Why D&I is key to better infrastructure and operations teams

Why D&I is key to better infrastructure and operations teams

Infrastructure and operations technology needs to be less brittle and more agile, and diversity, equity and inclusion can help.

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Additional tips and best practices to consider, to make your organisation more diverse and inclusive, include:

Appreciate people’s differences

“The trick is learning to be comfortable with difference, allowing it to persist,” Logan said. “People who are different from one another pitch together to create diversity of thought, and of action, and of outcome.”

We need to work harder to understand people who are different, she said. 

Take responsibility

“You can’t do this alone. But who’s responsible? You are,” Logan said. “As leaders, you control the two most important levers of culture change: inclusion and equity. … You can influence the culture around you with your mindset, the priorities you set, and your behavior.”

Communicate the business case

Buy-in from others in the company—colleagues, other managers, HR, executives—is critical to success. Use real numbers and examples to show why DEI makes good business sense and how the company will benefit.  

Don’t expect it to be easy

“Heterogeneous cultures are more difficult to manage. But they are so much more productive, and they’re safer,” Logan said. Monoculture, meanwhile, can fail catastrophically and completely when the unexpected happens, she said. “With heterogeneous setups in farming and in infrastructure, you have more options.”

Lean on your experience

Some core IT leadership competencies include political savviness, the ability to influence others, the ability to empower others, a commitment to continuous learning, and an outcome-driven approach. Those skills are compatible with the traits of inclusive leadership: someone who supports team growth, fosters team accountability, embraces interpersonal integrity, and encourages productive conflict.

“You already have a lot of the skills that you need to meet the challenges you face,” Logan said. “While honing, acquiring and developing the skills you need to be a great inclusive leader, you’re also going to be further developing the skills that you need to advance your own career.”

Lead by example

As leaders in I&O, “changes that you make and examples that you set are going to impact other people around you,” Logan said. “Leaders set the rules, the guidelines, the tone and the conduct of the teams that they lead. Leaders can do more to change culture than others. But change begins with you as a role model for diversity, equity, and inclusion in infrastructure and operations.”

Consider your own biases 

“It takes courage to look inside yourself and learn about yourself,” Logan said. “Understanding how bias works will make you a better leader and a better decision maker. We can never eliminate all of our biases, especially the unconscious ones. But what we can do is become progressively more self-aware.”

Encourage team members to participate 

Inclusivity is simple, Logan said. Allow everyone a voice in the meeting. Hold no-interruptions meetings. Call on people. Ask people who don’t often speak up to contribute. “Coach people who you know are competent, but maybe aren’t confident,” she said. “Mentor people who you think have potential.”

Acknowledge good work

For example, you could aim to recognise someone on your team once a day for 30 days, Logan suggested. “You need to find out for each person what they like and how they like to be praised, some in private, some in public, some in email, some with major awards-giving ceremonies.” Learning what motivates people and how they like to receive recognition will enable you to be a better leader.

Set goals and measure

There are many paths to take to facilitate DEI, and there are countless metrics and tactics that cross recruiting, talent sourcing, employee engagement, training, compensation, leadership development, and performance management, to name a few functional areas. It’s complicated and daunting, but I&O leaders need to treat it like any other business process: “You have to pick goals, you have to have objectives,” Logan said. “Know where you’re starting from, intervene, and measure the outcome.”

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