Moving Beyond Inclusion with Dr. Shelton J. Goode

Finding Compassion, Stability, and Common Sense to Create a Truly Inclusive World

Invisible Stories Season 2 Episode 12 with Dr. Shelton J. Goode

Today on Invisible Stories, I speak with Dr. Shelton J. Goode, diversity and inclusion specialist and president and CEO of Icarus Consulting, a veteran-owned consulting firm that specializes in helping organizations create inclusive cultures that leverage diversity and inclusion for a competitive advantage. Dr. Goode has also written four books, the newest of which is Winter in America: The Impact of the 2016 Presidential Election on Diversity in Companies, Communities and the Country. 

Shelton and I discuss how he goes beyond just inclusion in his books, and how he instills his own experiences within his works. Shelton offers wisdom on:

  • How he took an already saturated market for DEI books, and created something new with his books.
  • Why vulnerability is important, and why you have to do the work and insert yourself into your book to connect with your audience.
  • How his experience writing and defending his dissertation prepared him for defending his writing with conviction and purpose.

Diversity Managers by Dr. Shelton J. Goode

Diversity managers who want to integrate cost-effective, battle-tested initiatives don’t have enough tools and resources to identify and apply best practices to actual work situations. These programs demand time, energy, and money-and the empirical evidence about outcomes is limited. The few studies out there contradict each other, which can make it nearly impossible to determine what practices to implement. Dr. Shelton J. Goode, who has spent more than twenty years as a diversity and human resource management professional, cuts through the clutter to help you locate strengths and weaknesses in your diversity strategy. You can learn how to benchmark organizational efforts against the actions other companies have taken to manage diversity; identify outdated paradigms and misguided diversity management initiatives that have prevented others from capitalizing on talent embedded within the ranks; and judge where past efforts have yielded success and which initiatives require a new approach. Despite the importance of linking diversity to the organization’s bottom line, there has been no single, comprehensive resource that employees could turn to for guidance-until now! Business leaders at every level can find best practices to achieve organizational goals in Diversity Managers: Angels of Mercy or Barbarians at the Gate.

