While some of us may have experienced a profound change, I suspect that most of us were impacted by the stories and experiences that helped us to make gradual, yet meaningful changes in the way we view our personal lives, the organizations in which we work, and even the greater Northwest Arkansas community.
I recall a story that my good friend, Dr. Sir Walter Mack, Jr., shared with me years ago about how thrifty his parents supported a family of five children on a modest preacher’s income. Dr. Mack said that he had only two “leisure suits” to wear to church back in the mid-1970’s as a child. The ever popular “Leisure” suits were permanent-press polyester of various shades of pastel and could be mixed and matched with a variety of accessories to include stylish shoes, socks, belts, and hats to keep his look fresh. He instinctively knew that he was expected to always look his best because he was the preacher’s kid. Therefore, he said that no matter how he felt on the inside, he was determined to look good on the outside. But after his many successes, challenges, failures, and triumphs in life, Dr. Mack learned that the things on the inside are what sustain you. It is your perseverance, faith, integrity, and character that are distinguishing qualities of the most successful people in the world.
When I think about the Certificate of Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion participants – no matter the quantity or how far the distance of the change – any positive change is good. The person with whom we need to be most honest is ourselves, therefore any progress that we make toward sharpening our self-image, the greater good we can offer each other and the community. This is real change; from the inside – out. We will have unlimited potential to impact the organizations in which we work and the NW Arkansas community as a whole, by first becoming more invested in the personal changes we need to make. I have already seen evidence of our accelerated growth in the areas of Diversity & Inclusion.
Here are some of the areas where members of my team have already begun to expand their growth and impact:
1. Becoming more proactive at understanding more about the community and how to make a difference.
2. Diagnosing internal organizational Diversity & Inclusion issues and challenges. Leverage internal committees.
3. Building upon existing organizational data and insights to learn more about various demographic groups.
4. Exploring ways to go outside the “box” in order to foster greater inclusion within the organization.
Unplug and share what’s working within your team/company/organization regarding the four points mentioned above.
Let us continue to seek first to change from the inside, as we move forward to inspire greater change and transformation throughout Northwest Arkansas.