Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right with Michael Bach

November 24, 2021

Creating an environment where everyone can come together and be themselves is essential in every ecosystem. Yet, despite its impact, most of us are less aware of doing it correctly. Today we have Michael Bath, award-winning and best-selling author and global executive with tremendous experience in inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility. In today’s episode of pursuit of learning, we dive deep into his book, “Birds of All Feathers” where he broadly addresses doing the diversity and inclusion right. 

As usual, we start the conversation with Michael’s current motivation. Along with that, he mentions how much he is concerned about his work after George Floyd’s death. As the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion founder and CEO, Michael is a dedicated and accomplished individual who tries to create a space where everyone is accepted. In his book Birds of All Feathers, he deeply discusses implementing diversity and inclusion correctly. It is a best-seller in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and Amazon. 

Moreover, his book won the silver 2020 Nautilus Book Award in Rising to the Moment by the National Book Foundation. On the other hand, the title of his book has a deep and exciting meaning. Instead of a bird of a feather, it is birds of all feathers. It means that it does not matter what kind of bird you are; the nest is for you. With diversity and inclusion, we try to build nests where all birds can come together. In other words, with diversity and inclusion, we are trying to create a space where everyone can bring themselves to work. So, no one has to leave something at the door. No one has to hide whoever they are. Before diving deep into the content of his book, we discuss the terminology Michael has used in his book. At that point, stating the term intersectionality, Michael emphasizes the importance of understanding it as a part of this conversation around inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility.

Correctly implementing diversity and inclusion in an organization lets the people with the right talent and skill achieve the highest. He simplifies diversity and inclusion as the shade of grey at their finest. We analyze the overall impact and the results of several models for diversity, discussing the negative and positive effects. Another vital concept to pay attention to as an organization is equality of opportunity versus equality of outcome. Michael shares his insights regarding that with a comprehensive explanation. 

Furthermore, we talk about organizational malpractices, such as tokenism and the better ways to implement diversity and inclusion. In the latter part of the conversation, we talk about how leadership in an organization affects diversity and inclusion and vice versa. In addition, we discuss how to combine intersectionality with our day-to-day work and life as well. As an end note, Michael shares the exciting news about his new book Alphabet Soup: The Quintessential Guide to LGBTQ2+ Inclusion which arrives on March 29, 2022. 

[03:15] Demography of “Birds of All Features”: Michael explains the group of people he wanted to address through his book as well as the key takeaways from his book.

[09:20] Story Behind the Title: Michael shares the first suggested title for the book and the exciting tale of replacing it with “Birds of All Feathers.” 

[11:48] Diversity and Inclusion – As Michael points out, diversity is the essence of the difference. According to him, inclusion is about creating space where people can come to work, do their jobs, and be successful in a manner they define success.

[16:00] Intersectionality – Michael explains how the concept of intersectionality helps us to understand the complexity of identities when they are combined.

[19:48] Social Justice Model – Michel shares his wisdom on this model, which discusses achieving diversity. However, to achieve that, white men had to lose for others to gain.

[24:48] Creativity and Innovation Model – Michael emphasizes the elegance of this model as it uses diversity and inclusion to address the problems. 

[26:20] Diversity and Inclusion at Workplace – He dives deeply into implementing workplace diversity and inclusion with numerous examples. Furthermore, Michel simplifies diversity and inclusion as shades of gray at its finest.

[40:00] Right Candidates – The hiring process doesn’t start with the candidate you hire. It begins with the job posting you create. Michael highlights the importance of correct Job posting

[43:45] Business and Diversity – Michael explains why a business should pay attention to their customers when having diversity and inclusion in the organization. 

[47:41] Tokenism – According to Michael, tokenism is insulting at best. He explains what tokenism means as well as some everyday misuses of it. 

[55:31] Brand – Brand is not the logo. It is how the market knows the company. Michael describes the importance of diversity and inclusion to the company brand.

[01:10:28] Attract People with Diversity – For everybody who is not a big brand, they compete against some massive organizations. Hence to diversify the people applying for jobs, the company has to go to those communities. Describe above. Michael talks about mechanisms to attract diverse people to the organization. 

[01:20:21] Development Program – Michael explains how to develop intersectionality in a team, highlighting a formalized system’s importance.

[01:26:39] Being Deliberate – Ultimately, the best and the brightest should be our leaders. Michael shares his thoughts on how being deliberate and targeting at higher levels of leadership help address the pale, stale, and male syndrome.

[01:30:21] White man Trumps all – Michael talks about the need for white men to step up on the diversity and inclusion conversation. 


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Mentioned in the episode Birds of All Feathers: Doing Diversity and Inclusion Right:

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