This activity is a hands-on approach in exercising diversity in a group setting, so that leaders will gain comfort and experience with the diverse worker population in a real-world work environment.
- Increase sympathy for those who are different from us.
- To provide a chance to increase the understanding of other people’s views.
- To explore the role of leaders in honoring and respecting diversity.
- Use of analogy
- Pictures, posters, and news articles that show the different kinds of people who make
up our culture
- Flipchart and markers
- Wall space to attach the posters and pictures
- Tables for small groups
Invite three to five individuals who represent different demographics of your community or state in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, political position, religion to the session.
Pre-activity assignment: About two weeks before the activity, let all participants know of the pre-workshop assignment.
Pre Activity Assignment
Two weeks before the event when you will do this activity, give the following instructions to all participants.
You will be instructed to walk in another person’s shoes for a period of two weeks. You have been assigned you to “be” the person reflected in the list below:
an African (a)
a person with a physical disability
a retired person aged 60 and above
How to go about it?
Collect all information about life from this person’s perspective. Sources might include:
– articles in newspapers or magazines
– stories on the news
– interviews with individuals at work or in your community
Step By Step Instructions
- Introduce the topic by ensuring the right setting for diversity: Place a bouquet of different kinds of flowers at the front of the room and display a poster or picture of a rainbow. Ask participants these questions for discussion:
“How are we as humans similar to this bouquet of flowers?”
“What is the difference in taking care of a tulip versus a daisy?”
“What is the significance of a rainbow to our topic of diversity?”
The facilitator should say this next, “Over the past two weeks, you were to gather information about a certain type of person. Please do not reveal to other participants which person you were researching. Instead, keep that new perspective at the forefront of your mind during this activity.”
- Exchange shoes. Ask participants to place their right shoes on the floor in front. Then have each person take one different shoe and wear it during the break (and until further notice).
- In the next segment which is based on uniqueness, divide the total team into the number of guests you invited (3–5). Instruct Group One to move to one of the tables you have indicated, were one of the guests is sitting. Do this with each group until everyone is seated. Provide ideas or questions for discussion, such as:
Inform others on what you have learned (before the activity) about your assigned “type” of person.
Describe how you are unique—tell something no one else in this group would possibly guess.
How does it feel to walk in another person’s shoes?
- Reassemble into the large group and cross-examine what was discussed at each table. Have someone briefly record some general observations on the flipchart.
- Facilitate a discussion between your guests and participants by asking your guests these questions, one by one:
Tell us about a time when you were excluded from something and what you did about it.
What did you feel when you were excluded because of your race or ethnicity?
How do you determine if others are treating you differently because of your gender, race, or ethnicity?
How often do you think about your race or ethnicity, as opposed to your gender?
Were you encouraged to “fit in?”
Is it possible for you to “represent” your ethnic or racial group?
- Now focus on the role of the leader. Ask the following:
“What is your responsibility for diversity as a leader of staff or area?”
“What can you do to influence your organization?”
- Summary and Closure
Place two flipcharts side by side, and add title to them as “Personal” and “Organizational” respectively.
Ask participants to narrate the pros and cons of improving workplace diversity. Write the responses on the appropriate flipchart, and see if volunteers can help sum up the point of this exercise.
Post Activity Review
Take time shortly after conducting this activity to reflect on how it went, how engaged the participants were, and what questions they raised. Then, make notes that include how much time you actually spent on the activity.