Organizational Justice with Nicole Butts

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a hot topic right now and one that a lot of organizations have begun to address. But are they really doing the work? Not always, says podcast guest Nicole Yeldell Butts.

We know that diversity work is necessary but the challenge is getting leaders to do the work alongside the organization. It’s not a box to be checked or a meeting that needs to be held. DEI work needs to be part of an organization’s values and day-to-day operations.

In this episode, we talk about the fear of pushback when you start talking about diversity, why it’s okay to get it wrong (because you will), the role of organizational justice in your DEI work, and the future of diversity work. Nicole shares her framework around creating systemic, effective, and sustainable cultural change in your organization.

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About Nicole L. Yeldell Butts

Nicole L. Yeldell Butts is an accomplished Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) executive, strategist, coach, facilitator, and public speaker who specializes in transforming executives into inclusive and equitable organizational leaders. As a facilitator of learning and challenging cultural dialogues, Nicole creates welcoming and safe spaces for people to engage, explore, and grow.

During her 20-year career, she has built multiple inaugural DEI offices while serving as a chief diversity officer, a director of employee diversity, inclusion, and climate and a director of equal employment.

Nicole is the founder of NLYB Solutions, a DEI consulting firm helping executives, executive teams, and organizations courageously and effectively navigate personal, professional, and organizational DEI journeys. She is the creator of SHIFT, a transformational five-step framework for creating systemic, effective, measurable and sustainable DEI cultures.

NLYB Solutions was recognized as a Top Ten Emerging Diversity & Inclusion Company of 2021 by HR Tech Outlook magazine. Connect with her on LinkedIn and find out more on her website.

Mentioned In This Episode:




organization, people, missteps, diversity, equity, important, conversation, executives, inclusion, courageous conversations, dei, engage, framework, nicole, create, organizational, organizational leaders, work, values, belonging


Nicole Butts, Lindsay Recknell

Lindsay Recknell  00:01

You are a people leader or an HR professional, working hard to create an amazing employee experience for your team and your organization. But between the operational tasks of your job managing emotions and politics both up and down the corporate ladder, and trying to find some semblance of work life integration in your own life, I suspect you are also overwhelmed and burnt out. If even the thought of navigating the complicated world of mental health at work probably seems like too much to handle.

Let this podcast be your not so secret weapon to help fix that. I’m your host Lindsay Recknell. And my mission is to help great leaders like you feel less awkward and more confident talking about mental health at work. So you can stress less, take more action and continue to make a valuable difference in your job as a leader positively impacting the lives of your I’ll be bringing you the experts insights and actions that will give you the skills you need to navigate mental health in the workplace and foster a workplace where everyone’s mental health can thrive. 

This week’s guest is Nicole butts, an accomplished Diversity Equity and Inclusion executive, a strategist coach facilitator and a public speaker who specializes in transforming executives into inclusive and equitable organizational leaders. As the facilitator of learning and challenging cultural dialogues, Nicole creates welcoming and safe spaces for people to engage, explore and grow. Nicole is also a speaker at the upcoming SHRM conference being held in June of 2022 in New Orleans, and I cannot wait to hear her speak of the show. During her 20 year career, Nicole has built multiple inaugural de i offices while serving as a chief diversity officer, a director of employee diversity, inclusion and climate and a director of equal employment. Nicola is the founder of NLYB  solutions, a DEI consulting firm, helping executives, executive teams and organizations courageously and effectively navigate personal, professional and organizational DEI journeys. She used the creative shift, a transformational five step framework for creating systemic, effective, measurable and sustainable DEI cultures. She’s going to share all of that with us in this episode, and it’ll be solutions was recognized as a top 10 emerging diversity and inclusion company of 2021 by HR tech outlook magazine, extra evidence that Nicole and her team are thought leaders in this space. Nicole has such great and actionable insights to share. So let’s get to her episode. 

Before we get started, I want your time to be valuable here. So in order to get the most from this podcast, head to my website at And download the Guide to Influence and Impact at Work, which has the step by step action plan, you’ll need to embed a focus on mental health into the employee experience of your workplace, it’s totally free. And it’ll give you the start to your action plan steps to follow to create engagement to build a budget and a method to measure the value influence and impact that you are going to be making as you lead this transformational change in your organization. We haven’t been taught the mental health skills we need to truly lead our organizations into the future. So let this guide and this podcast be the advantage you need to elevate your career, your leadership skills and the positive impact you’ll bring to your organization, head to and download the free Guide to Influence and Impact at Work now. The opportunity is yours and I cannot wait to see what you’ll do.  All right. Now let’s get to our guest. Hello, Nicole, thank you so so much for joining me on the show today.

Nicole Butts  03:38

Hi, Lindsay. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

Lindsay Recknell  03:40

Me too. I think our connection that we had before the show had so much alignment and so many, so much great conversation that I can’t wait to have it recorded this time. Maybe we’ll start the show by you sharing a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Nicole Butts  03:56

Sure. So my name is Nicole L. Yeldell Butts, you’ve probably already introduced and I am a Diversity Equity and Inclusion strategist and executive and executive coach. I have been in this field for over 20 years, it’s hard for me to believe it started out is really kind of Diversity Awareness Training and it has evolved significantly over the last 22 years. You know, we just added the phrase belonging to what used to just be Diversity Awareness. So now we have diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and I suspect soon thereafter, we’re going to officially add social justice but we’ll wait.

Lindsay Recknell  04:36

I love that evolution. One of the things that we talk about a lot on the show is what does the future of work look like in this mental health space and, and DIB SJ, perhaps? Some of the acronyms we’re gonna use in the future. Can you tell me a little bit about that social justice piece and how you see that evolving?

Nicole Butts  04:57

Yeah, and I’ll actually align it with that organizational justice as well. So when we talk about social justice, what we’re talking about is people’s sense of really belonging and fairness and equity within our environment, the way we live, the way we work, the way we play, the way we get to engage, and the way in which people engage with us. When you think about that, from an organizational standpoint, there’s also something called organizational justice. And organizational justice looks at the way people feel treated, around how work is distributed around how procedures and policies and practices are implemented. And again, the way in which people engage so there’s a direct correlation between social justice and organizational justice.

Lindsay Recknell  05:56

Oh, and it feels so I don’t know it feels like such common sense. Why is it taking so long to be having these conversations? By itself is a conversation. Right? We could do a whole podcast about that. Totally agree, totally agree. The way that you and you and I met is because you are a speaker at an upcoming SHRM conference in New Orleans in June. Can you share a little bit about your talk and what participants can expect to hear from you at the show?

Nicole Butts  06:29

Absolutely. I’m really excited about the SHRM Conference and Expo this year. So I have been invited to speak on a framework that I developed called shift S H, I, F, T, SHIFT. And SHIFT is a five point framework for creating measurable systemic effective, sustainable diversity, equity and inclusion, culture change. I know that’s kind of a mouthful, but that’s ultimately what it’s designed to do. And in truth, when you look at the shift framework, it can be applied to any kind of organizational change, or personal change. It can be applied to either my focus is around DEI. So SHIFT stands for really the steps in the framework, which I’ll walk people through at SHRM but quick overview, the S stands for setting and setting the Northstar. And I was listening to one of your prior podcast with what is the name of the woman who was on your podcast? She was really good. She was talking about values. Another Lindsay

Lindsay Recknell  07:33

Yes! Lindsay Harle-Kadatz.

Nicole Butts  07:37

Yeah. So she was talking about values. And she was talking about the belief that the values and beliefs have to have to be aligned. And it really goes hand in hand with my first step in the shift framework, which is setting the Northstar. Because in setting the Northstar, you have to first identify who you want to be as an organization. Right? We organizations right now are writing all of these diversity and inclusion statements, these anti racism statements, statements of solidarity, great statements. Not all of the organizations have done the work to figure out how they’re going to demonstrate that, and that’s where the rub cups, right? So the shift framework starts with, who do you want to be? That value? What are your values, and when we talk about values, we have to understand there’s a difference between our stated values and our lived values. Lots of organizations and lots of people have values, our stated values, what we say we believe in, often what we think we believe in, that isn’t necessarily aligned with our lived values, and lived values are created when we look at our stated values. And we determine how we want those to show up in the world. How if this is what I say, I believe in? How am I going to demonstrate that, particularly when other things are misaligned with what I say is important to me, right? So when I’m in a situation where I’m uncomfortable, or it’s new to me, or the organization is asking me to go in a different direction. When things are misaligned with what I say my values are, how am I going to demonstrate my values. So that’s how we turned those turn stated values into limped values. So that’s really the first part of the shift framework is setting the Northstar, defining who we want to be defining how we demonstrate who we want to be.  The next is H which is here. Where are you right now. You know, a lot of organizations when they think about culture change, they start with an assessment the struggle I have found over the years with starting with an assessment is that we become very reactive once we get the results back. We don’t really know what it is we’re assessing, we’re just going to do an assessment, and it’s going to tell us something, and then we’re going to do something. But unless we start with where we want to be, again, that Northstar that assessment, those assessment results really just become reactionary for us. So my second step is to ah, once we know who we want to be, then we figure out where we are right now in relation to that North Star. So that’s the age here I am here. I want to be there. But I’m here right now.

Nicole Butts 10:43

The next step is I, which is now that I know where I want to be and where I am. Now I’m going to illustrate my path forward. This is where you put together your strategic plan. You can’t do a strategic plan until you know who you want to be. Right the values based. So I is the street is illustrating the path forward.

Nicole Butts 11:03

And then F is forging ahead now that we have this all mapped out now that we know how to close the gap between who we want to be and who we actually are right now. Now I can actually forge ahead and start doing that work.

Nicole Butts 11:16

And then T is take a look around like you always have to reassess, you always have to figure out am I on the right track? Is this getting me to where I want to go? How do I recalibrate? How do I refocus? How do I get back on the right track. And sometimes we and this is really important with DEI work, you know DEI work does not have a final destination. This is on going work. And you can set your current Northstar. And once you feel like you’re there, you still have to figure out what next looks like. So there’s always going to be a next so part of the tea is now I get to figure out what’s coming next. But what’s behind this. So that’s the five point framework that I’m going to share with the shift. It shouldn’t be the SHRM audience.

Lindsay Recknell  12:04

How powerful is that and all of those steps, they feel quite clear, like they feel not overwhelming when you’ve broken it down that way, so much of this work that we do. And and I imagine people are thinking, you know, I’m trying to do these things, I’m doing these big cultural transformational moves in my organization, and Heaven helped me it is too much. But when we think about a framework, like you’ve just shared with us, and we’ll go deeper into it just it feels like there’s some bite size action we can take there, you know, some follow through that we can actually take.

Nicole Butts  12:40

Absolutely, absolutely. And the each of those steps has significant pieces that are part of it, right? Because we have to figure out assessment, what are we assessing? How are we assessing it? So there are lots of pieces within each of those points. But those are the basic points that we have to follow to implement organizational change and personal change. Truth be told?

Lindsay Recknell  13:05

And do we have to start at the beginning?

Nicole Butts  13:08

Yeah, we have started the beginning, we have to start with knowing who we want to be, whether that is as an organization or as an individual. And I even work through part of the work I do is coaching executives and I worked with them through this also, you know, one of the things I found after the death of George Floyd was lots of executives coming forward, one surprised, stunned, flabbergasted, they had no idea that any of this was happening, and how did they miss it? And what do I do? And also people really struggling with, I don’t know what my place is in this work, right. And as an organizational leader, it’s really important for you to be able to define that your place, because as organizational leaders, you either support this work and catapult this work, or you hinder the work, there’s no in between. And unfortunately, what leaders will sometimes do is say and think I have people for that we have an office for that. And don’t understand that if that’s their position, they’re actually creating a hindrance to getting the work really done and really having an organizational culture change. They have to choose, right? Are you going to, are you going to support this work? Or are you going to hinder this work? You can’t just sit back and say, I don’t have a place in it. So to answer your question, the reason we have to start at the beginning is because even as organizational leaders, you have to know who do I want to be in this work? What role do I want to play in this work? And how do I do that? What do I want that to look like? So yeah, you have to you have to start with values. And the other part about starting with the values in the North Star is it has to be aligned to your organization. You know, sometimes we organizations create these amazing dei initiatives and programs and efforts. But they’re not aligned to a larger organizational mission, vision or purpose. And they just become extra work. And then it falls to the wayside. And people don’t really know why. Because it wasn’t directly tied to the work of the organization. You have to tie it to that. And that, again, that’s part of setting the Northstar.

