MID YEAR REVIEW (CATCH UP)
TIME TO STACK OUR INFORMATION This month I thought it would be valuable for us to take a moment to begin to “stack the information” that we have been discussing. Stacking the information allows us to see how the data connects for us personally and professionally. There is no way to implement these principles into our work organically if we do not personally connect with it. We can think of it like a second language. We are striving to become fluent. When one is fluent in a language, you are able to think in the language, there is no need to translate in your head first before speaking. This is the goal, to ingest and absorb this information such that it is not merely second nature but simply your nature.
All of your organizations have good bones. You do not need an additional “IDEA” structure, you need IDEA to be integrated into the existing structure. YES in some instances there will have to be new policies, practices and procedures developed and implemented but it is not a “tear down” or “new build”. For some you might need to build an addition!
That process looks like:
- Awareness- Our Modules deliver the information and concepts.
- Comprehension- It is yours to begin to unpack that information for yourselves on two levels. The first is what it means to you personally, the second relates to your position, or role in the organization. The exercise to to begin to activate the new lens by layering this information over your current lens.
- Personal Integration- Personal understanding and alignment is ideal. Adopting these principles as your own. and embodying them in one’s personal life allows one to organically carry them into any space they inhabit. This takes us back to the definition of Anti-Racism (the individualized approach to dismantling racism). In this way the work idea is not an afterthought to you personally is the way you walk through the world.
- Professional Integration- if one is able to personally understand and adopt the lens of IDEA as their own, it will be the guiding lens of their work, and not an afterthought in their work. It is akin to religion, and will present as a code of conduct which organically shows up in all spaces of your life including work.
- Professional application- If an organization that is committed to IDEA, ostensibly an employee who is actively and openly working to implement these principles should not meet with resistance.
“The work” should not feel like work
When IDEA is approached as something separate, or apart from our normal mode of operation, it will tend to feel like something “extra”, or “in addition to” what we normally do. This is when it feel like it is more work, and can be taxing. We are working to integrate this information and these principles so that we don’t have to reach for them, and it is not an “additional” step. We should not be designing or building things on automatic pilot only to realize at the end that we have not considered the principles of IDEA, causing us to rethink/rebuild it (extra work), or try to retroactively drizzle elements of IDEA over it to make it look passable. Likewise when efforts are conceived as a reaction to something, or not thought through fully, they tend to be plagued by issues that creep out of blindspots.
When we adopt these principles as our own, when it becomes a way of being for us personally it bleeds over. Whatever we are doing we begin to organically scan our internal IDEA checklist (whether at work or at home) it will become second nature and by default show up in our work. Hence taking the to draw a line of understanding through the points of information is crucial.
Working the Work
This work should take us completely out of our comfort zone. We can not work to implement a new approach on autopilot (using our familiar patterns, using our familiar lens). Even when we have a great concept that should theoretically produce more inclusivity, if we are not infusing the process of design and implementation with our learning (our new lens) it will generally produce familiar pitfalls. When we are trying to move toward the embodying IDEA, we must be truly innovative in our approach. This might look like exploring/expanding ways departments interact and communicate with one another and when, (this can be a wonderful accountability check providing more eyes and perspective at various points in the process). It might require broadening our circles (internally and externally) in the ideation process and not on the back end.
How does it work?
STEP 1: Individually take the time to examine what and how you do “normally” do your work, then examine what that would look like with the lens of IDEA applied. Work to find the areas where this learning can be applied and how. We want our starting point for anything to encompass IDEA, this way we will never have to reverse engineer the principles of IDEA in the end.
STEP 2: Then as a department or team gather together to discuss, and collaborative design ways you can create a template for the practice and application of these principles. Note: It may involve the way you interact with other departments
SUGGESTION: Developing a departmental criteria, or checklist or specific elements of IDEA can help normalize the implementation of the work. These principles should be present in the nascent steps of ideation making certain that you are striving to hit as many points as possible. It is vital that you also take the time to examine existing programs, structures, procedures, etc. to begin to weave these principles into what is already in practice. You don’t always have to throw everything away, or recreate the wheel. Sometimes it is just shining a light and finding blindspots and making adjustments, or simply bringing awareness or a different way of being.
If we are aiming to embody IDEA such that it is embedded into the fabric of our lives and organizations. We must resist the urge to see (or treat) it as separate, apart, it must not function as a separate step.
We should approach IDEA as the key seasoning ingredient in the entree, and not a garnish.
SUGGESTION: Create an intentional step in every process that that pointedly asks where the values of IDEA live in this? Yes it is creating boxes to tick at first– consider it an accountability check until it becomes second nature and an organic part of the process and work. It is also a procedure that can be passed on to new hires so that they understand it as organizational practice.
When treated as an afterthought, IDEA can be like an umbrella we dash back into the house for when we see clouds in the sky, and remember that rain was expected later in the day.
This is a collaborative exercise for each department to examine and identify where they can support the work of the organization in living through its values. For some there will be clear and defined actions that can be taken for other departments (those that are supporting roles – finance, development, wardrobe etc.) it may not be as straightforward. Perhaps this takes the form of accountability, the checks to the balance. Remember sometimes posing the right question, or bringing attention to something that has been overlooked, or sits in a blindspot is invaluable to keeping the organization in its integrity.
Your task is to review the information in each module and begin to chart for yourself how that information connects to the work that you do in your role at your organization and bring your discoveries to the monthly cohort meeting.