It takes integration skills to activate diversity across an organization. Integration opens access for shared values across a wider reach. Unfortunately though, integration skills are not being developed at growth sessions or applied at work, according to research.
In October 2010, McKinsey Quarterly, Aaron DeSmet, Monica McGurk, and Elizabeth Schwartz, wrote:
Participants rarely leave any training program entirely prepared to put new skills into practice. Old habits die hard, after all, so reinforcing and supporting new kinds of behavior after they are learned is crucial. Furthermore, companies typically expect employees to go back to work and figure out for themselves how to incorporate what they’ve learned into their day-to-day activities, which often take up all of their time as is.
Simply stated, many people may attend diversity training, but data shows that few or none of the skills transfer into improved communications at work. Perhaps we should start by exchanging the notion of “training,” for a sense of measurable movement forward. Rather than training, we at the MITA Brain Center prefer the term, growth sessions.
When we start with the target to improve one area of diversity, we’re more likely to end up with skills developed together and ready to apply to that one area of diversity’s need. The key is to build, apply and measure skills to improve diversity’s chances.
Apply skills to integrate
If McKinsey research is right and participants rarely leave training prepared to put new skills into practice, no wonder there is little or no improvement for diversity. Add to that problem, the fact that old habits die hard, and you’d agree that reinforcing and supporting new kinds of behavior learned, is crucial. Furthermore, companies typically expect employees to go back to work and figure out for themselves how to incorporate what they’ve learned into their day-to-day activities, which often take up all of their time as is.
In MITA growth sessions for diversity skills, coaching is suggested as follow-up to ensure skills are applied and measured for improved results. Take the skill that builds integration as an entry point for healthy diversity, for instance.
Since brains integrate knowledge naturally, while humans tend to separate facts artificially, let’s say we approach diversity growth with integration skills as core tools for change. How so?
Integration becomes a linchpin to diversity when workers:
- Change hard and soft skills into smart skills that draw from many different minds.
- Balance decisions between reason and emotion to engage people strong in both.
- Toss multiple intelligences into the mental mix as tools to solve complex problems.
- Value diversity as far more than deficit model by valuing its assets for growth.
When integration finds a finer place at work, then diversity will describe more leading circles and perhaps then we’ll begin to see no brain left behind. As organizations apply brain based integration skills, people will come together with unique offerings to solve multi-layered problems.
Former defense secretary, Robert McNamara says war is flawed by mere rationalism while the brain’s reflective powers, enable us to avoid errors of judgments.
Former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, says that mere rational decision-making cannot mend our economic crisis – out of control from mechanistic reasoning. What do you say?
Who knows – perhaps different cultures, genders, beliefs and values would come together in beneficial peace plans as a result. Or maybe racial differences would fuse into more innovative opportunities at work for all. What do you think?
Measure growth from all newly minted skills
While some say that what does not get measured rarely gets done, others measure too often and without meaning or with results unrelated to solutions sought. Measuring may be a central part of Diversity Growth Sessions, and yet recent studies show that most organizations don’t bother to measure training results well.
McKinsey research finds that only 50 percent of organizations even bother to keep track of participants’ feedback about training programs. Worse, only 30 percent use any other kind of metric. What this means, of course, is that many companies essentially measure the effectiveness of training by asking the participants if they liked it.
What if Diversity Growth Sessions began building new skills to integrate talents as solutions to organizational problems? Would that shift the workplace from silos to diverse communities where more members are valued and rewarded as innovative problem solvers?