Diversity & Inclusion: “Where Do I Begin?” [536 words]

Many executives tell me they want to “do something about diversity and inclusion” in their companies, but don’t know where to begin. The steps are similar to those of any other major strategic initiative. But leaders tend to put off this work. Maybe their fear of doing the wrong thing keeps them from doing anything. Or maybe they think they can avoid the work altogether, just as they have always done. If you are a leader who has shied away from creating an inclusive workplace, it’s time to find your courage. Your workers can’t wait another minute to feel valued in your organization.

Getting Started with Diversity & Inclusion:
Lead at Any Level’s Blueprint for Belonging™

Step 1: Assess

How do you know which direction to go, if you don’t know where you are? Measuring diversity and inclusion may sound strange at first. Diversity is easy to measure with demographic data. Comparing community, employee, and leadership demographics is a good place to start.

But how do you measure inclusion? That depends on whether you want quantitative data, qualitative data, or both. First, you must realize that every organization’s culture is inclusive for someone. But no culture is inclusive for everyone. You need to know who feels included, who doesn’t, and why.

Step 2: Target

Executives may react to assessment results in a variety of ways: surprised, angry, defensive, or reassured. Whatever the results, now is a good time for executives to reconnect to their organization’s mission. Align the “why” of your business with the “why” of this initiative. In doing so, you’ll find the opportunities for improvement—and know how to communicate the changes to your employees.

Once you know where you stand and what you stand for, it’s time to set goals and identify priorities. Answer questions like these:

  • What do diversity and inclusion mean for your company?
  • How will you know if you’ve accomplished your goal? Or if you’re even on the right track?

Step 3: Plan

By this step, you know where you are and where you’re headed. Now you can create your plan to get there. Identify some quick wins and execute them right away. Your employees will see that you’re taking their feedback seriously. And you can’t stop there. Choose long-term strategies carefully, always keeping your “why” in mind. Be sure to include interim milestones so you can celebrate victories along the way!

Step 4: Do

In this step, you have to move your feet consistently and determinedly toward your goal. You’ll have a lot of options here for interventions. Be sure you’re focused on both systemic changes and personnel development. Expect to see improvements in morale, employee engagement, and employee retention. You can also expect resistance, frustration, and missteps. The growth is all part of the journey.

Need Some Help?

If you “want to do something about diversity and inclusion” in your organization, but you don’t know where to begin, Lead at Any Level® can help! Schedule your free consultation, where we’ll discuss what kind of culture you want to create, what you’ve tried so far, and what’s gotten in your way. You’ll leave this conversation with one practical step you can take toward your diversity and inclusion goals.

Permission to Reprint

Permission to reprint articles by Amy C. Waninger is hereby given to all print, broadcast, and electronic media, provided that the contact information at the end of each article is included in your publication.

Organizations publishing articles electronically must include a live, clickable link within the body of the article to:


For print publications, please mail a copy of the publication to:

Lead at Any Level, LLC
11650 Olio Road
Suite 1000 #391
Fishers, IN 46037

Permission to reprint articles by Amy C. Waninger is granted at no charge with the agreement that:

  • The author’s full bio (see below) is included with each article.
  • One copy of the publication in which the article is published is provided to Lead at Any Level.
  • A fee of $300 per article will be expected for articles published without the closing bio and contact information. Contact info@leadatanylevel.com for an invoice and payment instructions.

Permission is also granted for reasonable:

  • Content editing and addition of industry-specific examples
  • Length
  • Change of article title

For reprint permissions of other Lead at Any Level authors, please email


Amy C. Waninger Author Bio

Amy C. Waninger is the Founder & CEO of Lead at Any Level, where she improves employee engagement and retention for companies that promote from within. Amy offers assessments, advisory services, and training on essential skills for inclusive leaders. She is the author of eight books. Learn more at www.LeadAtAnyLevel.com

Also available for download: profile photos, extended bios by industry

3 responses to “Diversity & Inclusion: “Where Do I Begin?” [536 words]”
  1. […] that mentoring improves culture, both from a broad HR perspective, as well as through a specific DEI […]

  2. […] that mentoring improves culture, both from a broad HR perspective, as well as through a specific DEI lens. On this week’s Lead at Any Level LIVE!, Engage Mentoring’s Yalonda Brown shared her […]

  3. […] leadership allow you or your organization to do or become? Tie the work to your mission. Set measurable targets, and review progress regularly. That’s how you keep your […]