Rebel Human Resources Podcast

RHR 127: The Soul of Diversity Work is Dangerously Close to Being Lost With James Rodgers and Laura Kangas

November 22, 2022 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 3 Episode 127
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
RHR 127: The Soul of Diversity Work is Dangerously Close to Being Lost With James Rodgers and Laura Kangas
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Check out Kyle's interview with pioneer diversity consultants James Rodgers and Laura Kangas - together they believe the soul of diversity work is dangerously close to being lost. DEI work is getting a bad reputation – because it's not being done right. 

Co-authors of the new book, Diversity Training That Generates Real Change: Inclusive Approaches That Benefit Individuals, Business, and Society [Berrett-Koehler, July 26, 2022], Jim and Laura exemplify the power of deliberate diversity. Their goal is to spark a worldwide revolution of informed practitioners, employees, and business leaders who will demand diversity training be given the same time, resources, and attention as any other critical enterprise initiative.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dr. James O. Rodgers is recognized as a thought leader and the leading strategist in the field of diversity management. As the president and principal consultant of The Diversity Coach, he provides high-end executive coaching, DEI advice, and counsel to senior executive teams from major corporations in all industries. 

Laura L. Kangas is an international DEI organizational and management development consultant, workshop and program designer, facilitator, speaker, and writer. Through her company, RiverBend Associates, Inc., she has collaboratively developed strategies and leading programs in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and other areas of individual and organizational training and development for over 25 years. 

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

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James Rodgers:

identity is not a competence. So you don't get good at this work simply because you show up in brown skin or in female gender, you get good at this work the same way you get good at any work by study and practice, study and practice. Laura and I have been at this 35 years plus, we got good at it because we dedicated ourselves to getting good at it. And I'm not good at it because I'm a brown skinned man, and she's not good at it because she's female. We're good at it because we dedicated ourselves to perfecting this discipline.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe my favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review revelon HR rebels. Welcome back, HR rebels extremely excited for the conversation. Today we are going to be talking about diversity training. Joining us today we have James Rogers and Laura Congress, they have co authored the new book diversity training that generates real change, inclusive approaches that benefit individuals, business, and society. So we are going to be talking all about diversity training that actually works. Welcome to the show today.

James Rodgers:

Thank you cows Good to be here.

Kyle Roed:

Well, extremely excited to have both of you join us today. Because I think this is exactly the type of thing that we started this podcast to talk about. And that is making sure that we put put together tactics for our organizations that drive positive and inclusive change. And so I really appreciate this book being out there, I want to ask the first question, What prompted you both to collaborate on writing a book about diversity training.

James Rodgers:

So let me start in lower you, you kind of give you a point of view later. I was in the process of writing a book on diversity. My platform is diversity management, which is the original conception of diversity work started by Dr. Roosevelt, Thomas. But over the last 30 years, I have collaborated with Laura and several others, I call them the old soldiers in the field. And we've been out there doing really good work transformative work in the classroom with people so that individuals were better able to work on teams, and teams were better and better able to produce for their corporations. So that's where we came from. As I just started writing the book about generic diversity and working with our coach at the publishing company, he convinced us we ought to focus in on the training component. And as we say, training is a necessary but certainly not the entirety of a diversity initiative. So we decided to put our heads together, and come up with something that we thought was practical, based on experience, not theory, and has the clear definable outcomes. And that's what the book is intended to do. Laura, what do you think

Laura Kangas:

