At this time of year, many people think about setting goals for the year ahead. If you are one of those people, be sure not to forget that your journey with DEIAB—diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility and belonging—needs goal-setting too.
And, as you are shaping the ambitions and focus that will put you on a path to growth personally and professionally, there’s one shift I want to recommend that you make to your mindset: Don’t make a separate list of “DEI goals.” Instead, look at the overall goals you’re considering, and put an equity lens on each of them to see what it changes.
Use that lens when you’re reflecting on what happened in 2022. Don’t stop at “did you accomplish your goals?”—ask if your goals closed equity gaps or maintained or worsened them. If you are a leader or manager, what did you do to advance equity in your organization? If you are an individual contributor, how did you help to promote inclusion in your department this year? Did you learn anything new about yourself or others?
Continue with that prompt for the goals you are setting in the New Year. If you have a goal of professional development for your team, ask yourself what it would take to have an equitable outcome. Is there someone who needs a writing program to strengthen that skill along with the enrichment opportunities that others are receiving? If you have a goal to be a mentor, ask yourself how the needs for mentorship may be more acute in some groups than others, and how you can meet that need. You may refine your goal to explicitly name “find a mentee from a different identity group than my own.”
You can go deeper. Imagine that this equity lens is a trifocal. It can bring three levels into focus: personal, interpersonal, and systemic. At the first level of magnification, consider your inner work. Perhaps you want to increase your understanding of a particular identity with which you are not familiar, or dismantle a personal bias about which you are now aware.
Then, look out at your relationships. How would you like to show up differently with your colleagues when you return to work in 2023 so that you advance equity? You could strive to give critical feedback, across differences, to help someone grow professionally. And be willing to receive feedback, without getting defensive, when someone tells you that your words or behaviors had a negative impact.
At the systemic level, what can you do to make sure that policies and practices in your sphere of influence are equitable and don’t have a disparate impact on a particular group in your office?
Best wishes to you and yours as we celebrate various holidays and close out the year.