For more than twenty years the Kozai Group has been helping people around the world work and lead across differences more effectively, and in one form or another the five partners have worked on these issues for far, far longer.
Seven or eight years ago we started paying closer attention to what was happening in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) area. We watched colleagues whom we respect and admire work in this area and thought, “we should do our part.” At the same time, we saw much good already being done and so moved at a more measured pace.
Events of the past two years have compelled us to act more urgently and also to consider carefully where we could contribute the best. We concluded it was to do what we do best – develop assessment tools that help people identify their strengths and weaknesses around specific competencies, and then help them move forward in compensating for or developing their weaknesses and leveraging their strengths.
Taking stock of the DEI area, we noted the following:
- There has been a focal shift from diversity narrowly defined, often in terms of race, gender or nationality, to diversity broadly defined — acknowledging diversity in all its varieties; not privileging any specific strains of difference.
- There has been a treatment shift from action at the social or organizational level to individual action as a foundation for social action.
- There has been a mindset shift from raising consciousness to developing competence; a recognition that consciousness without competence is impotence.
- There has been an attitudinal shift from blaming and shaming to encouraging and supporting, an approach recognized to ennoble all who engage.
These shifts encouraged us to develop the Inclusive Competencies Inventory (ICI). In approaching our work in DEI we invoke an intercultural approach, grounding our assumptions and intent in positive psychology and adopting a Cognitive Behavior Therapy model.
We zero in on the individual and target the development of inclusive competencies as the goal. Our motivating premise is that personal growth will lead to organizational and societal change – if people change, social change will naturally follow. We view our approach as complementary to much of what is already being done in DEI, while at the same time addressing an area that has remained largely under-developed.
Inclusion is the fulcrum on which the lever of change moves. When people feel accepted, respected, and valued they are motivated to contribute and are afforded the capability to contribute. At the individual level inclusion provides a foundation for individual and collective action.
WHY COMPETENCY DEVELOPMENT?
We believe that most people want those they work with to feel accepted, respected, and valued. Often times the reason that doesn’t happen is because people don’t feel comfortable due to concerns about causing offense or in having confidence that their efforts will be effective.
Positive psychology teaches us that when people feel capable and are empowered rather than compelled to act, they are more likely to take action and to feel good about doing so. Developing competencies pays rich and enduring dividends. At the same time, Cognitive Behavior Therapy has consistently found that it doesn’t matter whether one works on the head, the heart, or the hands (cognition, emotion, or behavior), growth and development will take place across all three.
INTRODUCING THE INCLUSIVE COMPETENCIES INVENTORY
The ICI assesses three main categories of inclusion competencies.
- Knowing Yourself addresses your awareness of who you are and how open you are to changing, as well as your likelihood to adapt to challenging contents.
- Knowing Others encompasses your interest in and actions toward developing relationships with people who differ from you as well as your ability to understand them.
- Bridging Differences focuses on your interest in multiple perspectives and in your ability to see and value them as well as your sensitivity to the power dynamics that are present in many situations.
Each of these categories – we call them factors – is measured using two dimensions and then an overall ICI index is also calculated. The result is a feedback report that provides information on the three factors, six dimensions, and an overall index.
The ICI was created using the same rigorous scale and inventory development process used in developing our other assessments. Reliability and validity tests confirm its psychometric strength, and as usual further tests are ongoing. It has also undergone extensive pilot testing. Results from field testing and use in training programs has been very positive.
Click here to find out more about the ICI or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org