Celebrating work and diversity
Many miles to go; enjoying every success
This is exactly why I’m a fan of virtual facilitations! It brings people from different corners of the world together. Perhaps more importantly, it helps me filter the truly keen learners from those who have been mandated!
Our certified diversity facilitator workshop on March 2nd was another testimony to my belief. All of us were there in that frame because we truly believed in the cause of inclusion. The discussions in the breakout rooms were evidence of how engaged a virtual setup can get because as a participant I am getting views from such a diverse audience about D&I. We all stayed till the end because we really wanted to reflect on what insights Shruthi Gokuldas - our fireside chat guest - had to bring in. Rarely do you come across a leader who is willing to use her stories and vulnerabilities to drive home important learnings.
The design of the format further lent itself to deeper engagement. By sharing the pre-read on Cognitive Bias in advance, we had already primed the minds of our participants towards the session content. Such a format is powerful because it puts control into the learners’ hands. It required us to reach out to our participants in advance, through multiple channels but it was well worth it. They have the choice to read the content when they are in the best state to absorb that learning, leaving their minds free to absorb more during the actual session. The neuroscience of learning teaches us a thing or two about transferring pre-reads from our short-term memory to long-term memory! Critical content (in this case, the primer on Cognitive Bias because it forms the foundation of understanding diversity) should not only be shared in advance but also allowed to sit in the learners’ minds for at least one sleep cycle, thereafter reinforcing it (in our case, with a quickfire quiz!)
We got really ambitious in our breakout room activity and I want to thank every single one of our participants for engaging so deeply with the intense content. Breakouts lend themselves to open and candid discussions, diverse thoughts and clearer convergence because they allow people to work in small comfortable groups, where everyone has a voice.
And then there’s technology of course which I love! Virtual collaboration boards have replaced coloured post-it notes so efficiently. I never anyway liked the struggle of keeping the post-its stuck to the whiteboard whilst you debrief your activity! Besides, use the right tools, and you can keep the responses anonymous thereby creating a safe, open space for everyone to come forward and share ideas if you so plan in your activity. This is especially important for a topic like diversity and inclusion, where we struggle with our deep-rooted unconscious biases.
Our certified diversity facilitator workshop has been a journey well begun… A journey that has brought together people who believe in a strong cause of inclusion and making a difference through diversity. This is exactly the reason why we brought on-board Sumana Dutta from the Akshadhaa Foundation as our inclusion partner. Her tireless efforts on ensuring how people of different abilities can be integrated into the mainstream of organisations are critical to our context today and resonate deeply with us at Samriddhi.
For us, diversity is not a once in a year reminder on a special day. It is not an elitist cause to support. It is a belief, a future that we believe is sustainable because it makes business sense. And I am today proud to have taken a small step to create this community.