It's an Inside Job

Leading with Diversity: Kimiya Sajjadi's Vision for Inclusive Workplaces.

February 26, 2024 Season 5 Episode 9
Leading with Diversity: Kimiya Sajjadi's Vision for Inclusive Workplaces.
It's an Inside Job
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It's an Inside Job
Leading with Diversity: Kimiya Sajjadi's Vision for Inclusive Workplaces.
Feb 26, 2024 Season 5 Episode 9

In this week's episode, we delve into the complexities of diversity and inclusion with Kimiya Sajjadi from Big Enough Global. We discuss the challenges of achieving diversity in organisations. Sajadi emphasizes the critical role of top management and the need for tailored strategies, referencing a Harvard study on diversity. We talk about practical steps for implementing diversity in midsize corporations and the importance of integrating it into the organization's culture.

Our conversation covers strategies for fostering inclusion, balancing team dynamics, and the careful use of language to avoid divisiveness. We also explore how to address racist perspectives respectfully and the role of both majority and minority in creating an inclusive environment. I conclude the episode by underscoring the importance of embracing diversity for a better future.

Kimiya Sajjadi
Linkedinhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/kimiya-sajjadi/overlay/contact-info/
Website:  https://www.bigenoughglobal.com/

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episode, Inside Job, challenges, strategies, fostering diversity, inclusion, organizations, top management involvement, setting goals, integrating diversity, organization's culture, safe spaces, dialogue, microaggressions, promoting inclusion, teams, respectful conversations, racist perspectives, embracing diversity, seeking support, better future

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this week's episode, we delve into the complexities of diversity and inclusion with Kimiya Sajjadi from Big Enough Global. We discuss the challenges of achieving diversity in organisations. Sajadi emphasizes the critical role of top management and the need for tailored strategies, referencing a Harvard study on diversity. We talk about practical steps for implementing diversity in midsize corporations and the importance of integrating it into the organization's culture.

Our conversation covers strategies for fostering inclusion, balancing team dynamics, and the careful use of language to avoid divisiveness. We also explore how to address racist perspectives respectfully and the role of both majority and minority in creating an inclusive environment. I conclude the episode by underscoring the importance of embracing diversity for a better future.

Kimiya Sajjadi
Linkedinhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/kimiya-sajjadi/overlay/contact-info/
Website:  https://www.bigenoughglobal.com/

Tags
episode, Inside Job, challenges, strategies, fostering diversity, inclusion, organizations, top management involvement, setting goals, integrating diversity, organization's culture, safe spaces, dialogue, microaggressions, promoting inclusion, teams, respectful conversations, racist perspectives, embracing diversity, seeking support, better future

Support the Show.


Sign up for the weekly IT'S AN INSIDE JOB NEWSLETTER

  • takes 5 seconds to fill out
  • receive a fresh update every Wednesday

Transcript


[0:00] Music. 

Welcome to It's an Inside Job: Building Resilience Together


[0:09] Back to It's an Inside Job podcast. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
Now, this podcast is dedicated to helping you to help yourself and others to become more mentally and emotionallyresilient so you can be better at bouncing back from life's inevitable setbacks.
Now, on It's an Inside Job, we decode the science and stories of resilience into practical advice, skills, and strategies thatyou can use to impact your life and those around you.
Now, with that said, let's slip into the stream.

[0:37] Music. 

Introduction to the Week's Topics


[0:43] Hey folks, welcome back to a new week. I'm glad you could join me.
Welcome back to It's an Inside Job. I'm your host, Jason Liem.
As you may or as you may not know, this month I've dedicated to a number of topics that I want to cluster together.
That being culture, psychological safety, diversity, and inclusion.
Well, this week, like the last previous weeks, I am privileged to be joined by another expert in this cluster of the field.
So today, I'm privileged to welcome Kimiya Sajadi, the founder of Big Enough Global.
As my guest, Kimiya is a prominent advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and she's based in Oslo,Norway.
In our discussion today, we will delve into the multifaceted challenges organizations face regarding diversity andinclusion.
We'll explore the consequences of lacking diversity, the potential pitfalls of overemphasis due to political correctness, andthe balance between diversity initiatives and practical implementations in organizations, in companies.
Now, our conversation will also address tokenisms, strategies for fostering cooperation between the majority and minoritygroups, the effective ways to engage individuals resistant to change.
Now, Kamiya's insights promise to be enlightening for those seeking to navigate these complex and crucial aspects of ourmodern organizational dynamics. dynamics.
So without further ado, I'm excited to share this content with you, share this conversation.
So let's slip into the stream and meet Kimiya.

