Ideation is not the same as implementation. It’s easy to gather around the boardroom and scheme up the latest strategy; however, it’s a bit more difficult to bring to fruition. This is why countless companies and churches pride themselves on being inclusive, loving, and a diversified pinnacle of the community. However, when we glimpse at their track record and peer into the reality of their praxis, we see a board room full of individuals who talk about progress yet find comfort in the past.

Welcome to the reality of most organizations. They perpetuate a position of diversity yet operate from the stance of segregation and monoculturalism. Before I delve into how to know if your company is really diversified, I want to highlight some reasons why it’s imperative to create constructs that are assorted.

Your Organization Needs to Represent Your Audience

According to a recent article by NBC News, “Today’s Millennials – young adults ages 18 to 33 – are the most racially diverse generation in U.S. history. About 43 percent are non-white.” This means that the majority of your audience is non-Caucasian and globalized in their perception of the world. Your company needs to represent its ‘buyer’. It needs to understand that the majority of its customer base is multicultural, multilingual and multifaceted.

Your Organization Needs to Invite Diversified Politics 

What do I mean by this? Today’s young people do not consider themselves diehard Democrats or diehard Republicans – they consider themselves Independent from the constraints of parties and purposed for the benefit of people.

If your company or church is perpetuating an ‘us-versus-them’ stance politically, you’ll find that your organization disconnects with Millennials and Generations Z.

These generations have learned how to live in the midst of diversified thought and conviction and still remain congenial and collaborative with one another. They’re not looking to be told how to vote; they’re looking for ways to collaborate to bring about the difference.

RELATED: The Opportunity in Cross-Mentoring: How You Can Learn from Colleagues Both Older and Younger Than You

Your Organization Needs to Make Equality Not Just Equal Pay

Millennials and Generation Z grew up in a LEAN IN world – a place where men and women are invited to contribute to the table and work together to bring about the vision of the company. Diversity without equality is segregation. This is why it’s imperative to make sure that your company is not simply racially diversified but diversified in position. If you only have Caucasians in positions of management and POC in lower positions, you’re not diversified, you’re perpetuating hierarchal discrimination.

So, how do you know if your company is on the right track? Here are 3 ways that set you apart from the rest.

1. Your company or church embraces diversified perspectives. 

What do I mean by this? If you want diversity, then you must allow for difference. You must invite conflicting beliefs and perceptions to the table and seek to dialogue without seeing them as disloyal. No longer are we a culture where everyone has to be on the same page at the same time. We are working with generations who value difference. This means that if you’re looking for a new pastor, then you figure out your three core values that all staff members must have and invite diversified perspectives outside those three core values.

2. Your company or church hires people that represent the area.

Why are so many Millennials and Generation Z moving to nearby cities? Many are moving for job options and proximity to cultural opportunities, but they’re also moving because they value living with every tongue and every nation. If you’re leading an organization, it’s imperative to understand the geographic data of your area. For instance, before I even consider bringing a LOUD summit or workshop to an area, I meet with the nearby pastors and leaders and gain a better idea for the area. All our events have represented the locations of the areas and been highly diversified in race, language, and gender. If your organization is taking the time to understand their audience and geographical location, then they’re hiring people that resonate.

3. Your company or church partners with other organizations.

We’ve come to the last point. Your organization is diversified if you have a diversified network. Before you try to change the look of your company or church, take a look at the people that you consider to be your inner circle. What is their race? What is their gender? What is their political and social stance? If you find that the majority of your colleagues are diversified, then you easily have the ability to shape a diversified organization. However, this doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a purposeful plan that brings about purposed results.

We all think in terms of ROI. Before you meet with your board or go over potential resumes, ask yourself, “What do I want for Return on my Investment?” Am I will to invest? If you’re willing to step out and do things differently, then I guarantee your company will represent that change and be an organization purposed in diversity.

Colleen speaks at numerous conferences, churches and colleges and challenges her generation to BE the CHURCH and put feet to their faith. Her passion is to speak with organizations and bridge the intergenerational gap. She consults with companies and helps them create teams that function from a place of communication and reach the millennial generation. She also is the Founder and Director of LOUD Summit – a young adult conference that engages the conservative, progressive and skeptic to pull up a chair and seek Christ. When Colleen is not studying for her DMin in Leadership and Global Perspectives at Portland Seminary, you can find her enjoying a nice Chai Latte, exploring NYC or traveling to a new and exotic destination.