This first stage of the diversity initiative involves preparing the organization to accept that change is necessary, which involves breaking down the existing status quo before you can build up a new way of operating.
The key to your success as a D&I professional is developing a compelling message showing why the current diversity situation cannot continue. You may want to refer to declining sales figures, poor financial results, worrying customer satisfaction surveys, etc. These show that things have to change in a way that everyone can understand.
The change stage is where people begin to resolve their uncertainties and insecurities and seek new approaches. They start to believe and act in ways that support the new diversity direction.
The transition from unfreeze to change is not immediate: people take time to embrace and feel comfortable with the new direction and participate proactively in the diversity initiative.
The crystallization stage needs to help people and the organization internalize or institutionalize the new diversity direction. This means making sure that the staff is held accountable at all times for being consistent with their new diversity knowledge, and that this knowledge and the associated behaviors are incorporated into everyday business. With a new sense of stability, employees feel confident and comfortable with the new ways of working. As part of the crystallization process, you as a D&I professional must make sure that you celebrate the success of the change – this helps people to find closure, thanks them for enduring a painful time, and helps them believe that the company's continued diversity efforts will be successful.
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