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Key Takeaways

  • [00:02:26] Shelton: And it’s not enough just to be a subject matter expert, but she should be a coach, a mentor, and the you can you’re got such a privilege. You have to embrace that and realize it’s just not teaching stuff. That’s in the book. So that was the first book. But then, um, having been in the field of diversity and inclusion, uh, being, uh, one of the fields thought leaders, I was like, well, how can you be a thought leader if you haven’t written anything? [00:02:54] And so, um, I was always, I always found myself on panel discussions, [00:03:00] um, being that person that was always saying we could do better than, than this as a diversity and inclusion practitioner. So, you know, um, shareholders, employees, customers, vendors, so many people depend on us to create and sustain healthy companies. [00:03:18] And so I was always that challenger. So. Um, my next three books were all about diversity, equity and inclusion. Each one with a little bit different emphasis. The first one was a challenge to the diversity practitioners in the field that we need to step up our game. And then the second, the sec, the next two, um, where, um, a reflection of the intersectionality between diversity and inclusion and then social justice and equity. So what was happening outside the four walls of corporate America and how [00:04:00] that was impacting inside with people coming in every day, bringing those thoughts and feelings with them everyday. So that was the, that was the next two. And that will be the focus of the next two. [00:04:13] I think that, um, the days of saying diversity inclusion is only inside the organization and that’s our sh that should be our focus. I think, thankfully that we’ve passed that now. And we now have to understand that corporations and companies have a responsibility, um, to their employees and letting them have a safe space to talk about what’s going on, but they also owe that to their shareholders. [00:04:40] To their customers and their communities. So that’s going to be my new focus going forward. But unfortunately I won’t be the only one doing that. Everybody else is out doing that.
  • [00:07:08] Shelton: These are giants that have developed these courses and you can’t just you. Couldn’t. When I came on, I got into the business. I was mentored by Frank McCloskey, one of the giants in this business. And you couldn’t just say I’m a diversity practitioner. You had to do your work. Yeah, there are a lot of people and I’m not being critical, but how are you going to talk about racism? [00:07:31] Any racism, white privilege of systemic racism, social justice, when you haven’t done your work. Yeah. Um, if you, if, how can you call yourself an expert? If you haven’t done research? Um, you know, um, uh, diversity, may managers, angels of mercy or barbarians at the gate. My first book was there a research empirically researched book? [00:07:56] I, can you be a leader if you haven’t had, if you haven’t, if [00:08:00] you having helped companies deal with, uh, racial and gender class action, lawsuits and hats, I have them emerge from under consent decrees. How can you say you’re an expert? If, if, if you’ve never, if you didn’t go to the million man March or the women’s, how can you do that? [00:08:20] You can’t, you can’t just pick up a book. Um, you can’t pick up the lady, this book, um, and say, uh, you know, I read Jennifer’s book now I’m an expert on it. Jennifer will tell you as, um, as a leader in a, in a, in a voice in the LGBTQ plus space, I mean, how much coverage do you have to have to be able to go in front of thousands of people going Ted talks? [00:08:43] And, and, and help people learn from your story. You can’t hang out a shingle. So when you look at who is constantly, it’s considered the thought leaders who fortune Forbes and others recognize.
  • [00:10:37] Shelton: So my dissertation was on affirmative action action. And whether or not, um, whether or not the presence of an African American mayor. And the public policies that that person championed actually made a difference for the city. So, so I have to do something. It’s the process of writing the book. Wasn’t that hard [00:11:00] because I knew the, how I wanted to organize it. [00:11:02] I knew that I wanted to first talk about, um, and you know, what is it that people think something is? And then what’s the theory behind it. And then what’s the practical. What’s the, you know, how does it actually look and impact? And then, um, you know, lastly, what does the other, the people that research it have to say each chapter in the book is looking down that way, theory a practical and then a research.
  • [00:14:14] Shelton: [00:14:14] Yeah. And I can’t overemphasize this. When you write a dissertation, you have to defend it to people who are experts in your area. And they, their only goal is to say, if I’m going to put my name on it, which they do, you have to coast on it. It has to be like, it has to be thoroughly researched and you have to defend it with passion and conviction. [00:14:37] Yeah. Even though they’re going to disagree when your methodology and maybe even your analysis. You are now arguing on the you’re down, arguing based on that common set of facts. And we’re just, this we’ve happened to, to, to disagree, you know, whether or not, you know, it’s raining too much or it’s raining too little. [00:14:59] In fact, we [00:15:00] can agree. It’s rainy for some people or maybe too much for some people maybe too little, but now we’re arguing that prepares you to, um, right. Knowing that. Um, you’re not trying to win over hearts and minds me, I’m simply trying to, um, inform I’m simply trying to enlighten. I’m simply trying to educate and, and, and I have a system and a process that works for me.
  • [00:16:23] Shelton: [00:16:23] about me, but, but look, let me share with you. Um, I’m, I’m telling you upfront, I’m writing this from my place of experience and pain. Or whatever. And so that I didn’t realize that transparency was going to win me. That would, that would want to connect. I’ll call them people that say, Hey, I like this. [00:16:50] I liked the LinkedIn article you published or something you share very transparent. That happened to me. And so now more people, I find [00:17:00] more people connect. When you tell. When you’re more, when you’re willing to be more transparent and more vulnerable, that’s the word vulnerable. That’s the word? That’s the word I was searching for vulnerability because like, man, I’m not sure I want to put this out there. [00:17:15] We’re not a robot.
  • [00:20:49] Shelton: Yes. And I have been asked that question and, um, so books, one, two, three, and four were all written before I launched Icarus consulting, but I continue to publish articles. Um, and, and share those. And I’ve been asked aren’t you afraid and, and the sort of people that would be put off by authenticity, vulnerability, transparency, uh, diversity, equality, equity. [00:21:20] They don’t want, they don’t want me as a consultant anyway. They really don’t. And that that’s fine. Um, but I do need to give credit where credit is due. Um, my, my I’ve got a jumpstart toward this evolution. I again, another former student of mine who wrote a book, um, that was very vulnerable. And she asked me to write the forward. [00:21:43] And this is a, this, this is a book that is coming out of the me too movement, where she felt the book is called champions. Don’t tell. And it’s written by, uh, Jill, Jordan Green, and she, she shares the story. She shares her [00:22:00] story and the stories of six other women. Who suffered, um, mentally mental, emotional and physical abuse while working in corporate America.
  • [00:27:15] Shelton: That’s not that much of a stretch guys, you know, regardless of race or orientation or identity or gender or age, it’s not that stretch to say I’m a human being I’m entitled to, to be treated with dignity and respect. I’m going to treat you like that. You treat me like that. Can we just. Get that let’s get away from the buzzwords. [00:27:38] Let’s get away from diversity and equity and inclusion and block, which Pete knows. Most people don’t know what they mean anyway, but everybody knows what compassion is. Everybody knows what civility is. And Lord knows if you had a grandmama like I did, who peaked the snot out of me when I did something stupid. [00:27:59] Everybody [00:28:00] knows what common sense is. Can we just let’s move beyond inclusion. Let’s find compassion. That’s find stability, enlist, find common sense. That’s my, that’s my current project.
  • [00:33:44] Shelton: Don’t worry about what your book cover is going to look like. Don’t worry about what somebody going to think. Don’t worry about how much money you’re going to make. Don’t worry about how you’re going to market it. Just get the ideas out of your mind on a piece of paper.

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