As we look at the last component of Steve Kerr’s formula P = C – I (see earlier blog post regarding this formula), Interference is a key component. What does that interference look like in the work of D&I? When we talk particularly about individual effectiveness across difference, what gets in the way are our cultural assumptions and biases. The tricky thing about these is that most of us aren’t aware of them even though they dictate much of how we show up in the workplace. The other issue is that when we do stop to think about what might be “getting in the way,” most of us make long lists of things that are external to us, that we have little ability to influence: “They don’t know how to communicate;” or “Our organizational culture is so exclusive.” Effectiveness comes from a focus on both the interference that is within our control, as well as on how we can re-frame the interference that is outside of our control: “How can I communicate differently to be more effective?” or “How can I influence our organizational culture? Until we shift that interference, it will continue to expand and get in our way of being effective.
P=C - I. Steve Kerr, former Chief Learning Officer at GE created this formula years ago. As with all good models or frameworks, it's stuck and can still be applied today not only to the area of learning and development, as intended, but to so many other areas as well, including Diversity and Inclusion. The formula, Performance = Capacity - Interference, in general, means that if we want to improve the performance of our workforce, in addition to building their skills as we would traditionally do, we also need to look at what's getting in the way for them.
Paying attention to that one additional component of Interference adds a new perspective to learning and development. But how does this apply to Diversity and Inclusion?
Join Sara Taylor for the webinar to:
• Explore how Diversity and Inclusion relates to high performance
• Understand two basic components of high performance in relationship to cultural competence
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Over the years, too much of our Diversity and Inclusion training has come from a short-sighted focused on how to “get along” with different people and groups. While that approach has its merits, it’s not enough for today’s workplace. Using Steve Kerr’s formula of P = C – I (see earlier blog post regarding this formula), to reach higher performance, we have to actually build capacity. This is the kind of formula we need to apply to D&I work so that we are able to ensure real change both individually and organizationally. How do we do that? We use developmental tools like the DMIS that help us to understand first the stages of competence when interacting across difference and second how to increase that competence and therefore, effectiveness across difference.
P=C – I. Steve Kerr, former Chief Learning Officer at GE created this formula years ago. As with all good models or frameworks, it’s stuck and can still be applied today not only to the area of learning and development, as intended, but to so many other areas as well, including Diversity and Inclusion. The formula, Performance = Capacity – Interference, in general, means that if we want to improve the performance of our workforce, in addition to building their skills as we would traditionally do, we also need to look at what’s getting in the way for them.
Paying attention to that one additional component of Interference adds a new perspective to learning and development. But how does this apply to Diversity and Inclusion? First, the frame of Performance—I would actually say High Performance—is where we need to focus our work in the practice of D&I. Our work needs to move beyond representation and respect and needs to drive higher results for our organizations. The success and greater effectiveness that come with high performance need to be our goal. When we shift our work towards this goal, what we focus on is very different. More importantly, what we deliver for our organizations and the individuals within them will be more transformational. My next blog will be on Capacity and Interference as they relate to D&I.
Since the only other language I can speak is pidgin Hebrew, and half our office is fluent in Spanish, I decided it was time to learn that noble language. I found this video online about the Pimsleur Method and got all excited about it. For some reason I’d always thought of Pimsleur as kind of stodgy, but this was hip and entertaining, and I ended up with the message that learning a language is no big deal—anyone can do it, and even have fun at the same time. That’s what the Gen Xer in me likes to hear, so I signed up, got the introductory course, and started learning.
A few weeks later I got the follow-up course in the mail, the big guns, the Pimsleur Approach Gold Edition, and it looked anything BUT hip and entertaining. Arriving in a faux-leather box complete with a “passport” and 16 CDs, it was obviously designed to appeal to an older Boomer who wants to travel the world, either for business or pleasure. I actually had a moment of confusion when it arrived—I thought maybe it was a mistake, the second message was so radically different from the first.
The intro course had been eight CDs, though packaged in a single, thick CD case. No big deal—if I decided to go the distance, I’d just download the rest of the courses. Well, I’ve looked all over Pimsleur’s website, and I haven’t yet found a download option, and there’s no way I’m going to try and jam a box full of CDs in my car somewhere. That’s why we have MP3 players, right? Also, I know at least two Gen Yers, interested in both language and travel, who would look at this box and say, “I don’t even have a CD player; what am I supposed to do with this?” Good question. I don’t think Pimsleur knows, either.
This is a classic example of an organization trying to reach out to a diverse group of consumers with no integrated strategy to deal with the differences involved. It’s good to diversify your customer base; in fact, it’s necessary. But organizations that don’t recognize the fundamentals of interacting effectively across difference are only going to alienate those they’re trying to reach in the first place. Effective organizations allow the differences to guide the message or, as a recent participant in a discussion on Public Radio said recently: “You’ve got to let the customer tell you how they want their message delivered.” Amen.