yes, in for me, this is the book writing the book was, first of all, a dream come true, especially to write it with Jim we talked about it for years. And but for me, it was the next step in sort of my contribution to this field, I was an HR manager. In the early days of we well, then we we called it valuing differences. And we focus primarily on race and gender. And my experience was I went to about 70 of those workshops with my managers, most of whom were white man at the time. And they either said, this was the worst thing I ever went to, or don't ever ask me to go to one of those sessions again, because they didn't feel valued. They felt attacked. And I said to my manager, if there ever comes a chance where we could design a course, internally, I'd like to be on that team. And as they say, the rest is history. So I with a couple of colleagues, excellent. HR people, we actually designed a course that was delivered to over 150,000 employees and an international company, it was a resounding success. And when I have been doing consulting in many different companies having since started my own company, I just see diversity training, and so many places that doesn't meet its goals and people aren't excited, or it's a check the box. And so I thought actually, this is going to get kind of spiritual. But before I left the planet, whenever that might be, I wanted to get into writing what what I know works, and in Gemini are a really good balance and being able to give people a full picture of that on a global basis. So I'm very excited for the book and we're hoping to start a revolution in dei work through the book.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Well, you know, I think it's it's such an important topic. IQ. And it's it's one of those things that, you know, I, we were talking before I hit record, I've sat through the trainings, you know, probably probably the exact values differences training I've set to actually that's the title of what about my SATs are so I know what you're talking about. And but I think what's what's really important about this approach and what I think is is really powerful is focusing on, you know, the tangible outcomes in an organization. And, you know, so So as as we think about that, as HR professionals, I think that it sounds simple. But actually setting tangible goals, as it relates to dei can be extremely challenging. And, and a lot of times, what happens is it just kind of lands in our lap as, hey, we need to do something about this. And inevitably, then you've got HR professionals who a lot of times like myself included, I don't come from a learning and development background, I come from a business background. certainly not an expert in adult education. I go, and I just try to find something. Right, right. But but that's not necessarily the right approach. So So as we're considering this, and as we're getting challenged by both our leadership and our employees to address this critical topic, what advice do you have for us as we think about what tangible outcomes do we need to aspire to?

James Rodgers:

You can go first, Laura,

Laura Kangas:

okay, well, actually, you're speaking our language, because in the book, diversity training that generates real change, as you talked about the title, we talk about the six building blocks, you cannot do this work unless you know why you're doing the work, which is the first building block. And that is not an easy, oh, we want to do something or we want to copy other people. It really involves a very long, hopefully, well facilitated conversation about what are we trying to accomplish here? And Jim, I know has a lot of thoughts on that. And secondly, you need to know what your strategy is. So as we said, training is part of it. But our goal is the DNI becomes part of every business conversation. And how do you get that while you get there, by working with people finding, you said adult learning, we talk about the adult learning model in the book, and how important that is, we talk about world class facilitation, which is not about pouring information in people's heads, and teaching them what to say. It's really having them connect with the work on a human basis. My feeling is, and I know, Jim agrees with this, unless you make a human connection to this word that relates to your own life, you may get educated, but you're not going to get transformed. So you have to have the type of adult learning model and facilitation. And you have to know what a learning model is. So we talk in the book about expectation, examining, and then evaluating. And then finally, you have to really know how to execute. And maybe you can figure that out on your own, or it's certainly we recommend that you get people involved in your company. There are many ways to do that. And so, and measuring Well, you know, you should measure what you've decided that you are trying to accomplish. And, and and, as in any business, it's funny, because in any business challenge, you figure out steps. But in diversity, people often want dei to solve everything. And you've got to break it down and have measurable goals, and evaluate as you go along. Jim, do you want to add to that?

James Rodgers:

