The Difference is in the Difference

In one of our previous blog posts, we covered why the rise in DE&I consultants is potentially problematic, and why the ability to distinguish real knowledge from surface level knowledge is so important.

When it comes down to it, who you select as a partner should be based on what you need and what they know.

So, what distinguishes one DE&I consultant from another?

  • Experience and expertise – As with any specialized profession, experienced DE&I consultants come from a wide range of backgrounds. Some may have worked in specific industries, some may be generalists, while others may have more specialized experience working with particular affinity groups.
  • Approach and methods – Which is better, a consultant with a practical or academic approach? One could say that an academic background is all theory and hasn’t been tested under real world unpredictable scenarios. Maybe. You can also make the case that a practical approach applies knowledge and skills acquired over time to solve real-world problems. Both academic and practical approaches have their own advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on what you’re looking to accomplish, what the job is you’re hiring for, and most importantly, what politically works best in your organization.
  • Reputation – Experienced consultants have a high degree of credibility, a significant body of work and are seen more as partners vs. vendors and advisors vs. consultants.
  • Personal qualities – Active listening is one of the most important skills a consultant possesses. Empathy is also crucial, as DE&I consultants must be able to understand and relate to the experiences and perspectives of people from all walks of life. Other qualities include knowing one’s expertise limitations. In business, all of us are operating in an era of specialization. Trying to be all things to all people is an old model that no longer works.  If you run into someone who claims to do it all, it’s probably best to continue your search. Finally, do you trust this person and/or their team? Not only to get the work done, but to be focused on your agenda and not theirs. We’re doing a lot of work internally on emotional safety, not sure we always consider trust when we’re looking for a consultant.

Learn more about GVC’s expertise and solutions by visiting us at, we’d love to hear more about what you’re working on.

Greg Almieda is the Founder & CEO of GVC, an inclusion business strategy firm.

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