Continued from page 1
BEGIN BY FOCUSING ON COMMONALITIES. Stabilize your current environment by ensuring that everyone feels valued and is united in a shared purpose – when this is compelling enough, differences are transcended. Take this further by helping your staff see each other as human beings, rather than simply human “doings.” Create opportunities for people to talk and socialize together beyond their work duties, around issues that apply to a broad range of people. Topics like parenting, providing care for an aging parent, coping with illness and death, and financial management help people to realize that we’re all in this thing called life together.
WORK WITH YOUR GROUP TO DEVELOP YOUR OWN “BUSINESS CASE.” Saying that a culture of inclusion is simply a good thing to do or promising it will produce immediate business success will set initiative up for failure. Change requires energy, and generic statements won’t provide you with enough fuel for your journey. Create discussion forums. After talking about what you believe is possible, invite people to talk about their ideas, values, concerns and fears. Ask thought-provoking questions, such as: what might be possible if we didn’t put limits on people based on our own needs, perspectives, fears, and comfort zones? What do we need so everybody can thrive here?
RE-EVALUATE EXISTING SYSTEMS AND BUILD NEW ONES. Once your staff understands potential benefits to creating a culture of inclusion -- increased staff morale and more innovation powered by diverse perspectives to name but two -- you’re ready to enter fire. Use this as an opportunity to review processes in your organization, like hiring practices, sourcing your goods and materials, marketing, meeting management, mentoring, and compensation. Leave no stone unturned. Just because that system, language, or set of decisions used to serve organization well doesn’t mean it continues to do so. Then, figure out what new efforts are needed to get you where you want to go.
Our work world has capacity to close gulfs that separate people – and demonstrate great value of doing so. Creating an inclusive culture requires first opening our own hearts and then extending invitations to others to do same. What we can count on is that our minds will follow. By showing up as willing students and teachers for each other, our wisdom and productivity increase exponentially. As business leaders, we must continue to consciously enter “fire.” The rest of world is counting on us.
Learn more on this and other key management topics by visiting www.highest-vison.com!
Susan J. Schutz founded Highest Vision in 1999. Highest Vision services – executive coaching, leadership development, and team building -- reflect her conviction that professionals can be attentive to their “bottom lines” while also creating lives worth living and businesses that contribute to the good of all. For a free subscription to VantagePoint, Highest Vision’s free E-zine, go to www.highest-vision.com.