Time and again, when I have discussions about DEI the “D” component goes to race or gender, often as separate elements.

Sexual orientation might be the third piece, but it is usually a bit behind the first two.  Race, gender and sexual orientation are absolutely important diversity demographics, but they are by no means the only ones.  And none of us can be described as who we are by only one dimension.

Diversity is a measure of differences among a group, and those differences can exist across any number of lines.

A diversity wheel can be really helpful in DEI discussions.  The green pieces show the dimensions that most regularly come to mind in DEI, while the outer purple dimensions capture many of the additional things that make us who we are.  In fact, the purple dimensions are often the things we find in common with people who are not like us in the green sections.  They can be terrific bridge builders when you’re looking to foster better inclusion in a group.

An easy exercise to put this in practice is to get your team together and have individuals pair up.  Ask each person to pick 1-2 things on the wheel that really define who they are and have them share that with each other.  Nine times out of ten, the things people talk about are in the purple sections.  And almost always team members learn something new about each other when they do this.

The next time you’re discussing DEI in your company, challenge yourself and your team members to think about this wheel and how you can be more inclusive of everyone’s needs.

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