Our Top 3 Most Reported Breakthroughs to Embodying DEI Work in 2023

What were teams’ most reported breakthroughs to embodying diversity, equity, and inclusion? We looked back through a year’s worth of reports to give you a sense.

Lauren Benetua, StaffJun 10, 2024 4:14 PM
Our Top 3 Most Reported Breakthroughs to Embodying DEI Work in 2023

Each month, our members submit a survey to keep us informed of their progress. We’re curious about many things. What breakthroughs have they made? What challenges have they reached? What are they hearing from the community, collaborators, and partners? Below are some quotes (lightly altered for anonymity) from our member insights in 2023.

In no particular order, the top the most reported breakthroughs are:

  1. Trusting and Living Into The Process 

    Let’s get one thing straight; equity and inclusion are a forever-process. In the Change Network, we spend ample time understanding how this work exists on a continuum with an urgency that may never subside. Once our members find acceptance with this, they begin to ease into the process with more curiosity and compassion, which often leads to big action later on. We felt this when one member shared, “there is a feeling sometimes that we should be further along or know more or have more experience, but we are at the step we are at and need to honor that.”

    We like to remember a lesson from adrienne maree brown’s Emergent Strategy–that we can only move at the speed of trust. Once our members reach this breakthrough, they begin to see more ways to integrate this work into their operations, rather than seeing it as a separate project that layers on top of their existing priorities. This ultimately accelerates their developments in becoming a more equitable and inclusive organization. About 25% of our members reported that experiencing a phenomenon like this helped them move forward.

  2. Doing Inner Reflective Work as a Team

    In the Change Network, we talk a lot about the Three A’s: Awareness, Accountability, and Agency. In fact, we have several exercises in our curriculum that support our member organizations in reflecting on multiple viewpoints and perspectives; practicing responsibility in their words, actions and ways of being; and familiarizing themselves with where their power lies in their ability to make change, whether that be on the personal, organizational, or community level. 

This was especially true for one team, where one member shared, “right now we are acknowledging that our team is being held up by past institutional trauma…we are taking the time to process this so that we don’t feel like our team needs to carry this burden so heavily.” At OF/BY/FOR ALL, we know that healing is essential, and that work, without healing, is harmful. About 24% of teams reported that learning more about themselves as a group and being able to pause intentionally for reflection and collective healing felt like a major turning point in their Change Network journey.

  1. Receiving Feedback and Learning Directly From Community

Once an organization develops a deeper relationship with the community, it’s likely that community members will eventually come forward with feedback that may be challenging for the organization to receive. One member wrote, “When we slowed down for community input, we learned that we were operating on too many assumptions…but weren’t pausing to listen to what our community WANTS us to produce.” 

We like to view this as an expression of trust and care. The community member trusts that you will know what to do with the information, and they care enough to take the initiative to let you know what they think. And how an organization responds can be everything. Sometimes feedback, even when negative, is a portal towards a better understanding of each other and, if all goes well, a stronger sense of community and belonging. Learning directly from the community was mentioned in about 20% of progress reports as what felt like a breakthrough in progress.

Would you like to experience some of the above with your team? You’re not alone! Discover more about our flexible-structured Change Network program designed to support you in driving inclusive change at work:

Talk with our team about the Change Network

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