To effect significant change and even more dramatic transformation in organisations and within their people, there can be no doubt that we require the power of influence. When delving into how influence functions, it becomes apparent that there is a complex network of various psychological factors involved. They are very much interconnected and must be used with considerable rationality and judgement to achieve influence. Plus, the ability to influence is not an ability acquired overnight.
Considering the necessary role that influence plays in achieving diversity and inclusion progress across a broad range of areas, we soon realise that the use of diversity and inclusion consulting is pivotal for this very reason. We need extremely seasoned experts with breadth and depth of knowledge to partner with us in our critical thinking, analysis, reflection, and decision making including how to prioritise and where to focus.
Influential partners will not only guide but help us to evolve and unlock our true potential through their considerable insight and awareness. Most essentially, in addition, being exposed to nurturing influence is a very constructive building experience that over time transfers power and accountability. Another aspect is that through diversity and inclusion consulting, we are exposed to first-class role models that demonstrate in a very sophisticated manner what it will take to move forward in an authentic way, which is essential with diversity and inclusion leadership.
Diversity and inclusion training incorporates influencing the thinking and behavioural changes we need to see to attain collective diversity and inclusion objectives. However, this is not the real determining factor in success. Any organisation that has transformed to be more diverse and inclusive has had to fundamentally alter its DNA. This is a daily progression as a function of what happens in the real-life workplace. It is formed through the lived experience of the composite of everyone who contributes to the principles, values, ethics, culture, climate, and standards enacted in the organisation. Changing DNA is a real manifestation of growth and development throughout the organisation and a byproduct of multiple influencing variables. Diversity and inclusion consulting will help us fast-track all the alterations necessary by influencing ownership and buy-in for sustainability.
The power of diversity and inclusion consulting is that they are effective at their job. Which is to create rapid adaptation by influencing the right outcomes at the right stages and in the right way. The objective is that the transition should be self-chosen and self-driven ultimately.
Influence is very closely tied up in DNA change because at their core they feed off the same nourishment. Influence is about inspiration, co-creation, and transparency. There is no agenda other than seeking improvement through the pursuit of respecting everyone’s truth with the greatest possible mutual good in constant consideration. There can be nothing artificial about influence in support of organisational DNA evolution. Many conversations will need to be had inside and outside of diversity and inclusion training to get to the root of what is most prized by all.
Influence as a function of diversity and inclusion consulting needs to be robust and resilient to withstand the many crosswinds of challenges that are part of the diversity and inclusion journey. Most importantly, shifts and changes only occur when clarity and alignment feature as part of the influencing conversations that lead to greater and greater harmony and synergy in respect of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
Whilst it may be enticing to want to demand that certain aspects of an organisation’s DNA change, it is wise to accept that organisations are a system that needs to achieve congruence and balance each step of the way. The ability of diversity and inclusion consulting to help their partners navigate some of the trickier aspects of the DNA shift will require influence in being courageous and open, as well as trusting that given the right inputs consistently, the right outputs will manifest.
The interesting thing is that innately we have the ability to recognise that “the people who influence you are the people who believe in you” (Henry Drummond). So, when influence is recognised as a real leadership necessity rather than simply authority, we will value it in terms of its crucial bridge-building capability.