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Practical Diversity at Thinking Digital Women


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How do we build inclusive environments that can not just tolerate but positively encourage diverse teams to do their best? We'll look at some practical things you can do to make things better.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Practical Diversity at Thinking Digital Women

  1. 1. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager PRACTICAL DIVERSITY: CREATING SPACE TO BE AWESOME Thinking Digital Women November 2016
  2. 2. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  3. 3. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  4. 4. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager I’m A Bit of a Diversity Statistic  Woman… (working in tech)  Gay…  Foreign…  Employed (this is a bad thing if you’re foreign…)  Disabled…  Atheist…  BUT grew up hugely aware of (unasked & undeserved) privilege I had growing up white in Apartheid South Africa.
  5. 5. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager My childhood was FULL of signs like these Horrible & horrific but impossible to escape
  6. 6. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager I CANNOT DENY THAT PRIVILEGE In fact, the most useful thing I can do is assess, understanding & acknowledge that privilege
  7. 7. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Check out the original article from Peggy McIntosh: In Apartheid South Africa, ALL systems were set up to actively & blatantly give advantage to white folks and disadvantage non-whites. We are less good at spotting this when it isn’t so blatant.
  8. 8. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager “We have to aggressively, and uncompromisingly, attack the pernicious lie that the technology industry is a meritocracy. Perpetuating this myth only serves to bolster the egos of those who have succeeded already, at the expense of saying that people who are underrepresented in tech today aren’t present because they aren’t good” – Anil Dash
  9. 9. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  10. 10. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager NOT DISCRIMINATING IS IMPORTANT Legally, if nothing else
  11. 11. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager BUT TOLERANCE IS A TERRIBLE WORD Would YOU want to be tolerated?
  12. 12. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WOULDN’T A FULLY INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT BE BETTER? PROTIP: Helps Everyone!
  13. 13. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Diversity is a Spectrum Active hatred & discrimination (*isms) Micro aggressions Indifference Active inclusion Tolerance
  14. 14. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager “A micro-aggression is telling young boys that they are very smart, and telling young girls that they are very pretty. ” - Faruk Ates @kurafire
  15. 15. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager So How Do We Move Right Way? 1. STOP allowing underprivileged groups to be pushed away (actively/deliberately OR passively/unintentionally) 2. START building actively inclusive environments
  16. 16. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager EVERY ROLE IS CAPABLE OF VIRTUOSITY
  18. 18. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WE ARE NOT INTERCHANGEABLE RESOURCE UNITS
  20. 20. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  21. 21. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WE JUST NEED A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE
  22. 22. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  23. 23. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager WHAT IF WE THINK OF PEOPLE AND ROLES AS A MATTER OF CASTING?
  25. 25. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  26. 26. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Craft Inclusive Environments 1. Am I EXPECTED here? 2. Am I RESPECTED here? 3. Can I BE MYSELF and BE SUCCESSFUL here?
  27. 27. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Some Things That Work… (some of these surprised me)
  28. 28. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Check the Signals You Send • Logistics matter – do all your events exclude people in particular groups? (e.g. those with caring responsibilities) • People can’t judge your intent – only your actions (you can harm without meaning to) • Language matters (what default are you assuming?)
  29. 29. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Reduce Fear Increasing opportunities is worthy & important. But reducing fear is equally so. (tips: reduce impact of failure, risk of humiliation, acknowledge risk IS DIFFERENT for those in underprivileged groups)
  30. 30. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager EDUCATE YOURSELF & OTHERS ABOUT PRIVILEGE & IMPLICIT BIAS If you keep doing what you always did, you’ll keep getting what you always got
  31. 31. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  32. 32. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Privilege = Difficulty Setting of Game of Life
  33. 33. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Implicit Bias Very interesting Harvard research into implicit bias – we don’t realise it, are not ACTIVELY but rather PASSIVELY discriminating There is a site with tests you can do that reveal your bias:
  34. 34. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  35. 35. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Check If Systems are Loaded Companies that assess effectiveness / performance and then AUTOMATE pay rises based on this tend to reduce the gender pay gap. One interpretation: “Pitching for a pay rise” inherently favours men, who tend to be more confident in their abilities and more comfortable talking up their results. Shy/humble guys suffer too.
  36. 36. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Johnny Clegg They taught us to forget our past And live the future in their image … They said “Learn to speak a little bit of English, Don’t be scared of a suit and tie.” Learn to walk in the dreams of the foreigner. I am a third world child.
  37. 37. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager MOST ADVICE READS AS “BE MORE LIKE A STRAIGHT CIS AMERICAN WHITE GUY” Finding a way to be successful and still be yourself is important
  38. 38. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  39. 39. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  40. 40. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager VALUE THE WHAT OVER THE HOW Know when people need telling what to do (Hint: it’s not often) Help them get what they need the rest of the time (Hint: not just someone else telling them what to do) Learn, practise, use coaching skills
  41. 41. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Frame Guidance Altruistically • Advice which focuses on how to “do better for yourself” has a very limited appeal. (a la “steal more pie”) • Altruistic advice (a la “bake more pie”) appeals to a much broader audience (including non- individualistic cultures…)
  42. 42. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager When We Reframed Networking…
  43. 43. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager As much as 40% better Much energy is spent if you have to hide your private life, or pretend to be something you’re not
  44. 44. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Role Modeling Matters • When a woman presents/represents at recruitment events, more women apply • When you present a monoculture, people make assumptions you won’t like
  45. 45. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager “Did You Always Know You Wanted to Be So Senior?” Men leaders tend to say: “Yes, I always knew I could do more.” Women leaders tend to say: “No, but my mentors believed in me, and I trusted they were right.”
  46. 46. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager The Most Important Question Best predictor of recruitment AND retention? Someone’s ability to agree with: “Someone like me can be successful here”
  47. 47. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Practical Diversity 1) Assume fear. Understand risk. Then focus on reducing. 2) Advise people to bake more pie, not steal more pie. 3) Understand & educate about privilege & implicit bias. 4) Connect people with role models. 5) Grow more role models. Encourage them to be visible. 6) “Someone like me can be successful here?” 7) Tell people you believe in that they can. 8) Tell people you believe in that they are there because of their skills. (no one likes being a diversity stat) 9) Find ways for ALL to be true to self AND successful. 10) Look at whether your processes/systems discriminate. Fix.
  48. 48. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager Craft Inclusive Environments 1. Am I EXPECTED here? 2. Am I RESPECTED here? 3. Can I BE MYSELF and BE SUCCESSFUL here?
  49. 49. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager GO! SHAPE/MAKE SPACE BE AWESOME BE INCLUSIVE And thank you for participating  Need help?
  50. 50. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager
  51. 51. Meri Williams, ChromeRose @Geek_Manager