Our Approach

Our Philosophy

Our Stories

 

Our Approach

We help organizations, groups, and individuals create solutions that enable them to grow, connect, and thrive.

We do this by helping our clients understand and solve challenging organizational, team and interpersonal problems, remove barriers, and work across boundaries, improving their ability to work together, better.

Our services link core capabilities in Diversity and Inclusion and Organizational Development with strong corporate and government experience in national, regional and global settings. We have assisted a select group of clients in these areas since 1991. [more]

 

Our Philosophy

We believe that by being authentic and present, by bringing our whole selves to work, we benefit ourselves and our workplace. That’s the kind of environment we work to help our clients create, and we do our best to bring these values to our work with our clients each day. [more]

 

Our Stories – Duncan Smith

How did a straight white middle-aged man get involved in diversity?

Not long ago I was running a workshop, and about 20 minutes into the session, I noticed a woman hovering outside the door. When she came in she apologised for being late, then said: “I’ve been out there for a few minutes. I knew I was supposed to be coming to a diversity and inclusion workshop, looked though the door and saw you, and thought I must be in the wrong place! What could a white man know about diversity, bias, inclusion and exclusion?” I thought this was a great question, a reasonable assumption, and a great example of the kind of conversations that we need to have. [more]

 

Our Approach

Why Use ADC?

We help organizations, groups, and individuals create solutions that enable them to grow, connect, and thrive.

We do this by helping our clients understand and solve challenging organizational, team and interpersonal problems, remove barriers, and work across boundaries, improving their ability to work together, better.

Our services link core capabilities in Diversity and Inclusion and Organizational Development with strong corporate and government experience in national, regional and global settings. We have assisted a select group of clients in these areas since 1991.

 

Human Relationships and Organizational Outcomes

Our work links the human relationships of the workplace with organizational outcomes.  Whether it’s increasing productivity, responding to globalization, attracting and retaining talent, developing more effective leaders, improving teamwork, enhancing creativity, innovation, change management and problem solving capabilities, or improving service delivery, our work makes a positive contribution to the performance of organizations, teams and individuals.

 

Our Methods

Our work is based on the principles of process consultation and action intervention. We start with the assumption that the best solutions to a clients’ issues are to be found within the client system. We then provide knowledge and expertise that help our clients to clearly define the issues, and to develop and implement effective, lasting solutions. We work collaboratively with our clients to create practical solutions with tangible results.

 

Skills and Knowledge Transfer

Our approach ensures that our clients develop the skills and knowledge they need to engage in ongoing, continuous improvement, in ways that can be adapted to future changes in their work environment. Sharing the tools and experience we’ve gained in over 30 years of international practice, we help our clients to develop their own ability to remove barriers to performance; in this way, we help them to invest in success.

 

Practical Experience and Proven Value

ADC Associates delivers experienced, senior-level business partners on every project. Our personal experience in both the theory and practice of our work allows us to focus on our clients’ issues in ways that get results. ADC Associates’ diverse network of associates includes differences of gender, race, age, culture, language, family responsibilities, and thinking style, so your project gets the benefits of creativity, innovation and multiple perspectives that diversity brings. We don’t just work the issues, we live them.

 

How We Work With Our Clients

Our work with our clients is based on the following principles*:

  • We will improve our client's condition.
  • Our fees are based on value as perceived by our clients.
  • Our clients trust us to make the decisions as to whether we can accomplish their objectives.
  • Our client relationships will be developed as collaborative, mutually reinforcing, and mutually rewarding.
  • As a result of these relationships, we will achieve agreement with our clients on project outcomes, as opposed to tasks.

*adapted by ADC from Alan Weiss, Ph.D For more information see http://www.alanweiss.com

 

Our Philosophy

We believe that by being authentic and present, by bringing our whole selves to work, we benefit ourselves and our workplace. That’s the kind of environment we work to help our clients create, and we do our best to bring these values to our work with our clients each day. 

Underlying our work is the belief that all of us – all of humanity – need to work together to solve the big problems of the word. We find purpose in helping people to work together in ways that are honest, truthful, trusting, and caring.

We are guided by principles of openness, compassion, and respect.  These enable us to make strong connections with others; through these connections we can work together to solve the problems of our organisations, our communities and our world.

