Diversity @ Work Course Fosters Inclusive Leadership and Collaboration

Diversity @ Work Course Fosters Inclusive Leadership and Collaboration

May 28, 2024

Integrated Work Consultants Nadia Ali, Darrie Matthew Burrage, Sofia Gonzalez, and Trent Norman offer an overview of the new Diversity @ Work course — its design, goals, and long-term learnings related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Creating workplaces that nurture creativity and impact requires new ways of leading and collaborating. To help leaders and organizations take steps toward more inclusive and equitable workplaces, Integrated Work launched Diversity @ Work, a new course that explores concepts related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI). 

Diversity @ Work is both an interactive and introspective experience that helps leaders and organizations explore JEDI concepts, consider their implications, and develop strategies for implementing them. The course has an audience-centered design and interactive lessons grounded in real-world human experience. 

Members of Integrated Work’s consultant team who helped develop Diversity @ Work recently gathered for a conversation on the course’s design, goals, and long-term learnings related to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. Find excerpts from their discussion below, and visit Integrated Work’s website for more details about Diversity @ Work.   

Consultant Sofia Gonzalez noted that the course can serve people with a range of JEDI awareness and experience — from beginners to practitioners. “It’s designed so that anyone at any level of familiarity with JEDI work can feel like they’re a part of the conversation,” she said. “But there’s enough content in there and enough things to think about that even someone who’s been in the industry or has been working with these concepts for a long time can also get into it. It goes a lot deeper into the subjects at hand.”

Gonzalez said the self-paced course includes four modules — built around mantras from Integrated Work CEO Jennifer Lyn Simpson’s book the KOAN method: HIKE, CARE, HEAL, and SUCCEED — and a companion workbook to help participants dig deeper into the concepts. Diversity @ Work also offers real-world examples shared through case studies that feature characters from a fictitious organization to help people see and learn how JEDI manifests in the workplace.

As they watch the characters explore realistic workplace situations, course participants can deepen their learning by going beyond the abstract, said Senior Consultant Darrie Matthew Burrage. “You are the learner having your Diversity @ Work experience parallel with the characters that are in the course. As they’re learning JEDI for their fictitious organization, you are too. So it’s like you’re learning alongside the people,” he said.

Burrage added that Diversity @ Work is crafted to permeate participants’ minds beyond the time spent with the modules so they can explore new ways of viewing workplace interactions. “There are some aspects of the course that could have you sitting with the content for a long time and help you develop a lens of JEDI, which is one of the goals of the course,” Burrage said. 

Executive Consultant Nadia Ali noted that the opportunity to explore relevant concepts gives course participants an opportunity to see themselves in situations and consider how they would respond. “Maybe how this person reacted to this situation resonates with somebody,” Ali said. “We hope people really relate to the different characters through the case study and connections.”

A Self-Paced Journey to Deepen JEDI Awareness and Personal Growth

Because the course is a self-paced experience, Diversity @ Work allows users to determine how much time they spend on each element. While each module is estimated to take about an hour to complete, Executive Consultant and Director Trent Norman noted that participants can decide how much time they want to devote to JEDI exploration. “People can pick and choose their time, pick and choose their energy,” he said. “There’s an opportunity to take what’s in the course and in the workbook and really think about how the content relates to your life, your work, and your world.” 

That introspection helps participants build a foundation of JEDI awareness that can support them in future years. “Our intent with the course is to allow you to do that kind of self-examination so that when something comes up, you are well-equipped to start to engage in the learning, the thinking that needs to happen around finding solutions, responses, answers, and ways forward,” Norman said. 

Burrage added that the elasticity of the course allows participants to personalize their experience and further explore concepts that strike a chord with them. “Yes, it can be an hour’s worth of time for each module. But this thing could be several hours,” he said. “With the workbook, you could really sit with this content, this course for hours and realize ‘Oh, dang! Who am I really out here?’ or ‘What would I do in that situation like that?’”

And Burrage emphasized that the learning doesn’t end when the course modules are complete. “The course sets the learner up on a story arc where they are going to truly arrive at a place. But that place where they arrive isn’t a final destination. You just arrive at a different point on the journey,” he said. “Although the course ends, the journey doesn’t end for the learner. There is more to explore, more to come.” 

Empowering Individual and Collective Growth Through Inclusive Conversations

Diversity @ Works is designed to meet the needs of individuals and organizations of all sizes, and Ali said can serve as a group exercise or personal pursuit. “It’s something that can be taken as a standalone course … but it can also be done at an organizational level, where multiple people can take it at the same time,” she says. 

And because it can be both an individual and collective experience, Burrage said Diversity @ Work will prompt conversation and collaboration — during and after the course. “Yes, it’s an individual experience, but it’s absolutely encouraged that the course is experienced with a team,” he said. “You’re going to want to be in conversation and be in community with others with this course because it might bring stuff up. You probably would want to talk about it with someone who is taking the course too. We set it up to be a very interpersonal experience as well.”   

Gonzales also sees Diversity @ Work as a form of personal development due to its design that encourages conversations and sharing. “It’s going to allow people who aren’t normally having these conversations to actually start talking about things that are uncomfortable … and feel like they are getting better at working with people and working with teams,” she said.

Learn more about Diversity @ Work!