[2:12] Music. 

Introduction and Focus on Diversity and Inclusion


[2:26] Welcome, Kimiya. Welcome to the show. Thank you. Thank you so much.
I was wondering if we could kick off our conversations, if you could please maybe introduce yourself and what you focuson, what you do.
Sure. So my name is, yeah, as you said, Kimia.
I'm 25 years old and I'm an entrepreneur living in Norway. way.
And my business is all about consulting companies in both private and public sector on how to work with diversity andinclusion.
So I both help like on the legal aspect and also how to create a strategy, but also like with leadership trainings.
And I do a lot of, a lot of keynotes. Yeah. So that's a very short about what I do.
And brilliant. Cause I think, you know, inclusion and diversity the last 24 months, if not longer, have become more andmore prominent on people's mental radars.
I'm curious, what inspired your commitment to inclusion and diversity?

[3:30] So it started when I was in law school.
And then when we visited different companies, many of my fellow multicultural students, they made me aware that therewas no one looking like us there.
And that was quite shocking for me to reflect on because I had always grown up in like a white neighborhood.
So I had never really thought about me being different because I was like, just used to be different. Right.
So when my students started to like address this as an issue, I started to become more aware.
And then I thought maybe, maybe there weren't any multicultural cultural people because they don't want us.
So I decided that I didn't want to become a lawyer.
And then some weeks later, a managing partner in one of those law firms told me that they struggled to get multiculturalapplicants.
And then I understood that many companies, they have good intentions.
They want more female leaders, multicultural people, disabled people, and so on.
But it kind of stops there. They just have good intentions, but they don't make them into good actions.

[4:39] And that was kind of how my idea started on creating a business that could help companies to work with diversityand inclusion.
And what's really funny and interesting is that I didn't know what diversity and inclusion was before I started to work withit.
Like first, after some months, I could put like a label on it.
When you go in and you talk about diversity, is it more ethnicity?
Is it more gender?
Or do you specialize in one specific area or do you take in the whole spectrum? Yeah.

Expanding Focus on Diversity as a Whole


[5:17] So when I first started, I was only working with the multicultural, the aspect of that.
And then I started to realize that many of the structures and problems that hindered multicultural people were alsostruggles and barriers for other minority groups.
So let's say bias and discrimination and unfair processes.
So that was when I started to focus more on like diversity as a whole and focus on how can you build organizations thatare fair and inclusive for all.

[5:51] But when I work with an organization, I really want them to first like make a risk analysis and understand like whereare our biggest issues.
And for some that can be like for women, for other that may be for like gay people.
And then when we have mapped out where the problems are then we start to work on the issue kind of yeah so if if youknow if we look at the global stage and a lot of western nations look towards scandinavia such as uh sweden norwaydenmark and you can see there is being a huge focus towards gender equality within the workplace it is far from perfectbut it is it is almost a a model of what a lot of Western countries move towards.
So, I mean, I was wondering about your aspect to that.
And when it comes to sort of whether it's straight or gay, you know, when I'm in and out of organizations, I see these arenot questions that tend to pop up when it comes to gender or someone being gay or being straight.
I was wondering, what's your perspective when you because you mainly focus in Norway, correct? Correct. Just to, yeah.
Could you speak a little to that? How you see that gender equality has evolved from your perspective?

[7:09] So I've only been like in the business, let's say, for three years. So I'm quite new.
So that's why I don't have like so much historical background to say like how it has evolved.
But I would say that we see that the progression is very good in Norway and that gender equality has become better andbetter.
And I think a part of that is because of the legislation, but also because we have very good conditions when you takematernity leave.
And on the aspects where we have not managed to improve yet, like in the boardrooms.

[7:49] We now have a historical change in the law that forces companies to have 40% women in the boardroom.
So this will affect the society much.
And finally we also have um i was going to say one thing but yeah so this is this is the good things right and then we stillsee in norway that men are equal career-wise they're like equal until they get children and when they get children then thewoman falls behind and that's that gap kind of like follows the women throughout their career so we still have like aproblem when it comes like after having kids yeah after having kids that's like the trouble starts yeah so when you go in asa consultant when you go in as an advisor and and organizations or just simply small or large organizations that look wewant to think about more about diversity and inclusion on maybe maybe different levels other than just sort of disabilityand gender and sexual orientation, which are all important, but when it comes to ethnicity and such, how do youencourage them to build?
What are some concrete practices or things that they need to do or would like to do to encourage more diversity?

