In order for behavior to change, there must be behavior change. My sister, Dionnea Seals said this to me, reminding me and encouraging me as I simply asked “What the What?”
I was and have moments of frustration while sitting in rooms (in person or virtual) when people who do not have voices inside the room are forgotten. I have moments of frustration when stereotypes are indirectly shared and applied to me and others about competence, agreeability, combativeness, mathematical inclination, and writing abilities. I always find myself slightly shell-shocked when this happens and disappointed with colleagues in academia and in the workplace who remain silent for job and research opportunities. It damages us all in ways not fully realized.
Discussions surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion will require gate-keepers and their behaviors to change. This looks like a move beyond education and training and other well-honored traditions of pontification. And while those discussions are important. Actual change requires change.
If we are our own clients, we know that change is trained through phases that include instruction – modeling – coaching. Further phases require generalization and maintenance. This is all under the watchful support of a trainer or coach. Movement – schema building – scripts. This and more. That’s why DEI discussions and keynotes are just the beginning of the iceberg melting. We get to change together and get cohesive.
What do we need to do to get to the Behavior Change?
- Get Dirty. It requires us to get dirty excavating fields, laying new soil repeatedly fertilizing it, so that the playing fields become level. This becoming will require re-examination or re-assessment continuously asking those on the playing field how this thing we are creating works for them.
- Use the science to elevate us. Behavior analysis can get us out of our organizational and operational messes. We know enough about Functional Assessments to figure this out. Staying true to the science really means staying true to the science and its applications.
- Operationalize friendship. We throw this word around haphazardly. We have mismanaged what this means. The real-world definition and how we use this inside of behavior analysis is actually job security. We have called people friends for our protection all the while allying and watching these friends continue to oppress within this profession. Realize that allyship and the protection of oppressive behavior cannot co-reside at any level.
- Business Metrics and Outcomes are deeply interwoven in Clinical Quality Outcomes and DEI Key Performance Indicators How true is this? Check your employee hiring, retention, efficiency, and clinical quality. And if truth and systems improvement is a real goal, then hire consultants within the industry to help solve this problem.
- Stop the rollout of new committees and programs. Who will believe this new program when there is a mismatch between the goal of the program and leadership including its visual impact? Hint: check your org chart and your website
- Decide who you are. Playing the game is a misnomer that implies HungerGame survivability. Didn’t COVID-19 teach us (again) the value of living and lives? So why the perpetuation of games to make it in the academy or clinical corporate cultures?
If I am the master of myself, there is no game I play. I am arriving not to play but for the collective work of learning, cultivating, and growing. I have the expectation that we are all here for these reasons. It is beneath my being to acquiesce to Hunger Games cultures described as play.
Silence is an inflicted papercut on ourselves and others because we dare not show up.
Change does not happen from the middle. It starts with a mindset shift. The top-head. Remember this the next time you are asked to lead the DEI committee or workgroup, The evolution of the organism leads to the evolution of the organization. In the case of business metrics and org change, Leading is top-down.
Here are some tools (and links):
- A DEI Leveled Implementation Guide
- An upcoming hybrid conference focused on Behavioral Health DEI measures and implementation practices.
- Consultation Group to support your business processes and practices
Perhaps changing the world is a sizeable bite beyond what we can digest right now. Let’s change ourselves and influence those around us. Let’s examine why we create barriers for people when the existence of these barriers is unnecessary. Let’s examine why we provide verbal damage and dismissiveness to many who reflect the light we don’t yet see in ourselves. Let’s examine our silence…who it serves…and who it damages.
Continue to be empowered!
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash