• Stephen Fowler

Buying In - Diversity and Inclusion Training that Actually Works.

Everybody has limitations.. Everybody. That is the theme of the film.

Here is the "Executive Summary"
  • Real learning takes place when the student WANTS to learn.

  • A well produced film is more effective than a lecture or training film.

  • Learning is more effective when the associate can empathize with those portrayed in the film.

  • Lessons learned will last much longer when the associate really believes that diversity and inclusion affects her / him.

The documentary film Invitation to the Dance is the first, most important, asset to give your D&I training amazing results. The film doesn't look or feel like a training film. The film builds a powerful bond between the lovable special needs adults who are featured and your associates who watch. There are no "victims", only winners. The cost of using the film is very low. The rewards are endless.

* * *

Imagine how much more effective a training program would be if the associates attending actually enjoyed it and trusted the authenticity of what they were being told and shown.

A well made film can bring the associate to an emotional place that makes being open minded possible. On the other hand, some of the "diversity training videos" I have seen were not much more than video rants by actors and actresses who had no credibility on the subject. Such a film can actually create the exact opposite reaction than the one desired.

In the days following the Starbucks customer bias disaster, many companies are looking at Diversity and Inclusion training yet again.


  • To change the corporate culture?

  • As insurance against a public relations nightmare?

  • To build a better product or provide a better service?

  • All of the above?

  • None of the above?

In the comments section tell us what really motivates you and your company to conduct D&I training. Be as candid as possible. If the reason is to "eye wash", find a way to tell us.

Before we can embrace inclusion and diversity we must recognize that there is room for improvement.

Who is discriminated against in your organisation?

If your answer is "No one", why do you need Diversity and Inclusion training? Maybe there is no discrimination in your organisation but there is bias felt by some groups against others without specific practices of discrimination.

The point is this, in a good D&I program, examples of bias and discrimination should be illustrated and ways to avoid them should be taught. How do you do that without sinking into a quagmire of negative issues? Should a group of male supervisors be shown discussing their reluctance to promote a woman? Should a white colleague be shown talking to an African American colleague and saying "You and I work great! You are white as far as I am concerned!'..Ouch!

Invitation to the Dance shows us special needs adults, specifically, learning challenged adults, who are receiving ballet training. Who would have imagined adults, with varying intellectual and motor skills in a ballet studio? Also, in spite of sounding like a nice idea, what does it have to do with diversity training?

In the film none of the characters are actors. None of the characters are being shown as being the subject of bias. None of the characters are demanding to be heard or promoted or respected. Even though it is not demanded, compassion and respect for the characters is evident by the looks on the faces of the viewers

If your associates resent being asked to attend a training session and feel they are being lectured, they will resist any of the outcomes that your desire. Your efforts as an HR professional will not be rewarded.

You want a good outcome for your company and your associates. Maybe training that addresses the issues in a completely different way is a place to start. Maybe it is a good idea to try a more compassionate way that sets associate engagement as its first goal.

It is said that in order to teach anyone anything one must first get the attention of the student.

To get a more complete story of the development of the film Invitation to the Danceread the blog here.

View the trailer..

To see how Invitation to the Dance can be made to work for your company. Facilitator's workbook or appearance of the filmmaker also available.

Contact us! Email - Call 615-522-2939

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© 2018 by Invitation to the Dance Film