update on your website and social media to make you look inclusive, you’re still missing a significant and critical piece of creating and running an inclusive business.
I often hear from people who say things like,
“I just read this article on diversity and I totally get it now!”
“I’ve been following this person on IG who talks about racism and I started sharing their posts with my community. I think it’s really working.”
“I know how important it is to be inclusive. I just invested in some other things for my business, so I’m going to do what I can for now and hopefully I’ll be ok.”
“I’ve read a ton of books on social justice. I think I’m good now.”
But here’s what’s missing…
Written and enforced hiring practices that are specifically inclusive, creating and implementing policies and procedures that promote inclusion, protecting employees/contractors/customers who are often marginalized, creating and maintaining inclusive business cultures, creating trust and safety within teams. Those are the things that make a business inclusive. The others are great and help, but being inclusive isn’t a 6-week or 6-month course. It’s a part of running a business – just like all the other critical pieces we must implement and maintain in order to make a business thrive.
People want to buy from and work with people they trust. It’s a reasonable expectation. So why are we so resistant to making it easy for others to buy from us?
Yes, it’s more work for us and sadly most people don’t see value in investing in this kind of work. But here’s what you should know:
If you’re not taking action by implementing and consistently enforcing these types of protocols and practices, you’re not creating an inclusive environment. In fact, you could be creating more risk for yourself, your team, and your market by taking action based on assumption (and that assumption could be inaccurate and damaging).
You’re actively choosing to create risk in your business by being aware of the importance of creating and maintaining an inclusive business and not taking the appropriate action to support it.
You may be unintentionally sending a strong, lasting impression to your market and the industry that you think is positive. What you’re saying is, “Hey! I see you and welcome you.” But what’s landing is, “Hey! I’m supposed to make you feel included, so I’ll say it but when you do a little digging below the surface you may find some things that show I don’t care. But pretend not to notice since that’s not my intention.”
Speaking of intention, one of the things I tell clients most often is that while intention is important, so is impact. So when you look at your own intention, be sure to ask yourself what kind of impact you’re creating. Not what you intend to create, but what are your actions (or lack of actions) showing and what’s the message it’s sending.
So what do you do?
I’m glad you asked.
Here are three things you can do today to get started:
- Review your hiring practices and make sure you’re hiring based on qualifications vs. a hunch/chemistry (often times, our decisions can be influenced by unconscious bias)
- Revise your policies and procedures to make sure you’re creating an inclusive business (if you do not have policies specific to inclusion or you don’t have any written policies in place, this would be a good time to commit to creating a company handbook)
- If you’re feeling overwhelmed about where or how to get started, hire an expert (you can book a consult with me HERE)
If you’ve been saying, “THIS is my year!” It’s time to take action. Remember, visualizing gets you clear on where you want to go, but taking action is what gets you there.