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Diversify for Success

Commit to inclusion and empathy in the workplace.

Joi Ito

Joi Ito

Director of the MIT Media Lab

Diversify for Success
  • Overview
  • Episodes
  • Recommended for you

Overview

As the past few tumultuous months have more than shown, all business’ and organizations’ commitment to diversity and inclusion must go beyond words into action. Diversity and inclusion is not just a buzzword-- it is a commitment to making the workplace safe and accepting towards people of all races, genders, sexualities, and abilities, and understanding that this inclusion will bring greater success to all organizations. Listen to these modules from experts like lesbian activist and speaker Ash Beckham, entrepreneur Joi Ito, and former dean of the London Business School Sir John Andrew Likierman to learn how to foster inclusion with empathy, to hear the perspectives of LGBTQ employees, how to deal with self-doubt as a woman in a male-dominated field, how to achieve success through diversity, and more.


What You'll Learn

  • Experiences of being LGBTQ in the workplace

  • How to set high standards for integrity, empathy, and inclusion

  • How to overcome internal barriers to success as a woman in a male-dominated field


Joi Ito's image was originally posted by Joi and the image has been changed. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Evan Wolfson's image was originally posted by David Shankbone and the image has been changed. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license.
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Episodes

8 Episodes

1. How I Came Out to My Boss

3min

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2. Shift Corporate Consciousness: Moving from Tolerance to Acceptance

6min

In this lesson, Ash Beckham, LGBTQ advocate, explores why corporate diversity programs must involve an education component to push people past tolerance and towards acceptance.Acceptance: To regard as proper, normal, or inevitable; to recognize to be trueTolerance: The capacity to endure continued subjection to somethingGo beyond toleranceSay something. If your company isn’t vocal about LGBTQ acceptance, it is sending a message of mere tolerance.Get the most our of your LGBTQ workforce. Employees that do not feel completely accepted will probably not be the most productive. Promoting acceptance by word of mouth is no longer good enough.Activate acceptanceOrganize LGBTQ events. The time and effort spent on events will increase pride in the community and decrease the feeling that they are in the minority. Speak directly to the community, but include the entire company.Go beyond the triangle. It’s great to signify “safe zones” but don’t assume that fully addresses acceptance.Rally...

3. Speak with Empathy: Fostering Inclusion with Words and Allies

5min

A critical part of creating an empathetic environment is the willingness of people in the LGBTQ community and their allies to have meaningful conversations about language use. In this lesson, Ash Beckham stresses that everyone is someone’s student and teaches you how to have open discussions that can shift perspectives.Use the word “gay” correctlyIf you are using the word “gay” in a negative way, it is not appropriate.Don’t adjust your language just for your immediate audience. You never know who you might be offending.Used in the right context, the word “gay” can be a source of pride and identity.People do not respond to “You shouldn’t say that!”People respond to “When you say that it makes me feel ____.”Simply labeling offensive language as “not politically correct” undermines the nature of inclusion and community.Recruit LGBTQ alliesThe LGBTQ community and allies need to educate others about appropriate language, but in a nonjudgemental way. Try not to blame or ass...

4. Leverage Diverse Talent

3min

Most academics work alongside other academics in the same field to arrive at the deepest possible understanding of a particular subject. At the MIT Media Lab, researchers focus on breadth, not depth, of knowledge. On any given day, you could come across an engineer, an economist, and an opera singer brainstorming solutions to projects that span across multiple disciplines and perspectives. Recent questions include how to engage people in creative learning experiences and how to give computers human-like intuition so they can better understand us.“The world is full of expertise,” says Joi Ito, Executive Director. “What it lacks is agility and context.”The mission of the Media Lab - symbolized by its glass walls - is to mitigate the isolating effects of specialization by creating a common space where brilliant people in every field can share ideas, English major to mathematician. (One team built a sensor for Yo-Yo Ma’s bow using technology that was later deployed in automobiles.)...

5. Support the LGBT Workforce: Take Actions to Reflect Your Standards

7min

A commitment to non-discrimination in hiring and promotion, at least on the surface, is almost universal in business these days. The official communications of every HR department are careful to highlight diversity and inclusion. But the situation on the ground remains very uneven. Advocating for the LGBT workforce, attorney Evan Wolfson suggests that tolerance isn’t enough. Companies need to commit in practice to supporting their most vulnerable minorities and fully integrating them into the life of the company.Go beyond non-discriminationBusinesses have the power to push forward diversity and inclusion in both organizations and the law.Recognize that despite significant progress, LGBT employees still face challenges in the workplace, such as:lack of support from individual bosses or peersinsecurity about coming outsensing unconscious discriminationfeeling unacknowledgedbeing the only LGBT person at the companyStrengthen the businessInclusion is not just something we do for “them...

6. Achieve Success Through Diversity

5min

As someone who rose out of poverty to lead a Fortune 500 company, Hector Ruiz is acutely aware of the importance of diversity in the workplace. “Because of their cultures, their religion, their surroundings, their family, people think differently,” Ruiz says. And yet, even Ruiz, the current CEO of Advanced Nanotechnology Solutions, admits to having made mistakes in this area - most notably, the mistake of failing to gather diverse perspectives.In this lesson, Ruiz explains a mistake he made while running a communications business for Motorola. In order to promote a certain consumer product in China, Ruiz and his team put together an advertising campaign they were proud of, only to find out that the Chinese people were offended by it.“It really taught me a hard lesson,” Ruiz says, “because it’s something I should have known better, especially [as someone who] came from another country and another background.”Principles for International SuccessAn awareness of what customers an...

7. Set High Standards for Integrity at Your Organization

5min

Are organizations more or less ethical now than they were, say, fifty years ago? While that’s tough to assess accurately, Sir Andrew Likierman of London Business School argues that today’s ethical climate is more conducive to corporate ethical responsibility than ever before. Take the increasingly common phenomenon of corporate whistleblowing: does it mean that businesses are suddenly misbehaving on an unprecedented scale? Does it mean that more disgruntled employees than ever are inventing false allegations? Likierman believes it’s evidence that––unlike 50 years ago––mechanisms now exist for airing and addressing company-wide problems rather than sweeping them under the rug. And that can only be a good thing.WhistleblowingIf there is a whistleblowing incident at your organization, assume there is an issue to address until proven to the contrary.Consider whistleblowing a valuable and serious form of feedback.Investigate dispassionately until you are satisfied whether the alle...

8. Deal with Self-Doubt: A NASA Scientist's Advice to Women for Overcoming Internal Barriers to Success

7min

Nobody could claim with a straight face that self-doubt is unique to nor universal among women—but in a world where the history books are overwhelmingly filled with men, women often get the message that they don’t really belong in their chosen fields. Astronomer Michelle Thaller, in spite of her enviable success as a NASA astronomer, still struggles with “impostor syndrome”—a condition common to many extraordinarily gifted people in which you believe you don’t deserve your professional status or the company you keep. That you’ve somehow managed to fool everybody, for now, until the inevitable knock at the door comes to send you back to where you came from. So, for women especially, but more broadly for anyone whose internalized fears threaten to turn them into their own worst obstacle to success, Michelle Thaller has some friendly advice.Imposter Syndrome: An internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to beSelf-doubt can lead to bein...

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