Diversity in change projects - How to plan to minimise impact on people and reduce risk

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Posted by Finlay on 18th Oct 2016

BAWA was the venue for this well attended and popular event.  Our Speaker tonight was Lee Silver, who is the Diversity and Inclusion Lead at MoD Defence Equipment and Support. 

Lee’s  opening question to members was  “How can we get the best out of people & assist them to get the best out of themselves?”.   His very engaging style drew the audience in as he described the principles and then illustrated them clearly with real life examples.  The audience were challenged to think very differently about the issues and how they could take the principles and apply them back in the workplace.

Lee’s aim was to provide people with a tool that can help them to deliver and reduce project risk, with the purpose of conscious decision making. This was definitely achieved.  Other benefits of the approach relate to improving staff morale and retention, attracting recruits to the team and organisation and reducing corporate level risk of litigation by staff. 

One of Lee’s illustrative examples highlights the importance and benefits of using the tool and thought process:

An initiative to ‘tart’ up a tired looking busy coffee/seating and social area within the office space included only hard furnishings.
Although the area looked really nice, it then meant that individuals such as wheelchair users and anyone hard of hearing were no longer comfortable in using that area and hence the social area was no longer inclusive for all.

If the following tool was used this exclusion could have been avoided:
By looking at the product / work break down structure (PBS / WBS)

  • Understand the overall purpose and aim
  • How does this affect other parts of the system? (Protected characteristics)
  • Which groups would/could this effect? Hold a workshop with a different set of dynamics to review and discuss
  • Identify the associated people risks
  • Identify associated people opportunities
  • Identify and incorporate associated actions to minimise the risk and monitor (include within the Project Management Plan)

Lee summarised:  “you don’t know what you don’t know” and the use of the tool can help you identify these issues and risks. He hoped  his presentation would highlight the issues and help those project managers planning change projects  to think and plan for issues around diversity and inclusion.  Challenges associated with changes to culture should not be underestimated and is a long term activity.

The evening concluded with a lively Q&A session, where Lee dealt with a number of questions such as:  How plan to monitor effectiveness?;  Inclusion of lessons learnt? Application within specific role?

Lee's presentation can be viewed on the APM Resources page or can be seen below.

Stevie Gosling
SWWE Branch Diversity Rep.

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