Have you ever thought about the similarities between group fitness and DEI?
By group fitness I literally mean exercise. I teach five to six classes a week and love it! By DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion), I’m referring to diverse, inclusive teams and communication across lines of difference– from primary dimensions that you can see such as race or gender to ideological differences to roles within a company.
Here’s the connection.
Yesterday, when I was teaching an aqua boot camp class, I needed to switch the music to a cooldown song to end class. “Keep working your core while I find a song for stretching,” I instructed. “Do your favorite abdomen exercise. The only rule is don’t stop working until I say so (no wonder I love teaching!).
When I looked up, 20 people were doing a dozen different exercises. All fantastic. Each person picked the exercise they liked best and that worked best for their level of fitness.
How does that apply to business?
People see the world from their own perspective. That’s natural. How else would you see the world? Where companies go awry and could use DEI strategy, is when they get stuck in thinking that their way is the best or only way.
There are so many different ways to do something.
DEI says let’s embrace that. Let’s create an environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves and bringing new ideas or ways of doing things.
It’s about creating the space that allows creativity.
In teaching, I often say if you like what I’m doing please follow me. If I like what you’re doing we may follow you. There’s some insight in that for DEI. As business owners and leaders, it’s our role to create opportunities for people to share their ideas and for you to be open to receiving them.