Yeah, that's, that's well set up their lower because that's really kind of the foundation of our work. My work has always been about first of all, simplifying this. One thing that has happened cow over the last 30 years is getting what I called excessive complexity. So everybody makes up their own definition, their own outcome, their own purpose. And I just responded to an article on LinkedIn with this very idea. Isn't that great that with diversity, we can all make up? I said, No, it's not great. You'll never make progress until you have common language and a common understanding. So go back to my pet peeve is the first two. What does success look like? People say diversity and diversity training don't work. How would you possibly know if you didn't have an expectation of what you were going to get? So you have to declare that upfront. We want to produce a set of employees who know how to have solid productive relationships with any other end ploy with that, despite their differences, and that is kind of the classroom work that Laura and I have been doing forever. We never talk about dimensions of diversity in the classroom. We talk about human beings. We talk about the human condition. We talk about all of us having the same proclivities. And what we have to do is to corral those, so that our implicit biases, our unconscious bias, and unconscious bias, don't derail us from having the kind of relationships that we need in order to be successful at whatever we're doing. So when it comes to people telling me what is the outcome? You know, I'm, so the subject you understand. I'm an engineer by training. I grew up in the corporations as a p&l manager, I know how business operates. I know how executives think. So what I'm looking for is, what impact does this have on my business operations. So I'm not looking for any fluffy, fruitful type of measures. I'm looking for improved sales cycle times increased revenue, lower costs, efficiency, effectiveness, those things, when you have a team of people who are operating? Well, because of good management, and record acknowledgement of the differences, but focusing on the similarities, that's what you get, you get better business outcomes. And as I tell people, there's only one reason to do this, it's good for business.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, and, you know, from my seat, you know, anecdotally, I've been able to see that, you know, as, as an organization has become more inclusive, or become more open minded, or had a leader that was more inclusive than the previous leader, you, you just You see, the business results happen, you know, and it but but at the end of the day, that's funny, because, you know, I think we could probably have a whole podcast dedicated to the business case of for diversity, but at the end of the day, it's also just, you know, the right thing to do, right? It's like, it is it comes, it does come back to the you know, it's our shared humanity. And it's, you know, shouldn't we just all treat each other with the same level of respect, and, but often what I have found is, especially with people who would consider themselves, you know, non diverse, they feel like, Oh, I'm already respectful, you know, or I don't, you know, why do I need this training? This is for others. This isn't for me, you know, and that's, and that's part of the challenge that that, you know, diversity training a lot of times is, is is trying to solve so, so what, you know, what advice or tactics do you have, as you're setting some of these, these organizational goals, and you're, and you're starting to communicate, and you're starting to plan and you're figuring out what good diversity training looks like? How do you address those individuals that feel like, you know, I've already got this figured out? I don't think this is for me. How do you address that?

Laura Kangas:

If you don't mind, Jim, I'd love to tell a quick story. Schutz in the book, actually. Well, first of all, Carl, you're right on and that it comes down to the individual. So our job and I believe in an introductory, or a even intermediate di training would be to have people make a connection to the work. And once they have the personal connection, and they understand what happens around Dei, they never quite looked at the world the same. I'll share a quick example. We had one of those people that said, I am respectful, happened to be a white man, I do everything right, plant manager, very smart guy, yada yadi. And we did an exercise. And this is one of the gifts that we talk about that I think the book will be is that we did. And we recommend doing many different types of exercises, and we share some of them in the book. So we did this exercise called the list exercise. When people names peep different categories, were on easel chart paper, when we told people to write down everything they'd ever heard about that group, they may or may not believe it. And one of the groups was Vietnam veterans. And so we asked people, once all the lists were up there, we asked them to go select a list that had a charge for them that could be positive or negative. So we were waiting, and this plant manager had not gone everybody else had. So finally, he walked over to the list of Vietnam veterans. And he said to us, I'm a Vietnam veteran. I've never told anybody this. And then because I didn't want them to know because I know that they would judge me on it. And then he went on to tell stories about how he was bad. He was humiliated by crowds. And he said, and what I realized in this moment is that's something that I could hide. But there are people in this room in our company that can hide their differences, that they are judged. on every single day, and he became one of our biggest advocates. And he said without that experience, he never would have understood. So you have to try to get it to a personal transformational experience. And that's where you need facilitation. Not, not judgment, not dictation facilitation.

James Rodgers:

Yeah, that's a really good example, Kyle, of what we try to do one of the first things we do, we anticipate that people will come with that attitude to the classroom. So the very first exercise that we have is one where we will allow them to discover, maybe I don't have it all together. So we go take them to an exercise, an example of it is an F F chord exercise where the majority of people will make a mistake, it will be an opportunity for them to say there's something right in front of me that I just don't see, I have a blind spot. And we don't tell them they have a blind spot, we let them discovery, our train our learning model is experience, we will provide the experience that the participant will have their own discovery, will allow them an opportunity to think of the implications of that. And then we'll encourage them to think about the application of that. So that's the cycle that we go through in the classroom. And what were the things like to happen with with the example Laura gave, that stuff travels within an organization, so you get it started, and the folklore that comes out of that, man, you know, if you were reluctant about going to diversity training brought change your mind, God, if this is a life changing event, I tell the story of one of my my clients, and we basically said this will be the most transformational learning experience you've ever had. And with 100% of their employees, that was the outcome that we got a lot of them really, you know, they heard the word diversity, man, I won't nothing about that. Because if I'm a white male, I'm going to be shamed and blamed and blah, blah, blah. And then they come out of that going back to the workplace, saying, Man, that was awesome. Because that's what we want to do. It has to be an attractive of spirits, so that people want to go,

Laura Kangas:

and people of color, realize the stereotypes they hold about white people and other people of color. It has to be a full 360 degree conversation. Sometimes we talk about it as diversity training needs to be the great equalizer in terms of understanding, you know, don't get, we really encourage people not to get stuck in anger, shame, guilt, whatever, what we really want to do is facilitate understanding that we really are all in this together and we need everyone to make it work. But you see, you get the type of commitment then that you could never pay somebody enough for this. They feel it in their heart, their head, heart and mind, you know that, then you really then it's just let's get better. You your diversity champions and troubadours?

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, you know, what's, what's really powerful about that approach, I think, is it's the the challenge that that HR professionals have to face, which is a lot of times this is this just becomes an HR initiative. Right? Just it's just, you know, what, it's under your job title, you go figure it out, you know, and, and, in, that's not anybody else's thing. But, you know, this type of approach, you know, you're evangelizing people to, you know, to make this much broader, in my opinion, it definitely should be. What's your perspective on and we've talked about facilitation, what's your perspective on HR actually being a facilitator? Or do you have? Or is your perspective that, you know, it really makes more sense to bring in somebody that's kind of a neutral third party? Any thoughts on that?

James Rodgers:

Well, Laura, let me start with this from calls out, this is kind of a pet peeve of mine. First of all, the training is very introspective and personal. This deep learning training, it's always best to have an impartial, objective facilitator, someone who has no skin in the game in terms of what the company is doing, but it's there solely to be a vehicle to which people dive into their own deep learning. I have had so many clients where they have asked what can't you just teach us how to do this? I said, Sure, I can. But in the end, you're gonna decide not to do it. So why don't we just skip that step and, and go ahead and allow me to put together a faculty of people who know how to deliver this work. So I have a bias on that based on years of experience. I have actually had a couple of clients where they have actually put together a team of inside as HR professionals, and once they've been in the classroom once with my professionals. They say, Hmm, this is probably better for them to do it, because I'm feeling something from a company insider perspective, that may not be so helpful in the facilitation process. So I just think you're better off professionals to do

Laura Kangas:

it. Yeah, and I've had, I appreciate everything you say, Jim. And I could certainly back all of that up. And I also want to say that I have had the experience of training people internally. And but it was only, it was a very extensive long training period. And they always facilitated with somebody from my staff. And so you had a balance, you know, and what, how, what, what that did help, is sometimes companies don't have the resources. And also now these people became very much more skilled employees of the company. So I could see how it's, I think gems is in the best of all worlds. But I also think that there are ways that we can work with that, that can be very powerful. And then what you do is when you want to offer a even deeper workshop with just outside facilitators, which I think there's room for something in between, if that's those type of challenges.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that's a really good point. And I think, you know, my perspective is, it's really pretty situationally dependent. You know, a lot of it is going to be based upon, you know, the resources that you have available. You know, I, I can honestly say that part of, you know, part of my diversity journey has been making sure that when we go through our annual budgeting process, we actually set aside dollars for it, right, and then it's, and that it is something that is, you know, not only supported at the HR level, but supported at the finance level, and ultimately at the CEO level. Because, you know, you know, the money is the Language of Business. So if you're, if this is important to you, then you should be applying, you know, budgetary dollars and focusing on it. But, I mean, I can honestly say, and, you know, I've done a lot of training, but, you know, diversity training, at least, is especially internal to my organization. For me, I'm just not extremely comfortable facilitating that. First of all, I'm a white man from the Midwest, and, you know, training somebody that's from a completely different geographic region of the world, or has completely different perspectives, you know, I can train on out of my context, but I can't necessarily train, you know, from others contexts. And so it's, it's just very, very challenging in my opinion.

