If you are a child of the 80’s you remember D.E.A.R. If you were a Ramona Quimby, Age 8 fan you remember D.E.A.R.
In the olden days, D.E.A.R. didn’t happen by accident. It was a dedicated time in the school schedule. Schedule = priority. Commitment.
Having a regular time to read and learn new information has become increasingly difficult for many busy professionals. Many of them work in cultures that move from meeting to meeting. From Teams to Zoom.
Many clients say that they don’t have time to think, let alone read. Clients want to grow their knowledge but the way their workdays are set up, learning new information does not rank high on their daily to-do list.
How are folks supposed to grow as professionals if they don’t have regular time to learn, vision, think? Especially around subject matters that are new to them — like equity.
Catalyst:ed, a national nonprofit, recently released a report called Supporting Equity-Centered Strategic Learning Practices. I was intrigued by the topic because learning is an organizational cultural norm that varies greatly from place to place. Of course, equity is also something I and my clients care deeply about.
In the strategic learning framework that accompanies the report, one of the recommendations is to allocate a budget and time to support strategic learning. Sort of like a grown-up D.E.A.R. time.
The idea of having a culture of learning that is rooted in equity, that will have designated time and leadership support was refreshing.
I’ve seen some places working toward equity offer organization-wide trainings or author talks. Others have department-level team learnings. Most of these learning opportunities focus on interpersonal relationships. But very few have a deeply embedded culture of learning that focuses on equity in the subject-matter of the organizations’ expertise, management, HR, Finance, etc.
More, please. 😍
What if every organization had a D.E.A.R. culture that prioritized learning about equity in the subject-matter? Maybe, being Black at Work would get safer and start to fulfill some of the promises listed in the equity statements of the past few years. What if the strategic learning time also had elements that were flexible and employee-directed? Now THAT would be a D.E.A.R. time to remember.
Until the tide changes here are three things you can do to prioritize learning about equity in your profession:
- Search LinkedIn, Harvard Business Journal, Standford Social Innovation Review, etc. for articles around equity in your profession;
- Schedule short 30 minute reading times at least once a week. Honor the time and don’t book other ‘more important’ meetings over it;
- Invite a colleague into the conversation about what equity in your field can look like – and use the article as a starting point.
Remember, change doesn’t have to start with big, audacious steps. Sometimes change is more impactful in the small, subtle modeling.
If your organization has begun to allocate time for strategic learning around equity – or if you’ve taken it upon yourself to initiate learning on your own – I’d love to hear how it’s going.
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