[9:15] So I think the first very important thing that's also like talked a lot about in the research is to have like topmanagement to be involved in this work, because they are the ones that are going to dedicate both time and resources towork with it.
So as a consultant, I see that in those companies where we have like the top management on board, it's like so comfortableand good working with this topic.
But in those organizations where we don't have them on board it's like such a struggle such a struggle to manage anythingso that's the first thing and the second thing um it's like continue i don't know what it's like in english but it's like it has tobe something that goes over a time it has to be continuous so a mistake many organizations do is that they have like oneone workshop or one speech or one leadership training, but that's not enough.
It has to like go over everything.

[10:14] Over time yeah yeah over time so that's the second thing and the third thing it's really important to have like allleaders on board and they really need to own this work and with that i mean that they need to understand like what are thebarriers in my team and what are the measures that i can implement and harvard has actually done the research on this andit's very interesting because they see that diversity training doesn't work but you can make it work if you like don't forcetheir leaders and you let the leaders um own their own measures so that that's why i'm a bit careful to say like do thismeasure or do that measure because let's say in an in den be which is a bank and then you have like this small group offive people in a small city they need other measures than like a group in.

[11:07] Like um in a big city yeah in a big city that maybe work with doctors and so on so it's so different the barriers yeahso that's the thing and then the fourth thing which I think is really important is to follow up the work so you need to havelike concrete goals and then you need to follow up to see like did those measures help us achieve those goals or notbecause that's actually the only way you can see like if the measures you're implementing actually have an effect or or notand and I think a huge problem when it comes to diversity and inclusion is that we just implement all of these measureswithout knowing.

[11:46] Actually what the problem is or if they lead to any effect in our organization.

[11:52] And it's interesting what you're saying, because what I hear is that it has to be baked into the strategy.
It has to be part of the DNA of the organization or the team.
It can't just be one workshop because there are, I agree with you with that Harvard study, but also from experience whenyou run a diversity workshop and it's just, you know, The intentions are noble, but unintentionally what it does is createmore division. It creates – people don't want to –.

[12:17] It becomes politically sensitive. If I say this, then I'm going to be seen as a racist or a sexist or an ist of some sort.
But if it's baked into the culture, if it becomes part of the culture, as I understand what you're saying, Camille, is that thenit becomes part of the DNA of the thinking of that organization or team. Is that what I understand you're saying?

Building a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion


[12:37] Yeah, exactly. And that culture needs to be built over time.
And then you have to take it step by step.
So with my clients that I've been working with the longest time, it's like we always need to start like with a small speechand then we will share some articles and then we will go like more intense into it.
Because if you're like if your organization never has heard about diversity and inclusion before and you're like, OK, we'regoing to do this leadership training. Everyone is going to participate.
Then it will be a lot of resistance. distance yeah so as you said you you take sort of maybe broad strokes and then you getmore you kind of funnel it you get more and more specific so does this help to move it beyond just sort of the flavor of themonth or sort of as buzzwords because we can fall into a lot of sort of management speak or corporate speak where theintention is there but it seems very sort of superficial and it doesn't have depth.
So I know it's, it's very specific, but sort of, if we look at a general template, how long does it take sort of a midsizecorporation or organization to get to a certain level of diversity and inclusion?
I mean, is it, is it over years? Is it months?
I mean, from your experience, can you speak a little to this?

[14:00] Yes. So with my clients that like have had the most impressive results, I see that maybe like after one or one and ahalf year, they become like really good.
And what they do is that they have something about diversity and inclusion in all of their leadership, in all of theirleadership sessions.
They have something about diversity and inclusion. so this comes up several times a year and also each time they gatherall of the employees they have something about diversity and inclusion and they will have like own seminars or webinarsabout it as well so they like really put in an effort for both the leaders and the employees and then they will also do as isaid the risk analysis and implementing the measures so when they do that like after a year and a year and a half they cansee like the effect and also i want to.

[14:57] Say that with one of the organizations i worked with they were going to like hire 300 people during the next yearso obviously we got like a huge effect because we could affect it a lot but with other organizations i work with maybethey're just going to hire two people right so then they cannot affect the diversity part but it's always possible to affect theinclusion part always the inclusion part yeah and and so if if we are a team of eight and let's say we're a mixed culturemixed bag different people how does a manager how does he or she encourage that inclusion i mean if we had to talkabout a meeting room can you get a little more more nuts and bolts.
What needs to be asked? What needs to be addressed?
How should someone do this? If they're thinking about this for the first time and they're thinking, okay, there's a lot ofwords here and it's well-intentioned.
I understand what he and what these two are talking about.
Paint me a picture. What's going on?

Practical Steps to Encourage Inclusion and Address Barriers


[16:02] So what I would do concrete as a leader, I would first have like a session where I talked about what diversity andinclusion means, why it is important.
And I would also talk about typical barriers with examples.
So I would talk about, let's say, unconscious bias and discrimination.

[16:18] Microaggressions, and then give some examples to that, which I know that my team will like understand and feel intheir hearts.
And then I would ask my team, OK, so first of all, what is the barriers in our team?
I've done this session with so many organizations.
What are the barriers in our team? And then you will see them coming up with like the most incredible things that youdidn't even think about.
Maybe that the clothes in your organization are not suitable for women or pregnant women, right?
Or it was very interesting. I worked with an organization and they had like night shifts and there weren't any labs.
So the women, when they were walking in the night, they were very afraid when they were working night shift.
So then they understood okay this is a barrier for women's security and this is something that they could never haveunderstood if they didn't ask their employees right and then when you have maps kind of like what are the barriers that myteam members are like is important for them then you can ask them okay what kind of measures can we do to solve thesebarriers let's say and then And what can I do as a leader and what can you do?
Because often the responsibility is only on the leader.
But it's very important that the employees also take their fair share of the responsibilities.
And then finally, I would like to follow this work up after some months just to like see how things improve.
What can we do better? And so on.

[17:47] So you spoke something to about sort of cognitive biases or implicit biases, but you also spoke aboutmicroaggressions.
For people who are not familiar with the term microaggressions, could you explore and expand on that term?
Yeah. So discrimination, I would say is like a more severe form of microaggressions.
Microaggressions can like be that you You talk in a bad way to someone.
So it's not like discrimination, but you're still not treating them good.
So it's like the small acts that are not nice to do to people, but still doesn't like qualify as discrimination.
So it could be like gaslighting, tone of voice, mannerisms such as that, maybe even talking down to them or a little moresarcasm than usual.
And then maybe it also can be like in a meeting that's always like the elder people get to talk or the men get to talk andnot the younger people or like the female it can be like those small stuff yeah what i'd like to do now is to sort ofchallenge i think diversion and then inclusivity are are noble forms but i think like a lot of things if it goes too far.

Navigating Tokenism and Finding Balance in D&I Efforts


[19:03] It can create a downside that was not not expected i mean how do you navigate the potential for sort of tokenismright we'll just say oh okay we need for myself i'm half chinese and so let's say it's a group of caucasians says okay weneed a half chinese guy in here with his expertise and i come in there how do we avoid this tokenism so first of all i wantto say like Like, in my opinion, if you look at the U.S., it's very like black people, white people, you know, like Chinesepeople.
It's like very segregated in my way.
So I think something that has gone wrong there is that we focus too much on the differences. Right.
But I think that in Norway, we focus too much on the similarities.
So in Norway, we want to say, oh, everyone is the same.
I don't see color Kimya I don't even see you being brown because I don't see it you're the same so I think to to stop usfrom going into a wrong direct direction is important to find that middle way between like everyone is the same andyou're different because you're brown you know and.

[20:18] It was done a study last year which was in Norway which was called the correlation between between ethnicaldiversity and economical growth.
And what they found out is that it becomes like economical beneficial.

[20:33] If you have inclusive leadership.
And one aspect of that inclusive leadership was exactly as I say, to find that middle way between both seeing thedifferences, but also acknowledging the similarities.
So you don't become like that Chinese guy, but you become an equal part of the team, if that made sense.

[20:53] Yeah, because, you know, like I'm from Canada originally, and what we see sometimes is sort of almost a reversediscrimination.
And that creates animosity or at least an undercurrent of animosity between people and creating more division.
But then there's this political sensitivity. No one wants to address it.
And so to find a balance between what you're speaking about, I think it's not so easy. And again, I think everyone'sintentions are noble, but unintentionally things can go sideways.