Laura Kangas:

Jim, would you say that because we have a strong feeling about? Yeah, go ahead, Jim, about people having,

James Rodgers:

okay, you probably knew we were going to push back. White male from mid from the Midwest is not a disqualifier. It is. Our chief criteria for having on our team, Laura will tell you, we've worked on maybe a dozen faculties together. And those faculties include a large percentage of white men, white women, black men, black women, Asians, gay and lesbians. We try to cut across all of those differences, because what we want are expert facilitators in front of the room. Yes. See, what the facilitator does is they don't bring an issue into the room, they bring process Exelis into the room. So being a white male, who is skilled at facilitation was is certainly not a disqualifier, and in fact, in certain organizations is a real plus. Because people need to see white men as full partners in this process, right? Because unfortunately, we've done a bad job of elevating this to where it is taught. I tell my colleagues all the time, you all are promoting inclusion, by deliberately excluding one part of our population. And that is just not a workable, workable solution. So,

Laura Kangas:

in general,

James Rodgers:

I would say to you about that,

Laura Kangas:

right. And Jim often talks about how the color of one's skin is not a criteria for excellence in this work has nothing or something like that. He has a way of saying it. But I can I can tell you, you're already ahead of the game, because you are identifying with being a white man from the Midwest. So already, you're thinking about who am I? How does that play into this? And really anyone? I believe anyone who has the commitment, the dedication, and the authenticity and ethics around this work, if they work hard enough, can be an excellent facilitator internationally. I've done much much, many, many workshops overseas. And it's not about your background. It's about as Jim said, your skills And the process that you use in this work, which is universal.

Kyle Roed:

So I should restate that I don't, I don't necessarily trust my facilitation skills

Laura Kangas:

to work with you.

James Rodgers:

Laura alluded to it, but it's important for people to hear in this, in this podcast, identity is not a competence. So you don't get good at this work simply because you show up in brown skin or in female gender, you get good at this work the same way you get good at any work by study and practice, study and practice, Laura and I have been at this 35 years plus, we got good at it, because we dedicated ourselves to getting good at it. And I'm not good at it, because I'm a brown skinned man, and she's not good at it, because she's female. We're good at it, because we dedicated ourselves to perfecting this this, this discipline.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I, I love that approach. And I think it's, it's really important. I do think, you know, the other thing, and you mentioned this, Laura, that in some organizations, you know, it can be a benefit to look like the people that you're training. And, you know, right, wrong or indifferent. And sometimes that is the case. The only other thing I would say about, you know, taking my personal identity out of it is the other factor, the end, and I appreciate the pushback, I was kind of hoping that we'd have good dialogue there. But the other thing I would say, though, for having, like having HR facilitated is you also run the risk of now it's just an HR thing. You know, and so I would actually encourage somebody's thinking about internal facilitation, especially if you don't have like a learning and development group, if you're not that big. You know, if you're going to train an internal facilitator, look for somebody outside of human resources, right, that has the skill set, but but so that it's not just an HR thing, right?

Laura Kangas:

Right. And we had many managers step up of all different backgrounds, and it was wonderful.

James Rodgers:

And in fact, part of our learning design is a we would quite often how the senior leaders come in to kick off the session. And depending on how popular they were, it really made a big difference people who came in and really skeptical. In one example, there was a very popular CEO. And just the fact that Mike would come in and say, guys, let me tell you what I experienced when I went through this man, it was transformational. It changed so many hearts and minds in that moment, that it made it easier for us as facilitators to get everybody on the same page and moving towards personal perfection, or personal introspection. So it does matter.

