We are living in an era where logic is sadly often tossed out the car window and backed over a couple times. This lack of clear direction, thoughtful planning, meaningful implementation. and measurable data points is also sadly true for many in the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) space today. It is incredible to see so many organizations investing in new DEI Director roles and committing large sums of money to impact societal change in DEI.
But are we going about this change the right way? This moment in history will be remembered as the time when some took action and made a difference. While others stood by and managed the status quo. But we also want this time in history to be remembered as one where we combined logic with our passion for meaningful impact in DEI.
We’ve all heard that “history repeats itself”, and I sometimes wish that were not true. But the reality is that. in fact, unless we are aware of our history and make conscious efforts to do a better job next time. yes, history will repeat itself. We don’t want history to repeat itself when it comes to matters of DEI. So when choosing the right professionals to help your organizations thrive in DEI, be sure to pick a solution that is truly legitimate. Let’s talk about how to know a DEI program is legitimate. But first, let’s look to history to remind us of the importance of choosing what’s legit over what’s popular or trendy Diversity certification.
A Story of Legitimacy From Our History
Just before the turn of the century (1900, not 2000), the U.S. government commissioned Samuel Langley to develop a craft capable of sustained flight. Given his status as a form of director at the Smithsonian Institute. The U.S. government granted Langley $50,000 in 1898, what today would be approximately $1,500,000. Try as he may, Langley’s well-funded attempts continued to sink, literally.
During one of his most famous and publicized attempts. Langley’s fabled Aerodrome was to be launched off a kind of floating lake barge in a moment of triumph for flight. Langley, and the U.S. government that had just placed it’s hopes in this person and project. Trusting that a well-established Smithsonian director would produce unquestionable results, the eager crowd watched as the plane was sprung from the barge by a large rubber band at the same speed at which it immediately smashed into the water below. Meanwhile, Diversity on a secluded patch of wind-blown sandy beach in North Carolina.
Two brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, were logging successful (and sometime unsuccessful) flights day after day. With just a shoestring budget. These bicycle builders/mechanics from Ohio knew that if they followed the right steps and could display the grit to keep testing. Even when it meant rebuilding time and time again, they would break the code to sustained flight. And they did. While Langley’s well-funded and publicized attempts at flight continued to fall flat, literally, the Wright brothers were secretly recording greater and greater successes day after day.
Now for the interesting part.
The Wright brothers were nobodies. So when they took their success story of plans, models, and tests of sustained flight to the U.S. government. They were politely asked to leave. They had their own person on the job and didn’t want to accept an outsider’s help to achieve their goal. So, the brothers took their incredible success Diversity story to France where they were received as celebrities. staying on the famed Champs-Elysees in Paris, hosting daily flight exhibitions for sold-out stadiums. All the while. Langley continued to struggle back in the states.
These failures would have been a huge blow and embarrassment to all involved. Except for that little psychological block called confirmation bias (our tendency to seek ways to affirm what we want to be true). Ironically, Langley went on to great fame. Before reading this, you may have never before heard the story of the namesake for quite possibly the most well-known Air Force base in the nation. But we would not be where we are today in our advancement in flight technology and capabilities if it were not for those two brothers who were willing to work behind the scenes Diversity, with limited resources, to do things the right way.
They worked day after day, year after year to get it right. And their hard work paid off. Shortly after their exhibitions in France. The world was thrust into a global conflict we now call World War I. Known at the time as The Great War, this global conflict was the first of it’s kind to see the full-scale implementation of airplanes in combat. A shift that would forever change the way wars were fought.
What We Now Know About DEI
Just over 20 years ago, one of the leading scholars in Intercultural Communication. Dr. Carley H. Dodd, started pulling together his notes from his 47-year career as teacher/scholar. While many of the top consulting firms were making millions of dollars. Collecting fees for consulting work in change-management, leadership development, talent-retention, etc. Dodd was perfecting best practices in DEI attitude and behavior enhancement. He spent eight years developing what became the most reliable form of data collection in Diversity DEI.
Well-established and funded organizations were pumping out incredible promotional materials on similar topics. But like Langley’s underwater airplane, these attempts produced an average reliability rating of only 43%. Dodd, on the other hand, was quietly and continually recording reliability ratings of 89, 92, and eventually 93% reliability, more than double the industry standard. But after eight years of assessment development, rather than promoting his findings, Dodd launched an additional 13-year process of testing and training, working with thousands of individuals representing work in over 40 different countries.
And time after time, every single time actually. Dodd’s program produced highly reliable data on individual and group Diversity DEI. And recorded statistically significant improvements in related attitudes and behaviors. Seeing these repeatable results after so many years of testing. Dodd and co-researcher, Dr. Justin Velten, founded Go Culture International to provide a software-based solution to accurately assess DEI attitudes and behaviors and generate high-impact awareness and training to improve attitudes and behaviors around DEI.
The Legitimacy Test
Many consulting firms will tell you that based on their track-records of providing high-level consulting in change-management. Leadership development, financing, and other important topics. They are the right choice for, and have the best solution for solving your DEI challenges. Maybe they do, but maybe they don’t. But before you pay the price for falling for a brand name over proven results. Be sure to ask the right questions about their methods to develop their approach to solving systemic DEI issues. If they can’t show you how they camped in sandy, wind-swept tents on the North Carolina coast while logging flight after flight, year after year, they probably aren’t that legit after all.
