Are You an Equality Champion?


by Anna Dewar Gully, MRes

Are you an equality champion responsible for advancing equality in your organization? Have you tried the "gold standard" list of interventions like bias training, leadership training, networking, and resource groups? And are you still finding real progress on key metrics hard to come by?

This analysis from Deloitte's team may explain why you're struggling to see real progress regardless of your best intentions and your hard work to champion change. As they explain, and as you may already know from experience; training, leadership, and networking initiatives alone aren't moving the needle towards real equality fast enough. That's because inequality is hardwired into your organization's DNA...It's built into your hiring decisions, your leadership priorities, your strategy. It's everywhere...

Think about it, how realistic is it for you to think that you can change individual or organizational worldviews with a couple of training sessions?

How likely is it that you'll be able to help women and underrepresented groups become leaders in your organization through bias training and networking rather than by better understanding and then tackling the real barriers they face at the structural and strategic level? Not very likely...

When bias exists at the DNA level of your organization, it can't be undone with a couple of thought-provoking sessions, regardless of best intentions. Real change requires learning from lived experiences (experiential learning), organizational strategy and re-design re-design (structure and process), and a very different type of consultation. The kind of consultation that reshapes how you work and why you exist as an organization, the kind of consultation that leads to real, palpable, strategic level actions that change your business for the better. I'm telling you now, you're business needs this work, because it builds equality, effectiveness, and profitability. The business case has been made at least a million times.

If you're like many of our clients, you are probably feeling pretty frustrated. You've held consultations maybe with diverse members of your team. You've heard the same frustrations over and over again. You've invested and re-invested in the "gold standard" initiatives, brought in trainers from outside, written report after report for your leadership team, implemented a diversity and inclusion policy or a gender equity policy and regardless your staff continue to face and describe real inequality.

You have to ask yourself, have the gold standard initiatives, the outside in approach, really changed the status quo?

There are still too few women at the top of your organization and in the pipeline to leadership. There are too many white faces in leadership roles. The problem has remained, frustratingly for you, seemingly untouched. But the pressure is on...your younger staff members are getting more vocal with their concerns, your potential clients and customers are looking at your organization and thinking it looks a lot like the past, if you're working in a professional services environment you might not be in a billable role and the pressure is on simply because of the business structure, oh and your senior leaders are being forced to answer tricky questions from board members or key stakeholders and customers.


What do you need to do next to make a real difference? You might be asking yourself... Do you double down on what you've done before? Or are you ready to try something altogether new?

As highlighted Deloitte's report on #diversityandinclusion, organizations striving to create equal opportunity need to be looking at experiential learning, process and structural change, data-driven tools, transparency, and accountability. That's exactly what we offer at Sum Strategies. We help you do exactly that in a creative way that harnesses the best of your people and your organization's culture.

At Sum Strategies we offer services that are designed to create real progress. Our work is experiential, strategic, and data-driven. We often start client engagements with our fun, engaging, and uplifting data-driven event called a #solveathon. It's a strategic design event that brings your team members to the table to define the challenges they see inside your business and begin to design actionable (ACTIONABLE) solutions from the inside-up. The right strategy often begins to develop clearly after your first engagement with us and you'll begin to re-build the trust and confidence of frustrated staff members and even to build renewed trust in your own capacity to make real and progressive change.

wallpaper solveathon.jpg

Our clients come to us so we can help them connect the dots between equality, effectiveness, and profitability. Your people help us understand where those connections lie. We are here to help you get moving on the next right step towards equality and towards a better, more effective, more profitable organization tomorrow.

We really want you to be a successful equality champion. That's our reason for being.

Together, we can explore the challenges you're organization is facing, your personal frustrations as an equality champion who is working really hard to make real progress, and I'll share more about what we know about what works and what doesn't, and I may even share some insider secrets about our experiential, strategic, data-driven approach. If you decide to work with us after the call that would be wonderful. But we'd love to talk to you regardless. Our vision is a world where all people flourish and are valued equally. We really really want you to succeed.

HomeKristen Liesch