Lindsay Recknell  15:30

It brings to mind so many questions. So I want to start with so in the in the spirit have started at the beginning, thinking about organizational structure. I love that organizations are starting to create offices of diversity, or positions executives, whose whose role is to bring these kinds of initiatives into organizations. But it also feels like, that’s not that helpful. And I feel like you would probably agree, and there’s a question in here, I swear. The question is, I mean, we we wouldn’t expect one IT person to function for an entire organization, why on earth would we expect one or, you know, a small group of fine folks to do our entire DEIBSJ function? Why is why is that a thing to call?

Nicole Butts  16:36

Yeah, that is a great question, Lindsay. And you could probably have an entire series on just that question. So let me let me give a couple of answers. One, first, I do agree with you, there should not be a single person doing this work. That’s absurd. Let me answer why I think that’s happening. I think there are a lot of reasons why it’s happening. One, most organizations don’t really know what it means. What they don’t know what this work means. They don’t know what this work entails. And they’re scared of it. They’re terrified. organizational leaders are terrified. They’re terrified to push back. And there’s a lot of pushback out there. Right? So let’s, let’s answer the call of the nation, right? Because we can we have this huge national outcry. So let’s go ahead and do that. So that we can say we did it, we can check that box and say we have an office, but we have a person who does that work. And you’re right. It’s not that that’s not how you get the work done, the work is done. Let me say different. There is no place in the organization where this work isn’t done, or should not be done. This work impacts and infiltrates every single aspect of an organization. So it has to be embedded. So the role of the office, whether it’s a person or small office or large office, ultimately the role of the office has to be strategic. And it has to be working with the other entities to figure out how to help them embed this within the work that they do every single day.

Lindsay Recknell  18:18

I just I want to have you stand on a soapbox and continue to shout this from the rooftops? Because it I mean it? Yes, all of these things that you’re saying you use the language of embedding early earlier, you use the language of systemic change required. And I think that’s where this has to start. So often we talk about the strategy to do the things or some of the tactics or the here’s what you need to do. But we don’t we we don’t make the systemic transformation, we don’t make the embedded moves that we need to make for this kind of work to actually stick. Can you talk a little bit about what what kind of opportunities organizations have, or where the opportunities exist to start to make these embedded changes?

Nicole Butts  19:09

So let me say this to one of the things that I’ve noticed is that there’s an awful lot of activity within a lot of organizations around this, there’s stuff happening, doesn’t mean the stuff that’s productive, doesn’t mean that it’s leading to any significant change. But people are real busy. There’s lots of activity, lots of programs and initiatives. And we’re going to do this this month and this this week. It’s not necessarily leading to true equity, because ultimately, when you talk about D IB, and eventually, you know, J justice, right? You’re you’re really trying to get to equity. And in a moment, I want to ask if we can just kind of define each of those pieces because one of the The things that happens with this work is we use this, this phrase de IB or this this acronym, but we haven’t people think that it’s all the same thing. And they’re each very different aspects that are interrelated. So I do want to take a moment to talk about those in a moment. But you have all of this activity that’s happening, and it’s not leading to measurable and impactful change. And people feel that. And then they lose trust in what’s happening. Because they see that you hired a position or created an office or you’re doing all of these things, but they don’t have, they’re not seeing the way that it’s impacting their life at work. Going back to that earlier term, they’re not seeing how it’s impacting organizational justice. So they lose trust, they lose faith in what it is you’re trying to do. And then eventually the work goes away. I said all that to say what you asked a question, how do we how do we begin to embed it? Was that your question?

Lindsay Recknell  21:01

Yeah, what can organizations do to to start to embed this work to make the change that is required?

Nicole Butts  21:08

So I do think that they have to start at the very beginning. And that is defining, again, who they want to be right? And why they want to be that person, you know, part when we talk about transformation. What makes transformation transformation is knowing the why. It’s not the knowing the how it’s the knowing the why behind it. So when we set that Northstar, we have to identify who we want to be why we want to be that why that is important to us. And now that we know the why then we can figure out now how do we do it. It’s really the why that keeps the work moving forward. Because you have to it’s going to get hard, it is going to get hard, people are going to be upset, some people are going to push back on it. If you cannot revisit your why and stand firm and your why then the whole thing is going to fall apart. So that’s honestly that’s where you have to start the work. And that’s why I put together the framework because in seeing this work over the years, and the way it’s been done within organizations there has it has to start there. Otherwise, it’s just busy work. It’s just an activity.

Lindsay Recknell  22:27

Yes. You talk about the fear and the pushback. And earlier you also mentioned about about the fear of organizations to do this work, whether it’s because of the pushback, or the lack of confidence for people to have these discussions, what if they get it wrong? What to say to organizations that come to you and say but Nicole, this is terrifying.

Nicole Butts  22:56

It is terrifying, and they’re gonna get it wrong. I, you know, I said that to so many organizations, you’re going to get it wrong, you’re going to have missteps, the worst misstep is to do nothing. That’s where your problem really lies. When you start this work, so I mentioned earlier that within each of those five points of the framework, there’s a lot more in each one of them. And one of the things that exist in the in AI, which is illustrating your chart, your path forward is what are going to be our obstacles, you need to be able to define early on, where are your roadblocks going to be? What are they going to look like? What are they going to sound like? Where are they going to come from, you’re not going to know all of them. But you should have a clue around where some of these roadblocks are going to come from. And you need to determine then, when this happens, I will do this. When this happens. This is the direction we’re going to take. I’m going to use an example. And I’ve never worked for this company. So I’m going to that’s a complete disclaimer right there. I’ve never worked for them. I’m making a pure assumption here. years ago, General Mills, who creates Cheerios, came up with a commercial with a biracial family. And they got tons of pushback on me people were angry, and they were writing nasty letters. And General Mills made another one. They continued with that family. And my assumption after doing this work for so long, is that they knew when they created that commercial and distributed that commercial that there were going to be people who were upset about it. They knew that when they did it and they were prepared for that. Being afraid having people push back is not a reason to stop moving ahead and that’s why the why is so important. Because that’s what you really rest on you rest on the Y And so somewhere in there organizational decision making, they had to have known that there was going to be pushback. And they had to have made a decision early on, how are we going to respond to that? We’re not going to simply shy away and go, Oh, no, people are upset, we have to take it down. They didn’t take it down, they added more to it. So fear is a part of it. missteps are a part of it. Try and identify to the extent possible, what missteps, you’re going to, I shouldn’t say, Mister what roadblocks and obstacles are going to come up? And when you do have a misstep? How are you going to address that misstep? One of the, I shouldn’t say simplest, one of the most important things around missteps is being able to own them. And say, that was a mistake. My apologies, I didn’t think that went through, or here’s the thought process I had, and I missed this part of that. And let me correct this, in whatever way we need to correct it. And let me figure out how to not make that same mistake. Again, I cannot guarantee you that I will not make other mistakes. But I can I can give you pretty strong assurances that I won’t make that mistake again. Right. And, and so I think that that helps, when there are missteps, for your audience, whether that’s your internal or external audience, to, to hear you. And to accept that that was a misstep and and to give you a little bit of grace and leeway, but there will be missteps, the biggest misstep is to not engage in the work.

Lindsay Recknell  26:41

This feels like a very courageous conversation for someone to have in an organization, right? Whether it is taking responsibility for a misstep, or apologizing for not knowing what they now know. Now, that didn’t sound right. But you know, what I mean? How important are these kinds of courageous conversations? And how can we facilitate confidence in them?

Nicole Butts  27:10

Like, they’re critically important, you cannot have any kind of culture change without having courageous conversations. They’re the foundation of culture change. They look different, depending on what’s happening. You know, one of the courageous conversations that sometimes comes up in this work is if people if there are people within an organization who don’t want to move in the direction of the organization has chosen to move in. That’s a whole different courageous conversation, right? So you have courageous conversations throughout, there’s not one and it’s done. So they’re critically important to any kind of organizational culture change. There was another part of your question, what was the other part of the question around culture of how do

Lindsay Recknell  28:00

we help people increase their confidence to engage in these kinds of conversations?

