REC takes a holistic, transformational approach to implementing organizational change. We recognize that most change models approach the deep-rooted issues of race and racism with transactional strategies. Transactional strategies are actions and procedures that do not require a change in beliefs or theories. They are ineffective when undoing historical oppression. Unpacking the culminating cost of oppression on our communities and being able to identify the behavior of an organization that either perpetuates or mitigates such impact, requires an in-depth understanding of the foundations of racism and institutional oppression.
In this way, REC can gain a clear picture of needs related to racial equity; develop internal capacity, determine strategy, and create processes that institutionalize racial equity. This will lead to the planning and prioritizing of projects and initiatives that elevate racial equity, the implementation of those projects, and assessing outcomes.
Effective racial equity change efforts are not a simple matter of focusing on one or two activities. Actual organizational shift requires deliberately aligning vision, strategy, and measurements that are tied to accountable leadership and adequate resources. We often hear from organizations that they choose to embark on equity efforts that fit within the structure, practices, resources and scope of their current work. These efforts simply layer racial equity and social justice activities on top of current structures and practices.
Racial Equity Consultants recognizes that we live and work in a terrain of normative structures that are influenced by the dominant society. Accumulation of the ableist, sexist, heterosexist, elitist, classist and racist history demands that we acknowledge that normative practices are products of an accumulation of oppressive history. If we understand that we live and work within the modern-day results of this historical terrain, then we accept the assumption that our normative structures reflect the status quo of the privileged dominant culture. Utilizing multiple frameworks, we begin with an anti-oppression lens that is vital to developing an in-depth analysis of how systems of oppression (ableism, sexism, heterosexism, elitism, classism, and racism) and bias became embedded in dominant culture and institutionalized in our structures.
The purpose of an organizational analysis is to explore the organizational environment. The organizational environment is made up of social norms and patterns. These norms and patterns illuminate the behaviors, expectations, complexities and nuances of an organizational culture. Through this lens, REC identifies a baseline frame of normalized culture. This provides a reference point to identify needs and prioritize efforts. The benefit of performing this organizational analysis is to identify stressors that affect the health of an organization on a daily basis.
These stressors are the pressures and tensions felt by the organization. Stressors are influenced by both internal and external factors, accumulate over time and are most often in response to how the organization operates and carries out its objectives. While initial structures remain stable and fairly permanent, needs and demands change and stressors increase over time. REC uses qualitative exploration to identify stressors and illuminate behaviors and patterns of the organization. Using this data, REC reveals the conditions in which staff work, programs operate, and clients engage. These conditions serve as the baseline that identifies the areas where an organization will begin addressing equity efforts. This baseline assists REC with identifying the gaps that need addressing in order to prepare an organization to meet its equity goal of diversifying the organization and engaging with all communities.
An analysis of this nature shows how the organization is structured and how it operates. Completing this analysis emphasizes the daily work and procedures of the organization, illuminating how an organization is structured, how decisions are made, how various departments relate to each other, how the organization communicates its vision, and what stressors put pressure on the organization and its resources. This analysis seeks to unpack the written and unwritten, spoken and unspoken cultural norms and reveal the health of the organization.