July 15, 2022
Disability Pride Month on its surface commemorates the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet this is a moment that is beginning to undertake a level of meaning-making not seen before. It is an era where the disability community is reclaiming a sense of identity and redefining the power dynamic that is shaping the social fabric of the 21st Century from technology, design, the arts, and business, to the culture of everyday life. This month is just a reminder of an ongoing revolution that not only underscores the legal documentation but is embedding itself into the larger culture by amplifying that disability is a diversity issue and a fundamental aspect of the human story that is essential in creating a better quality of life for all. As the disability community has begun to use the tools at their disposal to rewrite the narrative, it is an opportunity for corporate leadership to identify these changes and take the next steps to incorporate them into their daily business culture.
A key question for leadership maybe what can Disability Pride Month teach organizations about the future of business culture, and what are some key lessons that leadership can take away? One does not have to go much further than the field of social psychology to get some answers to these critical questions, but also for corporate leadership to grasp the value that Disability Pride can serve across their businesses. Social psychology offers a lens that provides a level of insight that is needed in a fluid business environment as it continues to try to get its footing once again and create a framework for long-term growth. Let’s focus on two concepts that will allow leadership to engage with Disability Pride Month as something more than a commemoration, but rather a critical resource for strategic thinking as well as a roadmap for the future of business intelligence.
Through the lens of social psychology, Disability Pride amplifies the idea of what is known as a dissonance reduction, or the idea that a person or group of people can reduce the uncomfortable psychological state that results from inconsistency among elements of a cognitive system. What Disability Pride offers is the notion that disability itself, is not bad, just different. By highlighting representation from work-life to products and services the disability community can ultimately help to reduce stigma and highlight the importance of having this diverse community within the marketplace. However, the idea of dissonance reduction does not solely rest upon the disability community alone but rather on building strong relationships with business leaders to illustrate the value that this choice can have in redefining the corporate culture for a new age.
Another important perspective that Disability Pride offers business leaders has been a hallmark across the Mindset Matters column since its inception. This is the idea of Reframing, which is a strategy that people often use either on their own or in a therapeutic or coaching context to help adjust their mindset. It often involves focusing on more positive thoughts, but it can also be centered on changing excessively high expectations to be more realistic. Reframing has been a pivotal concept for the disability community as they continue to exercise a new power dynamic and reimagine themselves in both the society of today and tomorrow. Disability Pride Month offers an opportunity for corporate leaders to adopt this new stance and envision a future that is full of potential and absorb the disability narrative to use as a tool to reflect and execute various solutions to many of the challenges these organizations now face. This is the time to see the sphere of influence that the disability community can offer by recognizing the effect it can have on the totality of the future of business thinking.
Disability Pride Month is not only a reminder of the power of social change but a conduit to see disability as an approach toward more effective solutions that can have a powerful impact on the culture at large. Business leadership can take the tools of social psychology to see a new dawn for the disability community as their lived experience is shaping our attitudes, motivations, and behaviors that are inherently redefining the very intersectionality of corporate life as we know it and revealing how this community can be a driving force of possibility.