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We are all influencers

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021

Ola Ioane, Tracey Taylor, Nic Johns

Diversity Works New Zealand Head of Membership Ola Ioane has shared some of his reflections from an insightful presentation at our recent Wellington Regional Diversity Group hui.

When we came together with our Wellington whānau last month, the theme for the gathering was ‘Influencing Leadership’. Those of us championing change in our organisations recognise that it requires conscious intent to convince our leaders to take strategic ownership of diversity and inclusion. Our insightful speakers reminded us that we all have the power to influence that.

Tracey Taylor, Chief Executive for Yellow New Zealand Ltd, actively led the commitment to gender representation within the organisation’s leadership teams (The Parallel Project), the collaboration with Tupu Toa to grow Māori and Pacific leaders, and the effort to share stories from voices that sometimes go unheard (Her Say Book).

Before the ‘leading’ can begin, Tracey urged us to unpack the ‘why’ behind our actions. This is a great first step in welcoming collaboration in the decision-making process so that organisations can identify what they truly stand for and act accordingly.

She says, “love is all you need”, which an interesting sentiment considering that love is often reserved for the private space. It is not until you hear how Tracey stepped into the discomfort of advocating for ‘loving’ leadership, that you believe that love is not mutually exclusive to organisational success.

Our second speaker, Nic Johns, Strategic Advisor for the High Performance Team at NZ Police, reflected honestly on the opportunities for improvement. She encouraged us to partner with allies who take the time to understand a situation and advocated for transformative action.

Secondly, through sharing a deeply personal story, Nic demonstrated the importance of giving issues context, making it real for listeners and helping to influence key decision makers’ views on these issues. This helps us to stay mindful of the ‘small things’ and how actions that might appear insignificant in the grand scheme of things can create momentum for further change.

As societal issues continue to be revealed, Nic prompted us to ‘choose to challenge’, a choice that requires individuals to have the courage to present challenge with the wholehearted belief that their voice is valued.

Yellow and NZ Police are examples of organisations who continue to strive for excellence in leadership by humanising the workplace experience.

We entrust our leaders to do what is right for our people, so it makes sense that we make the action of influencing accessible for all.

A question I have asked myself since this hui is, ‘What does leading with love and choosing to challenge look like for me?’

Perhaps this moment in time is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what our influence in the workplace is and how we are being influenced. With this in mind, I am inspired to keep learning from our members and growing with them on this constantly evolving diversity and inclusion journey.

Soifua ma ia manuia.

If you would like to find out more about the Wellington Regional Diversity Group, please email membership@diversityworknz.org.nz

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