Nicole Butts  28:07

I’m only laughing because quite literally, about five months ago, I started working on a book on exactly this topic. Let me say this, there are tons of books out there around how to how to engage in like crucial, crucial conversations, they call them or critical conversations. And it’s skills based. It’s all skills based. And that’s critically important. You have to have certain skills in order to have courageous conversations. But there’s some characteristic traits that you have to have, that you have to embrace and practice and, and learn how to develop within yourself, in order to be able to stand in a courageous conversation. One of those characters character traits is figuring out how to be an how to be comfortable and discomfort. They’re not comfortable conversations. They’re not easy conversations. They’re often not fun conversations, but they have to be had. So you have to find a way to be comfortable within that discomfort. That’s the foundation for crucial conversation or for courageous conversations. Another character trait that you must have is humility. You know, if I go into a conversation, assuming that I already know I have all the answers, my position is the right position. My perspective is the only perspective that matters. I am not able to truly engage in a conversation where either either of us is going to learn anything. So I have to go in with humility, which simply means that I recognize that other people’s life stories life experiences are different and equally as valuable as mine. equally as valuable and their perspective needs to be understood. I mean, I may never share the same perspective. But I have to understand their perspective and understand that their perspective is valid. So Humility is a really important characteristic trait for having courageous conversations. Another characteristic trait that you have to have in there lots, but I’ll just end on this one. You know, you have to be willing to learn something and do something with what you learned. You’re not necessarily going to come out of the conversation, having your mind changed, that may not happen. Yet, you can come out of the conversation with new information that you can now apply in situations, whether it’s with an individual person or with its whether it’s with your organization as a whole, what did I learn from that conversation that I now need to do something with, because what that also demonstrates for the other party is accountability. People will engage with you and continue to engage with you and continue to have courageous conversations with you. If they believe that you are taking something away from that conversation positive, and applying it in a positive way. That’s where the accountability comes in. So there are lots of others. But those are the three that I would say, really have to be embraced in order for executives, and anyone in organization to have a courageous conversation, figure out how to be comfortable in discomfort, practice, like embrace humility, not practice it because it can look like something but that doesn’t mean you’re actually doing it, right. That’s where the skills versus the characteristic traits come in, have some humility, and be willing to apply something positive that you have learned in a positive way.

Lindsay Recknell  31:50

And it feels very reciprocal, all of these courageous conversations, especially the last one, about taking accountability and doing something with what you’ve learned or taking the opportunity to think, to think differently, or in Adam Grant language to think again. And then did you know that you’re doing something differently adds to the trust factor of the person that you’re engaging with, and it helps to strengthen those bonds as well. It really helps to

Nicole Butts  32:15

strengthen the bonds because you know, I’m, I am a firm believer that conflict can lead to connection when engaged effectively. And part of that an effective engagement is accountability. And when people see that you are accountable to the conversation, they will keep having the conversation with you. But when they find that they spent all this time and energy, and you didn’t do anything with it, they’re not going to keep engaging with you. You’ve lost, you’ve lost their trust. So you can have a much stronger relationship as a result of conflict and a courageous conversation than you can from simply having fun conversations.

Lindsay Recknell  32:58

I feel like there’s a mic drop right there. That sentence for those fine folks that are still with us that are waiting for you to define DEIB for us. Okay, please? Can you do that?

