I had the privilege of speaking Wednesday night at this month’s Northside Agileindy monthly meeting. Our focus topic: managing diverse teams.
To be utterly frank, I’m not sure what I was thinking when I agreed to unpack this tense subject. Figuring out how, and what, I was going to talk about was tough.
Early in my IT career, I didn’t recognize the unconscious bias that was all around me. As my life and career have progressed, I’ve realized that diversity and inclusion is not something that just happens, but rather a culture that leaders have to foster intentionally.
The day of the actual presentation was pretty stressful for me. Not because I didn’t know the material or that I had a lot of other things going on, but because I knew what was yet to come that night. I tend to get butterflies before I present, but this time was different.
It seems as though we, as a nation of individuals, are drifting farther apart than ever before. I knew that this meeting could very likely stir up raw emotions. The values of diversity and inclusion, or a lack of it, have been focal points of passionate conversations, violence, and even death for decades.
Fostering an environment of vulnerability and honesty was vital, as I first shared my struggles with acknowledging my own biases. We defined diversity and its benefits for any business. Living the values of scrum aligns with the concepts of diversity and inclusion.
Thankfully, the atmosphere remained engaged, passionate, and constructive.
I had fantastic follow-up conversations with attendees after the event, further discussing the importance of diving into these challenging topics. My underlying hope is that they left feeling that they gained some new insights in addition to a fresh perspective on diversity and inclusion.
I know I sure did.
Thanks, Agileindy, for the growth opportunity.