Language and Communication in Diversity and Inclusion Work


[21:26] You spoke a little too about finding this balance, but how does someone pragmatically and practically find, strike abalance between having diversity, inclusion, and different skin tone, colors, or different genders and on a team?
I mean, what are some of the practicalities we have to consider to strike this balance?
It's it's a tough question i know yeah so my first reflection is that one important thing is language i think language has suchan enormous power and we don't think about it i see a lot of people working with diversity and inclusion are like oh whitemen they're such and such and oh norwegian people they're like that you know it's so much language used to like hate onthe let's say majority and I think if you address the diversity and inclusion work with like hate and with creating likesegregation kind of then that will that would create a lot of tension so.

[22:31] Let's say just an example when it comes to elder people researchers have found that it's accepted to talk bad aboutelder people right you can say like oh old people they are outdated and no one will like say it's not okay for you to say andthey do that they talk bad about elderly people because they want to lift up the young people and for me it's like you don'tneed to talk bad about white men over 50 or elder people to lift up either women or young people so so yeah I think Ithink language is a very important part of it.
I think that's a very astute point.
It's you know, we don't tear one group down to build up another because again, you're you're just as a form of reversediscrimination.
In this case, what you speak to is ageism, right? Yeah. Over the youth.
And I would also give another example. So when this law came.

Arendalsuka: Discussions on Gender Diversity and Stereotypes


[23:27] Which is now forcing boards to have 40% women.
And then we have something called Arendalsuka in Norway, where all of the organizations and companies, politicians,everyone like come together for one week. And then...
Arendal is just a city in the South of Norway, just to clarify that. Yeah. Yeah.
So Arendalsuka is like the week in that city. The week of Arendal.
Yeah, yeah. Where you have the discussions.
Yeah, sorry about that. Yes. Yeah, no worries. And then everyone that was going to talk about this law and why it's good,they they were just talking very bad about men.
They were like saying, oh, in my opinion, all of the female board members I've seen, they're much more like competent.
They do their work much better.
And I was just sitting there thinking like, oh, my God, they're like 50 percent men in the room.
And you're talking shit about all of the men reports you've seen of course these men will end up hating you know womenand this work like if someone would talk about how shitty they experienced multicultural people just to lift up let's say idon't know gay people i would hate them as well so so this is like a huge dangerous thing that a lot of leadersunfortunately do with the best intentions with the best intentions but i i think it's just uh you know people speak toopinions and a lot of the times they don't look at the facts as they're presented.

[24:56] And that i that's why i think this is um when you're talking about diversity and inclusion i it's it's it's it's a minefieldand you have to be careful again with the language and the rhetoric we throw around because at the end of the day youmay be just that seesaw you might to actually put any weight instead of finding that integration and balance it makesthings worse i think what you said it's very important the war on words you know it that's why i think it's it's such a that'swhy i wanted to get your opinion on this invite you on the show i've talked to some cultural experts from singapore anddifferent places and this is going to be a part of that cluster of the but i think it's just so important because when peoplelook to norway you do see.

[25:44] Forward thinking when it comes to gender or sexuality or what have you.
And it is, I mean, it's naturally people are going to think, well, Norway or Sweden, they are naturally, you know,ethnically Norwegians are a certain race and there is a minority and it's to include this.
So I think this is very important. So let me ask you this.
One of the questions that I pose to cultural experts, and I'll pose it to you as a diversity inclusion expert is that how muchdoes the majority have to actually bend to the minority or how much is the minority actually have to step up to themajority.

Balancing Majority-Minority Responsibilities in Diversity and Inclusion


[26:22] I love this question. So, and I love this because I think that when we talk about diversity and inclusion, we focustoo little on what the minority's responsibilities are.
Let's say, for me, if you live in Norway, you have to learn Norwegian.
And many people think maybe that's controversial, but I'm like, it's not controversial to ask you to learn the language inthe country you're living in.
So I would say that as a minority you need to let's say learn the language if you're multicultural you need to learn like umwhat are the rules uh how how should I behave I've worked with organizations where you know you have leaders comingfrom another country and they are used to hierarchy and then they will use that leadership style in Norway and that willnot work so so I I think like you need to adapt to the organization culture as a minority and then I think the organization'sresponsibility is to have fair processes and they need to see like what are the must-haves and what what are the good tohave and they need to kind of let people be themselves.

[27:35] To that extent where it doesn't interfere with your job and let me give you a concrete example Last year there wasthis debate if people should talk, it's called Kebab Norsk.
It means in English like Norwegian in a.

