Is there a space that is more loaded with tension for leaders than diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? It’s important, sensitive stuff, which means it’s often burdened with frustration, bias, assumptions, and so much more. As leaders, we may watch the headlines and note what others are doing, yet still not realize that we have work to do in our own organizations.
In this recent piece, our DEI Service Lead Abby Coppock shares our journey exploring the usage of the word TRIBE to describe ourselves at PeopleFirm. I hope you read it! Abby is passionate about DEI and she offers some great advice for tackling these sticky topics.
On a personal level, I’ll be honest and tell you that this hasn’t been an easy process for me. That may seem silly; after all, it’s just a word, right? But words matter, and from the very beginning, the word TRIBE has had significant meaning to me as the founder and leader of PeopleFirm. It is the word I feel represents what is unique and meaningful about us. To me, the concept of TRIBE is integral to what drove me to found PeopleFirm: creating a team of colleagues united not merely by the goal of doing good work, but by a much deeper set of shared values, ideals, and connections.
So, when some of my people came to me saying we needed to take a serious look at our usage of the word, it landed hard. I’ll confess that my initial response was to say, “Get over it.” But I truly trust and respect my people, so instead, I leaned in and started listening. What I learned is that some feel as strongly as I do about what the word means to our organization, while others don’t. For some, TRIBE just isn’t a word they’re comfortable using in this context. The good news is that we all agree on the spirit and intent. Our conversations have confirmed that everyone recognizes there is something special here that connects us that’s worth naming; the problem lies in the name itself. And so our journey began, and so it continues today.
When it comes to DEI, we at PeopleFirm don’t have all the answers. In fact, we’re learning there are no perfect answers, but that the questions and discussions, when approached with open hearts and minds, can guide you to the best answer for your organization. We hope we’re leading with humility and transparency and that our journey can inspire others to be willing to ask the hard questions and seek equally hard answers.
Catch up on previous Tamra’s Insights here.