Process and Perspective – Leading Positive Inclusive Change

29/04/2024 - Process and Perspective – Leading Positive Inclusive Change

Chloe Rose-Alex (She/her), Charter Development Officer at LGBT Youth Scotland, establishes key process and practice behind leading inclusive change. 

‘The only constant in life is change’. As a queer woman working in the field of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, it’s a sentiment with which I have deep professional and personal familiarity. Sometimes the process of change can feel overwhelming, perhaps a little terrifying! However, I feel qualified to say that change, like difference, can make life beautiful. It helps us all to flourish and thrive. So when it comes to inclusivity in services and the workplace, how can we know what to change and how do we deliver it?

Societies, systems, and processes are not generally built with underrepresented and marginalised populations in mind. They have therefore been built with inherent, often unintentional, barriers to some groups of people engaging with them equitably. How do you register for a service if there is no option for you on the form?  How do you have your needs met if those needs are not recognised or understood?  How might that impact on your mental and physical health? Our Life in Scotland 2022 report explores factors like these in detail from the direct perspective of young LGBTQ+ people in Scotland.

These barriers need to be overcome. To exist as part of a marginalised population is to be engaged in a continuous problem-solving exercise. Imagine an (appropriately rainbow!) Rubik’s cube. It’s as if you are constantly trying to match up the little colourful squares to solve the puzzle. Your prize for completion is a positive but ultimately routine experience that a majority take for granted.

I know this not just from what others tell me but also my own experience. My role is to help remove barriers for others. I do this still facing many of the same obstacles myself. Much of my perspective on overcoming challenges was inspired long before I started this work.

I sit at the intersection of change every day, leading by empowering others to work collaboratively and guiding them as they undertake their own journeys towards inclusive working practice. This is a good position from which to spot patterns and think about process.

My LGBT Charter clients have expertise in how they do things now. They want to take the next steps and ensure they can maximise their positive impact.

Young LGBTQ+ people meanwhile, the reason I do what I do, are experts in their own lived experience. Young people can tell us a great deal about their own needs and we must platform their voices wherever possible. Remember that a young LGBTQ+ person could be a colleague, service user, or customer. Their insight is a crucial form of leadership.

What can we do?

Each process or service user journey is one of the sides of that Rubik’s cube. The individual colourful tiles are the steps that make up that process.

Perhaps for yourself and many others the puzzle already looks solved. For young LGBTQ+ people it probably doesn’t. We rarely solve problems when we don’t know what they are. 

  • Map out your existing processes and working practice. Ask yourself ‘how do I do what I do?’. Identify individual steps that connect to form each complete process as you see it.

  • Consult with – and listen to – the groups who you are trying to include. Map process and needs as they see them. Establish continuous mechanisms to consult on this respectfully, mindful of their wider pressures. AIl identities and experiences are intersectional, make sure you are hearing representative perspective.
  • Once you understand your current process, along with people’s hopes and needs for change, identify the priorities and turn these into actions. Work collaboratively to take ownership for these actions. Create a plan for delivering these changes in a realistic but ambitious timeline. If something is working well, consider scaling the solution or applying elsewhere.

As we prepare to celebrate Pride Month 2024, I know I’m not alone when I see my queerness first and foremost as a source of immense love, joy, self-reflection and perspective. To me it is a gift.

So when we see rainbows in the workplace, let’s think about joy, community and the beauty of difference. Let’s also make sure we’re listening and allowing lived experience to lead us in helping to solve puzzles for others.

Reflective Challenge: How can we optimise the delivery of our core services to underrepresented groups?

We’d like to thank Chloe for writing this guest blog which is part of the Leading to Change Diversity Blog Series. We want to highlight and promote the voices and experiences of diverse leaders at all levels including those working at frontline / grassroots levels. We aim to celebrate diverse leaders who can act as role models for other aspiring, diverse leaders.

Chloe Rose-Alex (She/her)

Chloe Rose-Alex (She/her)

LGBT Charter Development Officer at LGBT Youth Scotland

Chloe is a Diversity Equity & Inclusion specialist working at Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQ+ people aged 13-25. Through the LGBT Charter accreditation, she partners with charity, third sector and private sector organisations to guide them as they work to become LGBTQ+ inclusive. She combines her knowledge from a previous career in the private sector with experience and training in LGBTQ+ topics and youthwork.
Chloe has a deep interest in intersectional inclusion, inclusive workplaces & hiring practices, and reducing health inequalities for LGBTQ+ communities. She has confidence that through partnerships we can deliver positive practical change together at scale; working process by process to ensure that underrepresented communities have equitable access to services and opportunities.

All information regarding our contributors was correct at the time of publishing.

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