Richmond, Virginia –
Defense Logistics Agency Aviation employees at Richmond, Virginia, attended a workshop for the quarterly diversity and inclusion training titled “The 10 Lenses,” May 25, in the Lotts Conference Center. The DLA Aviation Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity Office sponsored the event.
The training offered various ways to connect with each other and their internal and external customers, while leveraging diversity to increase productivity, innovation, and carry out the mission. The event featured music, video, and live interactive theatre. The training goal was to enhance interpersonal skills and provide an understanding of the 10 lenses framework. Lenses being described as patterns of human behavior.
Monster Government Solutions employees Mark Williams and Sheryl Hicks facilitated the presentation. Williams told attendees the 10 Lenses concept is to be adapted as a guide to living and working in a multicultural world. He said the 10 Lenses are defined as distinctly different belief systems and styles for dealing with cultural differences. They affect what we see, how we interpret what we see, and the actions we take connected to the many identity-related issues we face every day.
According to the training group’s website, when conceived and implemented correctly, strategic diversity and inclusion programs deliver a powerful return on investment in the form of increased efficiency and improved mission performance – not to mention lower turnover and higher levels of job satisfaction – across the entire workforce.
These 10 lenses included: assimilationists, who believe when is Rome, do as the Romans do, way of thinking; colorblindists are those who say when I look at you I see the person not the color of your skin; culturalcenterists are those who seeks to improve the welfare of their own culture groups by emphasizing the groups history and identity; elitists believe in superiority of the upper class, embracing family roots, and wealth and social status; integrationists support breaking down all barriers among racial groups by merging cultures in the workplace; meritocratists are those who believe cream rises to the top. If someone has the ability and works hard, they can compete with anyone and make their dreams come true; multiculturalists celebrates the diversity of cultures and the contributions these cultures make to society overall; seclusionists feels strongly that they should protect themselves from racial, cultural and ethnic groups that diminish the character and quality of their group’s experience in society; transcendents believe their common origin transcends racial, cultural, national or ethnic identity and focuses on the human spirit and universal connections; and the victims/caretakers feel they suffer from the impact of oppression.
Williams said there is no good or bad lenses, most people see through more than one and there are strengths and weaknesses in each lens. He asked attendees to move in groups to discuss his question, “why should DLA cultivate and promote an inclusive culture to maximize the talent, skills and diversity within the DLA community?” The attendees came up with answers for open discussion.
The facilitators conducted a group-think session by acting out three of the lens scenarios: Assimilationists, culturecentrists and meritocratists. They then opened the session up for what turned out to be passionate, but playful discussions on each scenario.
DLA Aviation’s Supplier Operations Commodities Directorate employee Morishita Armstead, contract administrator for post-awards, attended the event and said, “This event was very insightful in seeing how diverse people are and the way they react and think in particular situations. This event gave me a new perspective in communicating with people,” said Armstead. "Anything that brings a new perspective helps a person grow as an individual. It’s easy to get stuck in your own bubble and forget to listen to a different perspective."