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> learning circles: engaging senior men

Statistics show that 84% of corporate officers in Fortune 1000 corporations are men. Their full engagement and support of diversity initiatives is the key to success. Cambridge Hill has designed two programs that have been more successful than traditional diversity training in engaging senior executives.

What are Learning Circles?
Learning Circles are small, facilitated dialogue groups designed to increase senior managers’ awareness about the experiences of diverse employees and women in their organizations. Learning Circles have proven to be an effective way of engaging and preparing senior managers to be credible as diversity champions.

How do Learning Circles work?
Cambridge Hill Partners trains facilitators from within client organizations to act as Guides for the Learning Circles. The focus of a Learning Circle is to share individual experiences and develop a deeper understanding of the forms of exclusion and barriers to advancement.

Who should consider Learning Circles?
Organizations who have diversity goals and have not yet reached their desired levels of representation of women and people of color in positions of real leadership, authority and influence should consider Learning Circles. Senior management teams who wish to be visibly and actively involved in leading diversity efforts should consider Learning Circles. In addition, a deeper understanding of diversity related goals and the effects of cluelessness can help build a more cohesive culture and support a positive change in corporate culture. Cluelessness refers to a lack of awareness about gender and racial dynamics.

What are the advantages?
Learning Circles are not "one shot" events. They are a vehicle for sustained engagement and continued professional development. Because managers from many different functions and levels are trained as Guides, clients report high levels of ownership. At the same time, Learning Circles are cost effective and strengthen internal capacity. Once initial Guides are trained, any number of Learning Circles can be started anywhere within the corporation.

Learning Circles are currently being used in England, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States.

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