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Reclaiming the True Intention of DEI

by Craig Collins, CEO of LOGIX Fiber Networks

In today's evolving corporate landscape, the concepts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) have become cornerstones of organizational culture and policy. However, as we navigate through the nuances of implementing these ideals, we must remember the true intentions of DEI. As a CEO, I've observed firsthand the potential pitfalls of DEI becoming a mere marketing tool rather than the profound commitment it should signify. It's time to move beyond mere acknowledgment to genuine, impactful action.

A recent Pew Study revealed a dichotomy in the workplace: while a majority of U.S. workers acknowledge the importance of DEI, only a fraction recognize its significance in their own work environments. This discrepancy underscores a critical challenge—while we've made strides in formalizing DEI efforts, there's a danger in diluting its meaning through misapplication or superficial adoption.

In response to these challenges, a new framework has emerged: Commonality, Equality, and Cohesiveness (CEC). CEC seeks to move away from the "check-the-box" mentality associated with DEI, advocating for a more outcome-driven approach. It emphasizes finding common ground among diverse groups, ensuring equal opportunities and treatment, and fostering a cohesive work environment where every individual feels valued and integral to the organization's success.

Paul Savardi, Chairman and CEO of Insperity, said it best, "Inclusiveness is good, but it's only a starting point. It's not enough. Cohesion is the goal. That’s when people are sticking together." This sentiment resonates deeply with my own experiences as a leader of teams both in the boardroom and on the court. As a former NCAA basketball player, I remember the best teams I was on "gelling" – bringing together diverse talents and skill sets, but operating as one. To succeed, organizations and teams must create that same sense of unity.

The same is true in the companies I have worked at, where we've always embraced these ideals through employee-centered efforts. If the goal is to build a foundation of values that celebrates both individuality and diversity – and most importantly, belonging – employees need to be involved from the beginning. By encouraging and valuing unique perspectives, we don’t just pay lip service to DEI; we can actively cultivate an environment where every employee feels seen, heard, and appreciated.

But leaders can’t just talk, they have to act.

It's why I have joined CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a collaborative effort among companies committed to these very ideals. By pledging to act alongside over 2,000 other CEOs, it underscores our effort not merely to include but to ensure a deep sense of belonging among all employees.

As we navigate the complexities of implementing DEI in the modern corporate world, let us not lose sight of its true purpose. It's not about ticking boxes or superficial marketing strategies; it's about creating a work environment where diversity is celebrated, equity is non-negotiable, and inclusion leads to genuine cohesiveness.

Call LOGIX today at 281-688-6231, or connect with us online.