I begin to learn and care about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) by accident when I became a program manager for the “Women in Gaming” initiative as a part of the Facebook Gaming team.
That was a year where I felt that my job meant something, I was helping people and the program was raising an important and meaningful message about women in the gaming industry.
Even when I left Facebook a year ago, I was feeling energised and appreciated by the team and Women in Gaming community I helped to build. I thought I must write about my experience and learnings but I didn’t… Now I know why, deep down, I sort of knew that if I had written one last year, it would be very different from the point of view now. I would have been influenced by my own bias because of my job, colleagues and companies I worked with. Basically, I was not neutral. Being neutral is hard but the world needs objectivity and neutrality.
In this blog, you will find 3 things:
1. What’s should D&I programs stop doing?
Setting the Wrong Expectations
Your mind gets what it expects
Dan Ariely - one of the most famous behavioural scientists did a blind tasting experiment which showed that when he told the participants which beer had 2 drops of vinegar (set the expectation), less people will go for the beer with vinegar. However, where he did not tell them which beer contained the vinegar, more people actually chose the vinegary beer. What does this tell us? By telling people what’s in it, will create an expectation that could cloud their point of view and influence them to do the opposite what they would normally do.
Interesting, isn’t it. Now let’s apply this to raising awareness about Diversity & Inclusion. If your D&I messages talk about toxicity, lack of career opportunities, unbalanced representation of women (even if you are simply addressing the issues), how effective do you think it is to attract talents or encourage women to stay in the industry?
I am not advising people not to address the elephant in the room, it is simply to know what expectation and impression you are making in order to make your initiative more effective.
As I mentioned earlier, if I was to write this blog a year ago, I would probably really have wanted to start a global movement around women in gaming by highlighting the challenges and issues in order to connect with other women who share the same goals.
Today, I don’t want to start such a movement. I want to eliminate the unintended expectations and misled impressions about something that was designed to deliver great outcomes to people.
Global movement can be misused by the minority to spread extreme views and messages especially through online platforms. We have a responsibility to control our messages and campaigns as much as possible. Someone needs to try to remain neutral and provide an objective view and I want to be that person.
2. What is the most effective approach?
Originally developed by Jack Mezirow, transformative learning has been around for 50 years. I simplified and adapted this theory in the Women in Gaming program strategy, particularly on our educational content and events around Managing Unconscious Bias , Invest in your strengths by Marcus Buckingham and more.
There are 3 stages:
1. Providing opportunities for critical thinking.
E.g. get people to think critically about their own actions and decisions, establish whether there is an issue. What is the issue? Do they need a new perspective? What is the new perspective?
2. Providing opportunities to relate to others going through the same transformative process.E.g. who else is affected by this? Is it possible to create a safe space to connect? The sense of belonging is a basic human need and essential for community building.
3. Providing opportunities to act on new perspectives.
E.g. If something isn’t right, what can be done to change that? Here, what’s needed is a set of very specific actions for each person and within a reasonable timeframe.
The best role for a D&I team or manager to play is ‘providing opportunities'. It doesn’t have to be on a global scale. Real changes are made within, starting with the ones closest to you and then expanding from there. Sometimes, getting support from the ones closer to you is way harder than it should be.
3. Management, don’t make this mistake
Making a commitment but not keeping it.
Rachel Botsman said "Money is the currency of transactions. Trust is the currency of interactions."
There is no organisation out there who doesn’t value trust. We all do, we all want trust, we desire to be trusted. Before you learn how you gain trust, you need to know what trust is.
I really like Katherine Hawley’s explanation of trust. “I will understand trust in terms of commitment: when we trust people, we rely upon them to meet their commitments.”
There you have it, the key words are “meet commitment”.
Fail to meet that, people will resent you (human nature, you can’t beat it). Live up to your commitment, people will appreciate you and reward you with their trust.
Have the competence to carry out your duty, match your actions with your commitment, and remember to be honest. You will be rewarded with rich and interpersonal trust.
As you can see that there are many way to apply behavioural science and psychology in business, especially marketing.
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