D&I Developmental Continuum
Companies and individuals progress along a continuum of intercultural competence that represents their ability to address strategic D&I issues. One of the most respected and well-known diversity continuum models and assessments is the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) that is adapted from Dr. Milton Bennet’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity. There are others.
While there are various descriptions of the different stages of D&I maturity, Jonamay Lambert and Associates views them as follows:
Journey’s Beginning – The organization’s senior leaders and workforce may have a basic understanding of the value of D&I. However, the company’s practices, procedures, and behaviors do not reflect D&I best practices. Typically, companies at this stage are just beginning their D&I journey and do not fully comprehend the challenges and benefits of embedding D&I throughout the entire organization.
D&I’s Threshold – At this point, a company’s leadership has some understanding of the business case for D&I. The organization may have various discrete programs or initiatives that target diversity issues and express leaderships’ desire to be more inclusive. It often feels like “the flavor of the month.” However, because the company lacks strategic alignment of D&I goals. The benefits of D&I are not realized and leaders are not held accountable for measurable outcomes.
D&I Integration – Firms at this stage have a viable D&I strategy. Inclusive practices and behaviors are embedded throughout the organization. It has become another business goal. In many cases, D&I is not limited to any particular function but has spread throughout the company with leaders at all levels held accountable for measurable outcomes. Employees understand that inclusion adds value.
Harmony of D&I -While organizations at this stage realize the many benefits of D&I, senior leaders embrace the often turbulent process required of a fully-embedded D&I strategy because of its gains and advantages. The strategy is completely aligned with the overall organizational strategy. Leaders at all levels and in all functions are held accountable for D&I outcomes as well as their functional goals. Internally and externally, the company’s brand is enhanced through its commitment to diversity.
JLA’s work with companies at the Beginning or Threshold stages can require more upfront work to truly determine the best approach. Senior leaders at these firms may use the correct terminology, such as inclusion, equity, culture change, etc., but can lack the appreciation of the real efforts required to change an organization’s culture and to make it intentionally inclusive and more productive.
Along with developing D&I strategies and initiatives, helping senior leadership grasp the depth of the work is the value we bring.