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Leadership Tips: Be Inclusive

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One of our Fierce predictions this year is that diversity and inclusion initiatives and programs will continue to grow. With the current global and political climate, it is becoming known that the convergence of competing views can be volatile when the skills are absent and the expectations are not set. The goal is to foster inclusion in the workplace, and furthermore, to ensure individual workers do not feel marginalized, unsupported, or unwanted.

In addition to the cultural and emotional benefits of inclusion, there are bottom line implications. McKinsey research Diversity Matters examined proprietary data sets for 366 public companies in various countries. They found:

    • Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.


    • Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.


    • Companies in the bottom quartile both for gender and for ethnicity and race are statistically less likely to achieve above-average financial returns than the average companies in the data set (that is, bottom-quartile companies are lagging rather than merely not leading).

While hiring decisions may not be the way you influence your organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, their implications live everywhere. Ask yourself these questions, leaders. Are you including people who are different than you on your project teams? Are you discussing decisions with the people who are impacted? Are you checking in on your emotional wake?

It is key for leaders to not only maintain the well-being of their employees, but to ensure that their workplace is one that fosters acceptance and diversity across the board. This starts with you.

This week’s tip is to be inclusive in your conversations. This is not just through one conversation, but through everyday conversations. That means open and honest discussions with colleagues, employees, or your boss…with everyone.

How this comes to life is often very simple and can be overlooked. Reminders:

    • When you don’t agree with someone, get curious and ask questions.


    • When someone is talking, actively listen. Check for understanding.


    • Don’t assume anything about others. If you don’t know, ask.

When someone around you is not being inclusive, it is important to address issues head on when there are individuals being excluded. It can be uncomfortable, and those conversations truly can enrich relationships.

To bring the diversity and inclusion concepts to life, I am thrilled to announce that tomorrow, Fierce is kicking off the 2017 NW Diversity Learning Series, by the Institute for Sustainable Diversity and Inclusion’s (ISDI). ISDI is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of educating, supporting and collaborating with key stakeholders on ways to leverage differences and practice inclusion to enhance individual and organizational success. Our Vice President of Learning, Clark Witten, will be leading the first session on conversations. Specifically, the session is meant to assist in building the courage to have disruptive conversations, and highlight the role these have in our ability to engage with others in ways that enrich relationships and produce results.


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