Here are some questions to ask when seeking professional help in DEI
- How long have you been testing/implementing your program?
- What is the reliability of your data? (Cronbach’s Alpha Score)
- What is your programs external predictive validity?
- Do you have published data to substantiate high-impact claims?
- How do you measure the impact of your DEI program?
- How does your program help us make data-driven decision around DEI indicators?
- Can you share a success story?
- How can your program serve our number of employees across multiple sites?
- Can you make a measurable impact without face-to-face training?
- Have you tested the effectiveness of your program online versus face-to-face?
These are just a few of the important questions we should be asking any organization or person claiming to have answers to the challenging questions of DEI today. Don’t be afraid to ask these, and other, questions before making a large investment in the future of your organization. Though it has always been the case, for some reason this is the time when we need to get it right in DEI. The cameras are rolling, people are watching, and there is quite a bit of pressure on organizations to not only act. But to act with a duty of care for employees. So are you using a DEI program that is legit?
How Go Culture Passes the Legit Test
Based on past findings in intercultural competence. Go Culture International (GCI) developed a series of 165 relevant evaluation questions and began testing groups of participants. Over the period of eight years, and through the process of regression analysis and on-the-field testing. GCI began to realize a data reliability score of 93% (.93 Cronbach’s Alpha) through a 48 question assessment. This was exciting, because for decades, the best average data reliability was. And still is, only 43%. In addition, GCI was not simply evaluating individual’s on one or two factors. But uncovered what became 15 of the most highly relevant indicators of DEI development.
Actually, and honestly, this was a groundbreaking discovery in and of itself. To be able to evaluate an individual’s aptitudes in DEI at this level of accurate. At this point, most scholars would either put this research on a shelf or rushed to be recognized. But in order to ensure impact, GCI scholars spent the next 13 years developing a rich data set. Testing and retesting the assessment model. And developed and honed the training methodology with thousands of participants representing work in over 40 countries.
Let me tell you how this would work. One of the places where organizations see significant challenges in DEI is in employee relocation. So to test their methods, GCI scholars would collect a group of individuals. From various backgrounds and contexts, and place them in highly stressful cross-cultural situations. Such as spending six weeks conducting humanitarian aide in an impoverished country, or uprooting their families to relocate to a developing country for work.
Prior to these extreme cross-cultural situations. GCI would evaluate each individual, which provided a benchmark. Or pre-test. Based on each individual’s scores in each of the 15 factors. GCI would initiative a series of in-person trainings. Followed by a post-test. This pre-post test method, as you know. is quite common in the process of evaluating program efficacy. Through a mixed-methods research approach. Utilizing both qualitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. Began began to see trends in human attitudes and behavior.
Utilizing data-analysis software like SPSS. GCI continually ran t-tests on pre and post test data. Based on this research and training experience. GCI continually witnessed a statistically significant increase in participant DEI aptitudes every single time they ran a test group through the program. These findings were extremely affirming. But in order to substantiate such claims, GCI wanted to take the next step in data confirmation. A non-biased, third-party post hoc analysis. This is something that is rarely done in research Diversity because it risks the reputation of any study. But GCI wanted to ensure truly accurate data.
This required testing what is called external predictive validity. So after sending individuals abroad. GCI would send evaluations to their in-country hosts to ask about their perception of each participant in order to confirm assessment results are truly testing what they are supposed to test. And that assessment results deliver an accurate depiction of a person’s aptitudes. What GCI found was that the third-party observer’s evaluation was a near mirror-image of pre-departure predictions based on their proprietary assessment.
These were all exciting discoveries. But GCI realized that a model of in-person coaching was only going to be able to help a limited number of individuals. GCI wanted to make a greater impact with their discovery. They knew that online programs reach more people in a single moment. But did not want to sacrifice the legitimacy of the assessment or the impact of the training method just to go online (and this was before you or I had ever heard of this thing called COVID). So they tested.
GCI began a process of evaluating the efficacy of an online version of their assessment and training program. And were pleased to find that individuals who experienced the program online saw a greater improvement in DEI aptitudes from pre to post test than the in-person groups.
It was at this moment that GCI began to realize the breadth and depth of their discovery. A tool that could generate an important impact on generational DEI attitudes and behaviors. These decades of research, development, and testing revealed two major findings:
- When dealing with difficult to evaluate, teach, and discuss topics like DEI. individuals prefer to learn online. This is great news for our current COVID culture.
- Interaction with diversity is not only about understanding the other person. It is a combination that includes understanding oneself and making guided efforts to improve attitudes and behaviors regarding DEI.
These findings continue to shape the work of GCI. Instead of following an antiquated model of producing less than reliable data. Followed by in-person or one-off training sessions, after two decades of dedicated research. GCI can now provide highly accurate data followed by on-demand, needs-based training in DEI. All of this from a smart device, anytime, anywhere. organizations can now provide effective DEI evaluation and training at scale.
Before you take the leap of investing in Diversity DEI initiatives. Be sure you make the right choice. Ask the important questions to ensure you are getting access to the best research-based program on the market today. Don’t be known as the leader who did not do enough about Diversity DEI. Be the hero they need you to be. Check around and make the best investment in the future of your organization by investing in its people.
Learn more at www.goculture.com