How to Guide Behavior Change for Diversity and Inclusion: An Interview with Joe Gerstandt

This week’s podcast guest is Joe Gerstandt. Joe is renowned speaker, author and advisor who works with organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small non-profits in they diversity and inclusion efforts.

Joe and I talked about his early life growing up in rural Iowa, his early exposure to diversity when he joined the Marine Corps, and his life transforming experience of working for the Nebraska AIDS project  which set him on his trajectory to do DEI work

Joe focuses a good bit of his work on addressing the concept of being white in America and exploring our whiteness and the advantages it affords us.

We discussed stereotypes and the importance of overpowering the “us vs. them” assumptions that have been baked into our brains.

Joe made an interesting point that really caught my attention…that behavior change requires identity change. We talked about how terrifying and upending that can be for people, and how we as practitioners can help people navigate the challenge of these behavior changes.

Joe has some really great videos on his website (check them out!), including one on authenticity that I wanted to explore with him. I was especially interested because when it comes to authenticity, it’s often people who are socially marginalized that don’t feel safe being their authentic selves for fear of judgement or punishment. Joe talked about the importance of building the psychological safety for people to be their authentic selves in the workplace.

You can also find Joe on Twitter and LinkedIn @joegerstandt. He provides a lot of thought provoking ideas, as well as practical tips and insights for how we can explore our own identities, biases, and behaviors. Check him out!

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