Transform takes up the Five Day Challenge

    Last month we celebrated Black Inclusion Week, which ran from Monday 8th May to Sunday 14th. It’s a week which was launched by a community of black professionals and allies who want to make positive and lasting change, and here at HDN we stand with them as we work to promote opportunity and inclusion for all under-represented groups in the boardrooms of the housing sector.

    And one practical way that organisations can enhance their own knowledge and skills in all matters of inclusion, is the Race Equality Matters Five Day Challenge, taken up recently by the good people of Transform Housing & Support based in Surrey.

    We talked to friend of HDN and Transform’s Director of Corporate Services, Simone Bartley, about how the Five Day Challenge was rolled out there, and she has put together ‘five top tips’ to help you through the challenge which was built by the Race Equality Matters team. There are different and thought-provoking activities to do every day, covering areas including micro-aggressions and the importance of pronouncing a name correctly.

    Equality and inclusion is embedded in the culture at Transform and Simone is passionate about creating an environment where people of every background can reach their full potential. And recently she helped to steer Transform’s first group, made up of members of the organisation’s  Executive leadership team, to go through the Five Day Challenge.

    “The Race Equality Matters challenge is incredibly helpful,” says Simone. “There are some great resources to download which help to bring the subject to life. No-one thinks they’re racist but this challenge helps us to understand how we see the world… and some unintended consequences of those perspectives.

    “It’s a brilliant opportunity for reflection and awareness; we talked about how micro-aggressions add up. It’s a drip, drip effect which becomes very difficult to handle and things we may do quite innocently at first, such as mis-pronouncing names, can be avoided if we just put the effort in to get it right.” Simone says the challenge demands a clear commitment and follow up, and reflection in a way that will manage and mould the future. “It is not a sheep-dip type of process, it was tailored to our group and the thought-provoking guidance ensured we were all 100 per cent engaged.”

    So the Transform leadership team have undertaken the challenge and Simone is now planning  to roll this out, enabled by the bite size chunks on offer which help to break down a huge subject.

    Simone’s five top tips for getting the most out of the Five Day Challenge:

    1. Create a safe space to talk.  People will not be open if they feel they are going to be judged or criticised. Set your ground rules, be respectful, be curious and listen to understand.
    2. If you can, send the materials to the team to look at before the conversation.  We are all different and some of us need time to ponder and reflect first. Allowing this enables everyone join the conversation.
    3. Be prepared to listen, everyone has different experiences and perspectives.  Tune into the things that challenge your thinking, rather than saying “I don’t agree”, ask questions to better understand their perspective.
    4. Be open to uncomfortable conversations. Growth rarely happens when we are in our comfort zones.  Our intentions are rarely to hurt or upset anyone, so understanding other people’s perspectives can help us to understand when we might be doing this unintentionally, and then we can avoid it in the future.
    5. It does not stop there, make your commitment achievable and relevant to you, follow through and keep learning.

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