Small acts of advocacy are all it takes to make a social movement. The #metoo movement was for the 12 years prior to last year’s Harvey Weinstein scandal a very small force for change. It wasn’t one single event that caused the social explosion. But it was when sufficient people acted in concert that it became a social movement. See more in my blog for Procurious.

So how can you best contribute to the movement?

Advocacy starts with appreciating, and using, your own power. Get clear about where you stand. What value does diversity and inclusion have to you? What will it mean to you when people are more tolerant and welcoming? What’s a brief story you can tell that demonstrates the value you see?

A CEO I spoke with recently shared his story of when his eyes had been opened to the power of inclusion. He had recently worked in a very diverse project team created to rebuild a community after an earthquake. He said that gender, cultural, and functional role diversity gave the group a balanced, settled feel. Instead of trying to outdo each other, people were very open to listening to different ideas and there were many more influences that governed the solutions they chose; it felt multi-dimensional. It created a distinctly different work climate to those he had previously experienced.

You can use your personal power to influence those in your immediate network.

Advocacy, using personal power for social benefit, is twice as likely as force to overthrow dictatorships – and that’s about as tough as it gets.

At the other end of the spectrum, prodiversity beliefs, mean that the group gets on better. When people have prodiversity beliefs, they believe that the differences between them bring a special value to the group. And a diverse group performs much better than a group of similar people. Believing in the value of a diverse group, and advocating that value to others, improves the experience of working together.

Create a positive connection, use warmth and empathy. Find out what motivates those around you. What’s their own experience of difference? What’s their interest in inclusion? Find common ground through shared experiences and motivations. If you can find alignment on important issues, strong messages about their importance cause our brains to click together. When we get the ‘click’, we process information in the same way, ‘with one mind’, and we are more likely to share points of view, whether you are talking with just one person or many. We are literally in sync with each other. This magnifies the shared motivation for change. It’s the inspiration for a social movement. If everyone in your circle is clicking, then they have the opportunity to do the same in their own circle, so that the clicking spreads.

When you deliver well-articulated and congruent messages about inclusion and your commitment to it, your power to contribute to change will be magnified.

Advocating for inclusion is the best way to get it.

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