Nicole Butts  33:12

Yes, I can. So diversity is really about representation. It’s probably the some people might be upset when I say the simplest part. But when I say simple, what I mean is, it’s about looking around your organization to identify if you have people from different backgrounds, racial backgrounds, religious backgrounds, ability, from different backgrounds. So it’s really about representation of people who have different life experiences that come from lots of different places. Okay, that’s the diversity piece. years ago, we used to call this diversity and inclusion, then we added equity. And then when when they put it all together, they realized, oh, wait a minute, that actually spells die, that’s not going to work. So we have to kind of move the letters around, right? But But inclusion is about making sure that people let me let me put inclusion and belonging together that I’m going to come back to equity, inclusion and belonging are very similar to one another. I’m not even sure we need both terms. But that’s what we have right now. Inclusion and belonging is about people feeling valued in the workspace feeling as though their authentic voices are heard. That input is sought and utilized and that they have just as much right and value and purpose within the organization as anyone else. That’s the inclusion the belonging piece. Equity is really about outcomes. Equity is about being able to ensure that people are being treated fairly. It’s not necessarily the same thing as feeling good about coming to work and feeling good about being who I am at work. I that needs to happen in order for me to also have equity but equity is about outcomes. Equity is about ensuring that people have an opportunity to be promoted, that people have an opportunity and are being paid equitably, that they have opportunity to training and and ongoing development, that when procedures and policies are rolled out, particularly those that may involve discipline, that they’re rolled out in a way that’s just an equitable and that certain people aren’t being treated more harshly than other people. That’s the equity piece. I’m going to venture to say that at the end of the day, what’s most important for people is going to be that equity piece, which goes back to that organizational justice. And you can have diversity and never have inclusion. You can have inclusion and never have diversity. And what do I mean by that the people who are there who are not diverse go real included. This is our spot, right? So they’re different, but they’re interrelated. So you want to build diversity, you want to ensure that you have a diverse workforce. And you can do a whole nother series of podcasts on why diversity is so critically important to organizations, there’s tons of data out there that demonstrates why it is important to the bottom line, even even if you take how people feel out of the equation to the bottom line, it has a significant makes a significant difference. So you want you have to have diversity with diversity, you want to create inclusion. That’s an active ongoing process. That is a verb inclusion is a verb, it is something that you’re creating on an ongoing basis. The same is true for equity. You cannot have equity without analyzing your data. You know, a lot of organizations will say, Well, we have equity or we practice equal employment, if you just want to cut down to the bare minimum, right? We practice equal employment, you don’t know that until you analyze the data. And you have to analyze the data to ensure that equity exists within your organization and where when you see that it doesn’t, you need to put step steps in place to create it. So that’s the difference between diversity, equity and inclusion, diversity is representation. Inclusion is that sense of value and belonging. And equity is really about outcomes

Lindsay Recknell  37:25

are so good. I have so appreciated how much wisdom and insight you have in this space. I have learned a ton in the last 30 minutes. It has been incredible. Nicole, thank you for bringing your brilliance the show. Could you tell the folks how they can get a hold of you when they want to learn more?

Nicole Butts 37:44

Absolutely. So they can visit So N as in Nicole, L as in Lorraine, Y as in Yeldell and B as in Butts, right my initials, and To learn more about the services that we provide to organizations, whether it is individuals within the organization or the organization as a whole, one of the things that I find critically important when we think about organizational change, I mentioned earlier that executives have to understand that they are either supporting and catapulting this work or they’re hindering it. So being able to coach executives through their own personal journeys of DEI because they’re struggling, right, but coaching them through their own personal journeys of DEI so they can understand how they need to show up in the space with how they are showing up right now and how they want to show up. Also being able to coach teams, because the interesting thing about organizations is that executive teams, whatever, whatever culture you have, is the culture that you have created. Good, bad or indifferent, intentional or unintentional, the culture that you have is the culture you created. So you have to go back and look at how we created this culture, how we got here in the first place. And again, where who do we want to be. So being able to work also with the executive team to help them figure that part out, and then you can start putting the strategy that five point framework into place for the organization as a whole. So all of that is on the website. And then I have a free ebook. If anyone is interested, they can text this number, and get access to a free ebook on organizational issues an ally ship for organizational leaders. So how can organizational leaders be allies? So if you want to text, your name, and email address, that’s all just your first name, your email address to 323-417-8426, I’ll say that again. 323-417-8426. I will send you a free ebook on ally ship for organizational leaders.

Lindsay Recknell  39:56

Incredible thank you so so much for your generosity. I I cannot wait to meet you in real life at the coffee shop. More of what you have to share with us. It has been an absolute delight. Thank you. Thank you again for being so generous with your time with us today.

Nicole Butts  40:11

Thank you, Lindsay. This was a joy. I look forward to meeting you in person as well.

Lindsay Recknell  40:15 Thanks for joining me for another awesome episode of the mental health for leaders podcast. To make sure you don’t miss any future episodes, please go to and subscribe to have these episodes delivered right to your inbox each week. You’ll also find all the show notes, links and resources that my guest mentioned on the show and the link to the Guide to Influence and Impact at Work freebie I mentioned at the beginning of this episode.  You’re listening to this podcast because you know our people need us more than ever. But being a people leader and an HR professional is especially hard right now. If the thought of figuring out how to best support your people and yourself feels overwhelming and impossibly hard. Let’s talk. I don’t promise I can make it easy, but I can make it simple. So let’s do that together. Go to and download the Guide to Influence and Impact at Work now. Until next time, take good care. And as always, call me if you need me.

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