One of the things I get to do these days is to work with companies that are looking to build out their “women’s” program. Is this the only solution to the current challenges? No, but it’s a start. I’m not going into that debate today. I’m thrilled that smart companies are bringing in people like me to make sure there is a plan for success. Positive signs people, positive signs.

I was working with a team the other day that got me thinking. We were having a conversation that I’d had with almost every team. A conversation about budgets — creating budgets and spending budgets.

One of the first conversations I have with a team is around the idea that this “group” (they often haven’t picked out a name yet) should consider themselves a startup within the company. As such, one of the many things they should think about is creating a “pitch deck.” A good pitch should outline the high-level strategy of everything from product to sales to marketing to operations, etc. And while they aren’t technically going to be a revenue generating organization, they would still need to ask for an investment at the end. Investment of time from the people involved, and an investment of money from the sponsoring company.

I’m often faced with a look of astonishment and sometimes even fear when I share this with teams. “We should tell management how much money we need? Don’t they tell us how much money we get?” So yes, anyone who’s been through the budgeting process knows there’s a dance between the ask and the give when it comes to budgets. But shouldn’t you at least ask? When you do ask, have the “for what,” “why,” and (my favorite) the measure of success (ROI) from the investment.

Have you had the money conversation about your organization’s diversity program?

Actually, what surprises me more are the conversations with executive teams. While there’s absolutely support and expectation to invest in these groups, they’ve either created a number out of thin air or are just asking “What do you need?” I can’t think of any successful idea that hasn’t had help on strategy along the way and need a budget to manifest. Why would this be any different?

Now I’m hoping that you lovely people are already thinking “Joanna, we’re already doing that!” Hooray if you are. Bravo!

But if you’re not, I hope – whichever role you play in this budget process – this has made you think. Think of it as an investment, not just as a line item on the budget.

Be Curious – What We’re Reading

We are voracious readers at The Amplify Lab. We’ve chosen a couple of articles that really opened our eyes to some new and amazing ideas and made us think outside the box, beyond our knowledge sphere.

“Even if you don’t have millions to spend on cultivating an inclusive culture, there are lessons here for every company.”
How These Top Companies Are Getting Inclusion Right. Fast Company


 “The end is near when protecting the past is more important than creating the future.”
5 Strategies to Convince Reluctant Leaders to Move Forward. Leadership Freak

Be Brave – What we are doing

To see where Joanna is speaking and leading workshops, check out the Events Page.

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