We believe that in helping to mobilise the vast resources of organisations – corporate, government, non-profit and academic – we can collectively address the critical problems facing humanity in the 21st century. We face wars, a dangerous and destructive arms trade, the damaging of our habitat, inequitable distribution of wealth and resources, political disenfranchisement, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and more. All of these problems are the results of the dominance of a way of functioning based on greed and fear.  We as a species are better than this. These problems are solvable. We can make different choices.  We have the intelligence, and the ability to do so. What is required is a fundamental shift in attitude and approach, and the motivation to make that shift.  Change is happening. We can make that change positive – but only if we work cooperatively, together, inclusively, and through consciousness and mindfulness.

Solving our problems requires us to work together with openness honesty, and compassion – not with political correctness but with respect.

 

Our Stories – Duncan Smith

How did a straight white middle-aged man get involved in diversity?

Not long ago I was running a workshop, and about 20 minutes into the session, I noticed a woman hovering outside the door. When she came in she apologised for being late, then said: “I’ve been out there for a few minutes. I knew I was supposed to be coming to a diversity and inclusion workshop, looked though the door and saw you, and thought I must be in the wrong place! What could a white man know about diversity, bias, inclusion and exclusion?” I thought this was a great question, a reasonable assumption, and a great example of the kind of conversations that we need to have.

Looking back, the seeds of my working with diversity and inclusion were there at least from college days. Studying comparative religion, enabled me to look at a variety of cultures, histories, belief systems, ways of understanding and expressing multiple perspectives. My first job, selling consumer electronics on military bases in Europe for Bose Corporation required a white anti-Vietnam war pacifist kid from the suburbs of Boston learning how to connect with a black tank driver from Mississippi. As in internal sales and management training consultant at Digital Equipment Corporation I found ways of working with the interpersonal and group dynamics that have a powerful impact on how people work together, but are often unspoken, not addressed, and seen as undiscussable. And, I came across Diversity work for the first time.  Doing a Master's degree at Harvard enabled me to study Organisational Development with Chris Argyris; Negotiation skills with the Harvard Law Schools’ Negotiation Project (the home of “Getting to Yes”); Developmental Psychology with Robert Kegan; Cross-Racial Counselling with Dr. Chester Pierce of Harvard Medical School, among other things. At the same time, I attended a two day Diversity program Digital ran for employees, at which I discovered biases and prejudices I didn’t know I was carrying around, and saw the benefits of tapping into diversity in a way that combines positive and powerful personal insights with useful, practical business outcomes. That, in 1988, was my light bulb moment, and I’ve been following the Diversity and Inclusion path ever since. Coincidentally, I also found things about the corporate environment that left me feeling excluded, despite being a member of the dominant majority (white, male, straight), which also tuned me in to diversity of thinking style and approach, and was an early lesson in stereotyping (what men are supposed to be like) and the restrictions stereotyping puts both on ourselves and others.

Since moving to Australia in 1991, I’ve facilitated a large number of workshops for leaders on unconscious bias and inclusive leadership, and delivered programs for groups ranging from CEOs and executive teams to mine-site shift supervisors. What's been interesting to me is to see how well this material works in a variety of settings. In every case, participants in the programs have been able to make sense of the material and take away several tips and ideas to apply with their team.

From 2011-2014 I had the pleasure of leading BP’s Asia Pacific community of practice on diversity and inclusion, delivering programs across different countries with a multicultural faculty. It seems obvious, but the most important thing about working internationally, and especially in D&I, is to understand the cultural context in which you are operating, to focus on the issues of diversity that are relevant in both the wider culture and the business culture of a given country, and to the individuals with whom you are working on any given day. Understanding the historical, cultural, religious, social, business, and interpersonal dynamics of clients are all critical to being able to work effectively with diversity in any country. It’s not necessarily about the issues I think are important, it’s about helping clients work through the issues that are relevant to them.

What I find most rewarding about this work is that we enable people to have conversations they don't normally have. This is useful for deepening and strengthening working relationships, which in turn leads to a workplace where people realise that being productive, being fully engaged in your work, and having fun, all go together.

And of course my work is influenced by my wider life, including being a parent, being active for most of my life as a musician, a dancer and teacher of traditional social dance, a lover of nature and the outdoors, and engaging in as much ongoing spiritual and personal development as I can.

When I was just starting out in the diversity field, before I came to Australia, I had a phone call with Barbara Walker, one of the early diversity pioneers in the US. She told me at that time that “I’ve been in the diversity field for 25 years and I have no idea what the answers are – but I think I'm starting to know what some of the questions are.” At the time I thought that was an easy way to finish a phone call. Now that I've been in the diversity field for over 25 years myself, I see the wisdom and the accuracy of what she said, and I couldn’t agree more. I try to bring that spirit of being a learner, of developing ever greater awareness, to the work.

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