How Sapna Strategies Achieves Success
I develop healthy teams with inclusive cultures for real change.
Using a three-dimensional approach to team development, we create a strong vision and rationale for the change you want to see in the workplace, visualize the systems and components involved, and identify the goals that will bring your vision to life. Your team will set realistic but challenging milestones, leverage assets, identify obstacles, assess our efforts, and allocate resources to achieve quantitative success.
We engage in reflective personal practices and professional development necessary to increase individuals’ awareness of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.
We develop and practice shared and transparent group agreements and communication strategies that create brave spaces for authentic dialogue and collaborative problem-solving.
We examine the implicit culture and explicit policies, programs, and practices that guide how individuals and groups work.
Why focus on team-development?
(i.e. why shouldn’t we just develop a large-scale equity plan right now?)
1. Teams are more impactful.
Equity work is inherently disruptive, and it is unrealistic (and unfair) to rely on individuals to initiate the work on their own. We need teams of people who trust each other to call each other in and out, who speak the same vocabulary and are committed to moving towards the same vision, who can support each other when things get hard, and who have the solidarity needed to sustain when there is pushback to our work. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is about connection and community, and that’s what a healthy, well-designed team exemplifies.
2. Teams can embody the desired culture.
Starting equity work at the organizational-level can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of time and effort to shift the large-scale culture of an organization. By investing in the development of small teams first, we can transparently practice and model this culture for the larger organization. Teams with healthy, inclusive, equitable cultures are better able to pull from their own experience to design and prioritize strategies that can expand the culture across the organization. Our teams follow the mantra: we build it here so we know how to build it everywhere.
3. Teams can practice and hone their skills.
The success of any equity plan depends on the equity skills of the people developing it. If we want a plan that supports the growth edges of all our staff, then we need a team of people who can compassionately learn from and guide each other. If we want a plan that centers historically marginalized voices, then we need a team of people who know how to authentically engage with stakeholders to build trust and elicit input. If we want a plan that changes policies and procedures, then we need a team of people who know how to examine policies for biases. The skills of the team determine the impact of the plan.
Creating a healthy team able to tackle equity planning is achievable…but it takes commitment and effort.
Impactful teams are made up of people who trust each other, scale responsibility and accountability across power, call each other in and out, and mitigate, navigate, and mediate conflict. This allows them to sustainably and collaboratively advocate for culture-change in their organization.
Your team’s journey will be tailored to your needs, following this general guideline:
Phase I: Form and Norm the Team
Develop an intentionally-designed team.
- Clarify the team’s form and function through an intersectional racial justice lens.
- Engage in reflective activities to build trust and solidarity.
- Learn from challenging resources that center and amplify the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other intersectional nondominant identities.
- Practice identifying and addressing power dynamics in the room.
Phase II: Establish The REDI© Vision
Foster an understanding of a Racially Equitable, Diverse, and Inclusive [REDI] culture.
- Examine and clarify what a REDI culture means to the team and organization.
- Examine hard but critical questions and triangulate answers that center intersectional BIPOC voices.
- Consciously determine the commitments the team members will practice to develop a REDI culture within the team.
- Identify and advocate for equitable and sustained resources for the team.
Phase III: Prioritize and Plan
Create a work plan that brings the REDI Vision to life.
- Co-create a decision-making process that supports the team to practice its REDI Vision.
- Develop and administer a Key Stakeholder Assessment for key internal and external stakeholders.
- Develop and apply a racially equitable decision-making process.
- Prioritize activities to determine necessary steps according to the equity impact, lift, and urgency of each step.
- Draft a working plan articulating the team’s recommendations for next steps in culture-building.
Phase IV: Share and Implement
Communicate the plan and ripple the culture into the organization.
- Communicate plans and priorities to senior leadership, staff, and key stakeholders for input; adjust plan based on input and in alignment with REDI Vision.
- Work with leaders to understand the plan and implement their role in developing a REDI workplace culture over time.
- Reflect on the team’s REDI strategies to determine best-practices for safely sharing with the organization.
- Identify strategies and meeting structures to transition the team away from consultant-led to self-directed for longterm sustainability.
“Sapna approaches our team meetings with intentionality, a clear path and goals. She brings energy, humor, kindness, and grace to every meeting, and inspires us to do the same. She engages and challenges us to center and amplify the voices of people of color and womxn, build trust within our group, expand our knowledge base, and make equitable decisions. I can honestly say that we wouldn’t even know where to begin without her guidance.
— Mari Otto, Geotechnical Engineer | Aspect Consulting, LLC
“Sapna’s guidance and oversight for our team development and the goal-setting process has been crucial towards our success. The thorough research and well-facilitated training sessions put us on a course towards achieving our long-term equity goals.”
— Nikki Wolf | King Conservation District
Looking for 1:1 Coaching?
An area of pure joy for me is supporting others to find their passion and thrive in their work. As a coach, I understand that the answers to your questions are inside you; I’m here to help you uncover and hone them into strategies that get you to where you want to go.
From navigating conflict to examining power dynamics, we will work through it all with grace, compassion, and strength.
Contact me for more information about how we can begin our 1:1 journey together through regular coaching.
“The impact of having Sapna as a mentor has been huge, especially as a young woman of color. She listens, questions, and continuously challenges me to think critically not only about my work and practice, but about myself. She is a systems thinker with a fierce commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, as well as a deep commitment to helping others grow.”
— Jessica Bolaños-Wood, 2016 Mentee
“I had the good fortune of being mentored by Sapna. She is a clear communicator and listener, always having my goals in mind as we moved through our mentorship. She trusted my ability to take on more responsibility over time and I learned a great deal as a result. Most importantly, Sapna treated me as a whole human being, a seemingly simple idea but one that is lacking in most professional settings. I highly recommend working with Sapna.”
— Mó Mesquita, 2022 Mentee
Your organization’s journey begins now.
Building a functional and collaborative team starts the moment you say yes. Sapna Strategies is ready. Are you?