[27:55] I don't know. Do you know? Yeah, I know. I understand. It's like it's like I used to work in inner city Chicago withgang.
And so they'd have their own type of English per se.
Right. But it would be filled with street slang.
And then what have you? Yeah. So this was the question, like, can you speak Norwegian in that way?
And many people that are working with diversity inclusion said, yeah, you must be yourself so you can speak howeveryou want.
But for me i was like okay if you work in a corporate law firm there are very strict rules on professionality and how you'regoing to talk with your clients if you're going to land those clients so no if you're going to work in that kind of job youneed to adapt but okay let's say if you work in another sector maybe you work in a kindergarten or whatever where it's notso important then you can speak that kind of norwegian so that's why i mean like you cannot not be your full whole selfhundred percent of the time because you need to adapt to what's like critical to the organization for them to succeed withtheir task again i think that's another astute point you've made uh give me up because i think you know we all havecultural norms you know whether it's uh ethnic or religious or the neighborhood we come from but when we're movinginto and let's let's let's just to qualify this in a corporate professional environment environment.

Establishing Clear Expectations for Cultural Norms in Organizations


[29:16] Then there are certain expectations that you have to step up for, right?
And so I think what is very important, and it sounds like you've spoken to this, is where we take cultural norms, right?
Everyone's got their own cultural norms, but if we are going to work as a multi-faceted organization or multiculturalorganizations, we're going to have to find our own team norms.
We need to set these team norms and it may be a certain level of language where you have to articulate yourself in acertain professional manner is that what i understand you're saying yeah as you say clear expectations is very importantand that doesn't only benefit like the minorities it can also benefit the majority like what are the key expectations from youhere and besides that you can do whatever you want another key example i was working with people that are firemen andfirewomen, it's like one key criteria there is that you always, when you're on duty, you have to be like awake and feelgood.
So that means if you're fasting during Ramadan.

[30:21] And that will make you tired. You cannot do that because your most important thing when you're on duty is to beawake.
But that's also the case. You cannot on Christmas Eve, if you're on duty, eat so much that you cannot move.
Or drink so much that you can, right?
Exactly. So clear expectations isn't like only for minorities.
It can also benefit the majority.
Yeah. And I think that if you create a standard, if you create norms of that team or that organization, and we stick to itthen it's like it's like playing any sport the rules are clear when you're out of bounds or you're in bounds or when you scorewhen you don't score i think clear expectations create certainty and certainty means you have clearer communication youunderstand what the situational awareness is yeah and but i will say like something for like the defense of leaders becausei'm a leader myself and i feel often like most of the work is for me as a leader to know What kind of expectations do Ieven have?
Sometimes it can go months after months thinking, what are the most important expectations here?
So I think many people underestimate how difficult it can be to set those expectations.
You really need to have that inner reflection. You need to put time aside to find those expectations.

[31:39] And I think you need to also adjust and change them as you go.
And maybe it becomes easier for those who have many years of experience probably yeah you know when you weretalking about you know where people could sit down around the table and and address some of the elephants in the room ithink that is not so easy to do it sounds easy when we're talking about it but in practice you need to establish a certainlevel psychological safety and trust because all of a sudden you know you can understand sometimes like it where themajority of the population here is caucasian and they feel they can say something like sometimes people feel it's hard tosay something because all of a sudden they'll be labeled as racist oh you're you're the you're the white person you'resaying this about us that's so racist when their intention is not to be racist but it's just to be clarified to address the elephantin the room so we can have have a candid conversation to address an issue, to find an issue.

Creating Psychological Safety and Trust in Teams


[32:41] I mean, what do you do to encourage trust and psychological safety where we can reach such sensitive matters inorder to create better team norms so we can work as a team as effectively as possible?
So I think that's one of the reasons people hire me as a consultant, because I really help to create that psychological safety.
Safety and one of the things I do is is just to say like this is a safe space and I'm not here to judge anyone and nothing youcan say can hurt me and everything that's said is like in the room and we must remember that if we are not allowed to sayour open minds and what we think about these thoughts will lead into actions which are which which are much worse so Ireally try to to talk about the importance of being honest in the beginning and also another thing i i really believe can helpis like where are you sitting to have that workshop i've seen such a huge difference between workshops we have in likecasual places maybe in a cafeteria and you know workshops that are in really stiff leadership rooms so location also doesmatter and um and yeah i really think I think having an external person to lead the session can be important.