Laura Kangas:

And when they come in, I think to build on that, Jim is to have them be vulnerable, and be humble, and talk about their own challenges. And what they learned and how they learned it. I often poach seen senior executives and say, you know, they're probably not going to no one's going to go deeper than you do. So you really have to set the tone here. And if you really want people to do this work, you've got to be willing to be vulnerable, be authentic, and share the good, the bad and the ugly. How you go.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Absolutely. I think that's a really powerful point. And I think, you know, as I reflect on the workplaces, that I've been fortunate to lead and and been a part of, you know, those workplaces where the culture allows you to be that, that open and honest and to explore, you know, things that potentially cause either, you know, internal or even sometimes external conflicts to kind of work through like, but those are the organizations, those are the cultures. To your point, Jim earlier, those are the ones that win, because they're, because they're open with each other. And they're, they're open to that type of experience. And you know, what, that, that just makes better decisions, want better business results? You know, it's it's, it really can drive an organization forward, even if it's uncomfortable to begin with.

Laura Kangas:

Right and see, just the way you're talking about that. No one's ever gonna have to convince you twice, because you get it. And that's what you want to do to diversity training. You don't want to have to you won't ever have with good diversity training. You won't ever have to convince someone again, we're trying to convince them. Yep. And that's where we're wasting money and hours and wars to buy a time where 150 years too late. We've got to do it right. And we've got to demand that people do it right. Or don't do it at all, because that will just make it worse.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, the last thing you want is for people to leave that that check the box diversity training and go check the box on that one. Never have to think about that again. or Yeah, or feel like they're, you know, they're under scrutiny or, you know that they are less than, you know, I mean, it's almost like the antithesis of what you want from diversity training.

Laura Kangas:

You want them you want them to go out saying, How can I learn more? How can I keep working on this? I want it to keep them up at night.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, but to your, to all your point, you know, I think, and I appreciate the, you know, kind of the the comments about, you know, my, my awareness of this topic and kind of my perspective, but it really, you know, I don't I don't think there's no special, you know, acknowledgement required. For me, I went through a very powerful personal experience, both personally and in the workplace, where I saw how important this is. And you know, I kind of lived it right. And to go back to the whole purpose of adult education, and kind of the idea is, you're just helping people discover the truth on their own. You're not trying to force them to come to your way of thinking that, you know, I'm still waiting to see where that works. So really powerful approach. So it can absolutely, yeah, absolutely. So I really, really appreciate the time, I think, you know, really kind of challenging, you know, our conventional norms, and the way that we think about this, I want to shout out the name of the book one more time, it's diversity training that generates real change, inclusive approaches that benefit individuals, business and society. It's available for purchase right now. But I think, you know, really powerful topics. And if you're considering diversity training, or you've been disappointed in diversity training in the past, I would encourage you to, to study up and and start to open your mind to a different way of of doing things. So with that in mind, I want to shift gears, we're going to go into the Revel HR flashed around fascinated to hear, hear these questions. So first question, I'm not sure who wants it, I'll let you I'll let that be a grab bag here. Where does HR need to rebel? Go ahead, Jim.

James Rodgers:

Okay, I thought you take that when they're being a former HR rebel yourself lower, but I'm going to take it I'm going to tell you from my standpoint, HR needs to become more business focused. Part of my observation, and Laura will tell you, I don't really do that well with HR people. Because I speak strategy. I speak p&l, I speak business drivers. And quite often my HR colleagues don't understand what I'm talking about. And this work is around is about, like I said, it's good for business. So you need people promoting it, who understand how the business works. So the second piece about building block is strategy. One of the things that HR people need to understand is what strategy is not just throw the word around so that they sound impressive, but actually study what their strategy strategy is about how do you position the organization so that they win in a competitive environment? So in other words, how are we going to take this, Alan, we need to get to the high ground so that we can see every area of the island? How are we going to win in the marketplace, we have to have the lowest price, we have to have the highest quality we have to have. It's about positioning your business. And one of the ways you position your business is by having the most productive people and teams. And that's where DNI comes in.

Laura Kangas:

Absolutely. Hi, just quickly may just quickly comment on that. I just want to say where people in HR are is vulnerable to the stereotypes about HR, just as much as white women are vulnerable to the stereotypes of our white women. We call that internalized racism at both, fortunately. So I'd say HR has to find their personal power, and know that their voice is equally important to everyone else's. To add that to what everything that Jim said, Right?

