Politics influences your operating environments, and we too often ignore it relative to identity. Understanding the political environment includes proactively and thoughtfully navigating issues and identifying the best answers to questions such as these:
- What political values and conflicts are operating within your community or nation? In what ways do social conflicts enter your workplace through the attitudes of employees and other stakeholders?
- Which identity groups are welcomed and which aren’t in your business or agency’s community? Look closely, don’t just default to “all of them.”
- How will you handle an identity based controversy affecting a portion of your customer, community, and employee demographics?
- What will you do if your local or national political leaders make a political decision about an identity group that angers and mobilizes a national or global backlash that pulls your organization in?
- What happens if you’re perceived as being against or for diversity or inclusion? Against or for political correctness or incorrectness?
- Who is perceived as being in the “in” group, the “chosen,” the “favored few,” and who isn’t? What do you have to do to gain access, and are you willing to do those things?
- How forcefully can you challenge those in charge, and is everyone treated the same way when they do?
- What are the informal norms regarding how hard and how long you’re expected to work, and what happens if you miss time because you’re taking care of aging relatives or young children?
- What happens if you use your organization’s telecommuting policy or take parental leave?
- How open and honest can and should you be in your personal life in expressing your values and opinions when your comments and actions may be used against you at work?
You can’t avoid answering questions like these in the Age of MultiDentity. Understanding and navigating the political environment and its formal and informal rules related to identity is absolutely an essential skill for dealing with the MultiDentity dynamic. Start by asking and answering the questions above.