[34:08] Yeah. And if you don't have that, like I've been a leader for many years, I think it's important to establish that safetyand encourage feedbacks from the very beginning to establish that culture where people can speak up their mind.
With your consultancy services, to bring it back to you and your business, if people are interested in hiring you or hiringyou and your company what is a minimum effort or minimum length of time they need to establish?
Now I know this is very tailored depending upon the size of company but let's just say it's a company of 50 people mainlyethnically Norwegian but they want more diversity.
What kind of length of period of time are we looking at?

[34:54] Again, it depends on what they want to achieve. Like, do they want to build a strategy? Do they want to becompliant?
Do they want to do like a leadership training?
But it can be everything from like, I don't know, two hours to six months or one year.
And how I work as a consultant is that I just give the company the tools and then I will just follow up them doing what wehave planned to do. too.
So I'm not the kind of consultant that go in and do the work myself.
I will just say this is the plan. This is what you should do and why you should do it. And then we will have like followups.
So, yeah. And I would just like to say one more thing about the psychological safety part.

Handling Perspectives and Conversations on Sensitive Topics


[35:40] Like, I think what's really important is that when people share perspectives that are racist, exist how you meet thoseperspectives are so important I've been in a workshop where a leader just said to me I can hire whoever but I refuse to hiresomeone with a hijab he was like I refuse and he said that like in front of the CEO in the organization and I saw thateveryone around the room was shocked but I was really like okay why do you think so you know I was meeting him withlike like love and respect and just, you know, having nice conversation.
And then at the end of the workshop, he said that he wanted to change his behavior and start to like hire people with ahijab. But if I would meet him with like, Oh my God, you old man, you're such a racist.
You know, he would like never change his mind.
So you really need to like detach yourself personally from the situation.
If you're going to lead that session well and make everyone feel like they're heard even though their perspectives are likeracist and then you need to try to work on it.
You know, time and time again, you know, as you know, this this this podcast focuses on resilience and different ways itshows up.

[36:59] And Camille, and what you just said there is very relevant because, you know, when I go in at working as asparring partner, it's just what you said.
A person needs to feel understood, heard and respected regardless, because maybe he or she doesn't mean to come off asracist, but that's their language.
That's how they speak. sometimes what i ask i never ask why do you think that if i want to get direct reason i'll ask whatare the reasons so i'm looking for an explanation not a justification but another sometimes i say i'll sometimes ask them astory-based questions like i'm curious how did you come to that can you walk me through it so they tell me a story ofwhatever the hijab or whatever right about whatever their conundrum or challenge is then i can start understanding thesort of the bread breadcrumbs of what led them up to that conclusion right i think it comes back to a salient point youmade where they feel heard and understood and obviously you respected this gentleman and what you what did you doyou didn't push him into the corner no you invite him into the center of the ring and you could you could explore togetherand he was much more willing to change his way of thinking right because all of a sudden it sounded like what you didwas shine some light on maybe where he was maybe ignorant or microaggressions or some sort of implicit bias he hashad.

[38:24] Exactly. So it comes down to the quality of the conversation.
And as you said, the language we choose.

[38:30] Yeah. And also, I believe you need to be patient. For instance, I had this 14 year old girl with me on the work weekand she said that she was against gay people.
And I think I spent like six hours of that week talking to her and asking her questions, why she felt that way and so on.
And after those six hours and one week she like finally said that no you're right everyone deserves like to be respected forwho they are but i really had to spend six hours so it's not an easy job no but i think it's also i think also it's also to thinkabout whether it's a minority or majority they're just some people are so so stuck in their thinking they're just so groundedit in their opinions that their convictions they think is law whether it comes to gay rights or equality or whatever andsometimes i i don't like to say it but sometimes it's best to find someone else and just just leave it alone because it's notworth the investment because the the dividends are not there i mean it's like trying to like get blood from a stone i thinksometimes i think that's just what i you have to call it sometimes and it's best to sometimes understand that But OK, somerocks can't be moved.

[39:55] You know, I spent 10 years to make my mom accept gay people and she finally did after 10 years.

[40:04] Yeah. But if you work for an organization, I don't think anyone's going to pay you 10 years.
But I get what you're saying. I completely understand what you're saying.
But again, I agree. Maybe some people are lost case, but...
And I think I see anger in a lot of people that are working with diversity and inclusion.
They're like filled with so much like anger, anger.
And I think that anger comes from like you try to turn those stones that that cannot be, you know, turned.
But when you really manage to make that change after 10 years or six hours, it really gives you like the courage to like,you know, it's possible.