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. And I think, you know, my perspective, I've had this conversation with a number of HR professionals is, you know, I view our role as you know, you're not just HR, right, I'm just in quotation marks, you can't see my my hands, but but what you really should focus on as being a business leader that hasn't HR is your function. Yeah. Right. And if you do that, and you actually operate that way, your function becomes much more effective because we were influencers, right? We're not necessarily out there driving sales, but we are driving the strategies to hire the people that are driving sales, right. So so we do have, we have markets, we have, you know, we need to do a SWOT analysis on what we're doing. Our markets just have to be people. You know, and instead of the You know, instead of thinking about it like, like a product, you know, you know, our product is our culture. It's our, it's our company, it's, you know, it's the, we have a value proposition. And we need to be thinking about, you know, HR in that context. And, you know, the other thing I would say for, you know, HR professionals listening to this and thinking, Well, I'm not very good at that. If you get good at it, those are the HR people that ascend within an organization as well. Because if you get the people part, right, which is, in my opinion, is one of the hardest parts to get right? Then the rest of the stuff sees.

Laura Kangas:

Right? Couldn't agree with you more? Yes, absolutely.

Kyle Roed:

All right. We don't have time we could go through this is supposed to be the flash round, and we're already we're, you know, we're we're chasing squirrels here, but it's just such a rich conversation, and I really appreciate the feedback. Okay, question number two, who should we be listening to?

James Rodgers:

So let me start and say, not who you think. If you're really interested in focus on on D excellence, you need to find the people who really know how to do the work, you need to find a law Kangas, who has been doing it for a while, unfortunately, we have a whole new crop of people who have dropped into the middle of this conversation that declared themselves experts. One of the things that I tell people in any, any any discipline or any initiative, you have to do your homework, go back and look at the history. Why did we start this? What was the intent? What problem were we trying to solve? What would the solutions that were offered? And what do we find ourselves? Now, without that type of background? All you are doing is just listening to the latest rhetoric and buying into it? Absolutely.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, it's, you know, it's unfortunate, I think there's, you know, this is probably gonna sound terrible, but it's, it's like, it's, you don't want this to be like, a fad. Right? Yes. You know, and but there is a risk. And there's been so many operators that I think have have a high level of passion for this type of work. I think there's some people that saw it and thought, oh, I can monetize this. But as an HR professional, especially if you're in charge of this, the learning and development budget and doing this training, you owe it to your organization to make sure that you vet the the the individuals that are helping you with the work that you own that right. And so I think it's a great call out and it's something that something that is a risk in the marketplace right now. Okay. All right. Last question. How can our listeners connect with you and learn more?

Laura Kangas:

Okay, for me, you can go to Laura Kangas, la ura K N ga s.com. Or email me at L Kanga said, Laura kangas.com. And I'm also on LinkedIn. Thanks so much, Kyle, Jim.

James Rodgers:

Yeah, I also know LinkedIn, Facebook, I have three sites on LinkedIn, and two on Facebook. Also, I have two websites. One is James o rogers.com. And the diversity coach.com. So I would encourage anyone who is serious about the work, not just curious, but serious about the work to get in touch with us. And let us drop us a little about experience on you before you try to get started. Without knowing where you're going.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. Then read the book. And we will have all that in the show notes.

Laura Kangas:

You can book to a CEO, to your senior managers and say, This is how we need to do it. This is why it has not worked. Yep, that's our goal. And let's start a revolution. Let's do it. We're okay. Love it.

Kyle Roed:

I love it. And thank you for the help, because I can use all the help I get. Let's try to figure out how to do this. I really appreciate it. It's it's been absolutely wonderful connecting with both of you. We will have all that information in the show notes. So open up your podcast player, click right and you'll be able to click to the book and connect with with James and Laura. It's just been a wonderful conversation. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today. Thanks for the opportunity. Keep going. Thank you. Yeah, take care. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe

(Cont.) RHR 127: The Soul of Diversity Work is Dangerously Close to Being Lost With James Rodgers and Laura Kangas