It’s been over a year since George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent protests that ignited the change in social consciousness about race in America. Thankfully many business leaders have stepped up and are sincerely committed to creating more just and equitable environments, policies, and practices within their organizations.

I’ve never seen or felt a bigger acknowledgement of the problem nor commitment to the solution as I have in the last year. Many organizations have recognized that getting diverse talent in the door is just the first step; that Diversity, Equity & Inclusion needs to be treated like any other strategic business goal which means setting concrete targets and measuring progress against those targets.

I’m now interested to see how we’ll support and navigate the authentic, honest and (hopefully) very human conversations that need to take place before we can effect real change. Having worked within organizations for 20+ years, I know organizational and cultural norms can play a powerful role in inhibiting open and honest communication.

Organizations will need to acknowledge the power of these norms and the role they can play in hindering vital conversations — conversations that reveal root causes and lead to inspired business solutions. Organizations will also need to take concrete steps to value, encourage, and support those employees who have the courage to speak honestly in spite of their organization’s norms.

If successful, what will result will be a clear picture of the problem which is essential for arriving at effective solutions. Just as important as truth though, is the ability to conduct these conversations with great respect and understanding for all involved. If we’re truly committed to equity and the wellspring it brings, we’ll treat everyone with equal respect and interest in their perspectives and concerns. In this way, everyone will benefit from diversity, equity, and inclusion.