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Fostering Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility at The Clearing


Sama Goldstein & Hans Manzke

Date Published

Nov 05, 2020
5 minute read

A diverse and inclusive workplace is an empowering and impact-driven workplace where individuals can strive toward becoming the best version of themselves. At The Clearing, we believe that our teams can and should reflect a wide range of demographics, and must, at minimum, reflect the diverse demographic and cultural fabric of the community of clients that we serve. We strive to create an environment where individuals feel they belong, and where their whole, unique selves are both respected and celebrated.

Like many of our clients, The Clearing is currently in the midst of a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) journey to examine and embody a culture that celebrates and acknowledges all viewpoints. Our perspectives shape the way we view and interact with the world; in other words, these perspectives are biases. Biases aren’t inherently bad, but understanding and acknowledging that we each have biases plays an integral role in developing authentic relationships in both our personal and professional spheres.

With these ideas in mind, our team designed and engaged in a firm-wide exercise inspired by a knowledge-network mapping activity from Harold Jarche and initiated through The Clearing’s Personal Knowledge Mastery engagement with futurist, entrepreneur, and TC partner Jens Ulrik Hansen. Our purpose was to better understand the diversity of our professional networks and the impacts our unconscious biases have on our daily interactions with one another.

The Exercise

The exercise asked participants to answer a series of questions about their network, including the following:

  • Who are the people with whom you most frequently discuss matters important to you?
  • Who are the people with whom you most frequently communicate with in order to get your work done?
  • Consider a new project you are promoting. Who are the people with whom you would need to get approval, resources, and support for this project?
  • Who are the main people with whom you socialize informally?
  • Who are the people you contact when you’re faced with a complex problem or challenge?
  • Who do you approach for career/work advice, such as deciding to take or leave a job?
  • Who do you ask to find out the latest in your profession/discipline?

After answering the aforementioned questions, participants mapped their professional network to a variety of factors, including:

  • Age (younger/same/older)
  • Gender (same/different)
  • Race/Ethnicity (same/different)
  • Years at The Clearing, if applicable (less/ same/more)
  • Role or Career Path (same/different)
  • Hierarchical Organizational Position (higher/same/lower)

Finally, we overlaid Gallup’s Vital Friends research from 2006 to our results in service of identifying who we believe fulfills the archetypal roles of Builders, Champions, Collaborators, Companions, Connectors, Energizers, Mind Expanders, and Navigators within our respective networks.

Several participants observed that their network was homogenous, whereas some participants saw a highly diverse network. Most lay somewhere in between, but regardless of the insights gleaned, each participant left the meeting with a tangible visualization of D&I in their network, as well as new insights to drive deeper engagement with these complex and critical concepts. To keep participants accountable, we asked the group to journal the following questions:

  1. What will you do differently as a result of your insights from this activity?
  2. Which members of your network can be valuable sources of honest feedback in your effort to show up differently?
  3. Which members of your network will you enroll in your development at The Clearing? How and when?

Diversity and Inclusion at The Clearing

At The Clearing, we aim to inspire and empower our clients to contribute to causes that matter, and we also strive to lead by example and mirror the diversity of the marketplace we serve. We pride ourselves on our multidisciplinary staff, which comes from a wide variety of places, backgrounds, and areas of expertise. Many of us hail from outside of the paradigm of management consulting itself. We believe the diversity of perspective, opinion, and personal experience is one of our firm’s greatest strengths, giving us access to a deep pool of resources that set us apart.

To learn more about D&I at The Clearing, or how The Clearing can partner with you to achieve your Diversity and Inclusion goals leveraging this exercise and other key insights, reach out to us.