[40:47] Yeah especially when you when you do one score it changes your belief it changes your expectations that okaythings can move forward but it is sometimes trial and error i mean you need to find sometimes i think a bespoke approachas you said you can't just have one template for all companies you have to understand what they're trying to achieve andtheir goals based on whatever exactly yeah i'm very respectful of your time is there any last advice or suggestions youwould would like to leave with our listeners today?

[41:17] I want everyone that are asking themselves like, why should I work with this?
Think about like, what kind of world do you want to live in?
Do you want to live in a world where it's like a lot of division and hate between different groups?
Or do you want to live in a world where it's like one united family, you know?
And what's beautiful about that is that you know everyone is going to get old anyone can get a kid that has disabilities oris gay or whatever so all of us sooner or later will be a part of that you know diversity dimension so you're really helpingto create the world where like you and your loved ones can thrive in and i think that's so much more important that thendiversity leads to innovation and economical growth that really gives like much more of a personal motivation in myopinion well camilla i think uh what you said today and i think our discussion though short was in depth and we weexplored a lot of topics so all i can suggest is keep up the a good fight.
Keep up the good effort. I think we need more of this.
And to those listeners out there, it's not an easy walk, but you're only a phone call away if they need some help, right?Some support.

[42:42] Yeah. And just feel free to follow me on LinkedIn because I also do publish a lot of interesting things there aboutdiversity and inclusion.
Thank you very much for your time today, Kim.

[42:52] Music. 

[42:59] Folks, as we wrap up this insightful conversation I had with Kamiya, we've navigated the intricate landscape ofdiversity and inclusion in organizations.
Kamiya, a passionate advocate in this field, you can hear it in her voice, the vivaciousness.

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations


[43:13] Well, she's brought to light the various challenges and potential pitfalls that organizations face.
From discussing the repercussions of insufficient diversity to addressing risks of overemphasis of political correctness,We've covered a spectrum of crucial topics today.
We've delved into the nuances of tokenisms. We've explored strategies for effective collaboration between majority andminority groups.
And we've also discussed approaches for engaging with individuals resistant to change.

[43:44] You know, Kamiya's expertise has illuminated the importance of a balanced and thoughtful approach to diversityand inclusion, highlighting its critical role in the evolving dynamics of our modern organizations.
Her approach to implementing diversity and inclusion in organizations is comprehensive and dynamic.
It begins with defining what these concepts mean specifically for an organization, ensuring a clear understanding and atailored approach.

[44:12] The second step focuses on education, where barriers such as unconscious biases, discrimination, andmicroaggressions are addressed, and a platform is created for employees to share their experiences.
Well, this leads to a third step, which is about fostering ownership across all levels of the organization.
Here she encourages asking critical questions about breaking down barriers and what roles leaders and employees canplay.
Now, the final step involves continuous reassessment.
It's about understanding the improvements made and to identify areas for further development.
This four-step process ensures a deep-rooted integration of diversity and inclusion within the organizational cultureleading to a more meaningful and sustainable outcomes.
Well folks, I hope you learned a lot from that conversation because I surely did.
And a personal thank you to you, Camille, from me for taking the time to share your experience, your thoughts, yourknowledge, and parts of the process that you walk organizations through.
I highly encourage any leaders, managers, or organizations out there who are focused more more than ever now, on thesetopics of diversity and inclusion.
Reach out. Reach out to Camilla. I will make sure all her contact information is in the show notes.
And until we continue this conversation next week, keep well, keep strong, and we'll speak soon.

[45:35] Music. 


Welcome to It's an Inside Job: Building Resilience Together
Introduction to the Week's Topics
Introduction and Focus on Diversity and Inclusion
Expanding Focus on Diversity as a Whole
Building a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion
Practical Steps to Encourage Inclusion and Address Barriers
Navigating Tokenism and Finding Balance in D&I Efforts
Language and Communication in Diversity and Inclusion Work
Arendalsuka: Discussions on Gender Diversity and Stereotypes
Balancing Majority-Minority Responsibilities in Diversity and Inclusion
Establishing Clear Expectations for Cultural Norms in Organizations
Creating Psychological Safety and Trust in Teams
Handling Perspectives and Conversations on Sensitive Topics
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations