1. What is Diversity Retraining?
CultureNeutral® Framework in its simplest form is the principles of neutrality applied to culture conflict at interpersonal, group and organizational levels.
Though neutrality has been successfully applied in an array of areas, including business, science, politics, biology, of course in war, it has almost completely escaped serious examination as a viable construct in the cultural/multicultural diversity arena…“almost” because some have touched on it. For example, Lani Guinier at Harvard has for years talked about the need for developing “race neutral” tests for college admissions. But that cannot happen unless test developers are taught the principles and applications of neutrality – and InclusiveWorks™ is currently the exclusive organization teaching them in this context.
2. Is D&I a matured paradigm or just stuck?
The answer is an unqualified “yes.” Many assert that D&I hit its logical limit in the last century, that people are fatigued of it, even that “Diversity is Dead.” While it may not be dead, we hold that it was buried alive decades ago. That would certainly ring hollow if InclusiveWorks® was the only one saying it. Some have recently pointed up stats that show results flat-lined in the 1980s with respect to inclusion in particular. (Steinback & Tomeskovic-Devey) Others, like Howard Ross point out that the vast majority of Diversity programs fail, a handful of loosely defined successes notwithstanding.
If any paradigm matures, yet its adherents are unwilling or unable to seek alternatives, it’s the equivalent of reaching the top floor of a building and continuing to search for the “UP” button on the elevator call panel. Unwilling to consider alternatives to the “UP” button, the occupant is by default stuck in a topped-out structure. “Reinventing UP”, “UP 2.0” or “Transformational UP” won’t help.
3. What is neutrality in the context of D&I?
The late Roosevelt Thomas used the phrase “Diversity Tension” as a euphemism for conflict. The D&I industry has since downplayed conflict as a central element in the “Diversity” construct. The result of conflict avoidance among Diversiphiles created a one-sided open field for Diversiphobes (albeit covert). Diversity leadership are left without an environment, structure, language or tools necessary for a balanced approach to Diversity, forced to take sides in a conflict that comes into organizations from the outside, yet has little to do with the core business of most. InclusiveWorks® promotes and teaches individuals, groups and organizations how to build a “CultureNeutral®” space conducive to an inclusive environment and level playing field not available or likely not even possible in the D&I framework.
4. What has to change to move to a 21st century framework?
a. Face the reality of the massive failure of D&I, and embrace it as learning.
b. Close the door on obsolete 20th Century models, mindsets and methods.
c. Open minds to untried alternatives (ours isn’t the only one).
d. Contextualize the new realities of sociocultural conflict and formulate new objectives.
e. Steel committed hearts and minds for the real and varied cultural challenges ahead.
5. How does InclusiveWorks® Retraining transition from the “Diversity” paradigm?
Diversity programs fail for a variety of reasons, some quite unique to their circumstance, and at an incredibly high rate, as asserts Howard Ross and others. There is no shortage of change models, nor any shortage of possible destinations. Implicit in the term “transition” is a change from one place or state to another destination, or that there is a situation toward which folk can migrate as they move away from their current situation. Selecting an appropriate change model is situational, based on current state and desired destination. But it is strategic leadership that provides the vision and the direction.
When D&I programs fail, transitioning away from them requires no training. Many have done so in a variety of ways ranging from “shamming diversity” to which the late Roosevelt Thomas himself recently pointed, all the way to the other extreme of avoiding D&I programs altogether. The latter may actually be the norm for small to mid-sized businesses. Neither people nor organizations need a framework to merely walk away from Diversity. InclusiveWorks® offers the CultureNeutral® Framework for moving toward a more powerful and proven means of effective cultural interaction.
InclusiveWorks™ instruction in the CultureNeutral™ Framework provides a strategy as much as a transitional model — but is not a one-size-fits-all. There is no one-size-fits-all, just as “Diversity” itself is not a monolith in its varied models of execution or in its objectives.
InclusiveWorks® teaches both a transition strategy and a principled state of being for persons, groups and organizations in dealing with cultural conflict, not merely cultural diversity (differences). “Transition” can be a neutral space between states. It has been a physical space, like a “neutral zone” set between belligerents, e.g., the “Demilitarized Zone” in the Vietnam Conflict. It has also been a conceptual space (not imaginary, but legitimate and tangible) such as exists ad hoc in conflicts where the International Red Cross acts under the neutrality construct to execute their crucial functions, duties and obligations, and within which they exercise their generally accepted rights to conduct their specific and physical, tangible work. Neither of those two examples is either theoretical or metaphorical. They are two of many real applications of neutrality.
CultureNeutral® Framework uniquely provides both a means of transitioning away from an internal state of cultural conflict and of establishing a state-space (or zone) of neutrality toward culture-centered conflict. It is a transitional framework for ejecting the conflict between Diversiphiles and Diversiphobes without rejecting culture. It transitions away from conflict inherent in a differences-based worldview and anchors itself in a success-seeking work-focused worldview (mutual gains). The CultureNeutral™ Framework is based on the fluid, flexible set of principled behaviors, globally applied and well documented over hundreds, even thousands of years…except in D&I circles.
6. What are prerequisites for understanding CultureNeutral® and who is your main audience?
InclusiveWorks® primary audiences include Organizational Development Directors, Industrial and Organizational Psychologists, Mediators and Conflict Resolution professionals, and C-Level Senior Managers. HR and D&I practitioners also find the CultureNeutral® Framework challenging and intriguing. CEOs and CFOs looking for ways to reduce the growing cost burdens of burgeoning D&I programs while increasing cultural efficacy also find the CultureNeutral™ Framework attractive.
7. How does InclusiveWorks® deliver information and learning?
InclusiveWorks® offers a flexible array of delivery options. They vary with group size, the expertise level of the participants, the teaching/learning style expectations and objectives, and of course, budget.
InclusiveWorks™ provides keynote speakers, webinars, lectures, and yes, even the deadly panel discussion.
InclusiveWorks® also employs an engaging StoryBoard exercise methodology for facilitating highly focused issues-based problem solving, in discussion/breakout groups ranging in sizes up to a hundred or so using a minimal number of our assistants. The participant training required for that style requires method orientation, but well worth the investment of time.
InclusiveWorks® will tailor the learning delivery to your needs.
8. How long does it take InclusiveWorks® to present the CultureNeutral® training?
InclusiveWorks® Speakers Bureau public speaking engagements each introduce and explain the CultureNeutral® concept in under one hour in an intriguing and entertaining way.
InclusiveWorks® ninety-minute conference/seminar session provides a thorough introduction of the CultureNeutral® concept as Diversity Retraining, sharing the academic backdrop, providing research and reading for homework ,and suggests applications.
InclusiveWorks® 3.5 hours sessions generate greater depth of learning and embed it through activity-based delivery.
InclusiveWorks® one-day sessions or our two-and a half day immersion sessions provide a more comprehensive learning environment, including a fuller range of applicability options specific to your organization and/or individual professional development needs.
InclusiveWorks® CultureNeutral® Coaching promotes ongoing individual learning of the general implications and applications of neutrality well beyond the narrow field of intercultural relations. The coaching curriculum delves into the use of CultureNeutral® thinking processes in business, law, governance, conflict resolution, diplomacy and international relations and more. CultureNeutral® Coaching is designed to enhance critical thinking skills, increase personal efficacy and responsibility, foster more effective individual and team decision-making, and to help leaders develop highly effective specific success behavior in small to mid-size organizations. Business professionals of all diversities will find the CultureNeutral® Framework of great benefit in professional development, managing their careers, and mitigating the effects of cultural conflict in their organizations and in their communities.
Copyright 2013 Robert D. Jones – All Rights Reserved
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