The Importance of Diagnosing The Right Problem

Inclusive Leadership
Minute Read

Your organization is ready to take the next steps to formulating your DEIB strategy—great! Whether you're not sure how to move forward, or you want to start right away, it's important to take the time to diagnose what is already working, and evaluate any gaps or areas for improvement. Sometimes what we think might be the problem might not actually be the full and complete picture. Auditing current efforts is an essential part of your organization's DEIB journey. 

In 2020, we worked with the Poetry Foundation to help them not only gain insight and information about their communities and existing DEIB efforts, but also provided them with recommendations for initiatives they could implement to best meet their goals moving forward. Through this partnership, their organization was able to become a more inclusive environment for all its members. 

Before providing recommendations, our team took a deep dive into their community to collect various types of information and artifacts. Even before initiatives were in place, this helped their organization with a few of the following things.

Establish a Baseline 

One goal that the Poetry Foundation had before working with the Ethos team was to gain a better understanding of where their organization was starting from as they began their DEIB journey. 

We conducted several audits, including one of  their policies and procedures. We reviewed all different types of documentation such as handbooks, benefits packages, job descriptions, policies, and more. This not only provided the Poetry Foundation with the baseline they were looking for, but it allowed for strategic recommendations to be made based on quantitative and qualitative data.

Better Understand Their Community

A comprehensive audit of their organization wasn't limited just to documentation, it also involved getting right to the heart of all DEIB initiatives—the people in their community.  

Thoroughly getting in touch with the experiences, thoughts, feelings, suggestions, and input of those directly tied to any organization helps to shine a light on what's really needed.

Ethos conducted a survey of the Poetry Foundation's employees as well as interviewed board members, community members, and employees. Through the feedback, much important information was disclosed about the state of the Poetry Foundation's community.

Issues with organizational culture and structure were able to be highlighted, and the community's priorities were able to be brought to light. A DEIB journey for any organization is all about ensuring that everybody involved can thrive, so having all voices heard before you begin your strategy is a crucial step. 

Know How to Move Forward 

With all the information obtained through various audits, surveys, and interviews, the Ethos team was able to make recommendations that really spoke to the exact DEIB needs of the Poetry Foundation. This deep understanding of who they currently are as an organization provides a clear idea of how best they can move forward to meet their goals and make improvements. Uncovering the needs of a community as a whole is important to really make impactful changes that allow everyone to feel heard, represented, and supported. 

In a year, the Poetry Foundation was able to meet a lot of goals stemming from the assessment provided to them. If you would like to read more about the DEIB journey they took, as well as how the Ethos team was able to help with our Assessment and Strategic Roadmap, be sure to check out our case study.

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