Employee Engagement solutions in 2019

US Employees are Disengaged. Now What?

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Companies that fail to engage their talent, particularly diverse talent, can experience symptoms ranging from increased attrition to reduced company revenue, poor pulse survey scores, and more. Low employee engagement isn’t a unique challenge. In fact, more than half of employees surveyed report that they aren’t engaged at work. Even worse, disengagement is contagious. In the United States alone, disengaged employees annually cost companies over $500 Billion (that’s billion, with a B). This means that companies are losing money every day because employees aren’t showing up to work fully. Where is the room for improvement and what are some of the potential benefits companies can expect to experience from well executed Employee Engagement tactics.

From lower employee morale to reduced productivity, if employees aren’t engaged it means the company is at risk of losing key talent or having that talent “show up” for work, without gaining the maximum amount of productivity and ideation that happens when employees are invested in their workplace because they have a sense of well-being and belonging.

Companies are at risk but there is room for opportunity

According to employees in the U.S., almost 70% consider themselves anywhere along the axis of “not engaged” to “actively disengaged.” That’s a tremendous loss in terms of productivity and a delay in reaching company business goals.

Employee engagement has room for improvement in most organizations: just 12% of businesses report being happy with current levels of employee engagement. This means that low employee engagement scores can result in leaders being viewed as lacking the strategic team insight that leads to full engagement.

Employee Engagement Solutions

A culture of Diversity and Inclusion makes workplaces better for EVERYONE

Employees’ positive perceptions of D&I practices are positively related to employee engagement for all employees, not just minority groups. Perceptions in this case are derived from the actual ‘policies and practices that make up an organization’s diversity practices’ – the tangible actions taken for diversity. This means companies taking steps to ensure impactful D&I practices are in place, will benefit across all demographics.

When it all boils down, companies with engaged employees achieve an average of 21% higher profitability compared to those with disengaged employees. This means that companies that succeed in engaging their employees have a strategic advance over the competition. There is ample research that can more than validate the fact that engagement drives profits, and that a culture of diversity and inclusion drives engagement.

Our team addresses these topics and more during our open monthly Q&As, as well as during our quarterly webinars. The cost of employee disengagement and D&I as a solution to those costs is a discussion worth expanding whenever possible. Finally, see expanded stats and some of our favorite approaches to empower a culture of Diversity and Inclusion that promotes company-wide engagement on page 18 of our Lead Inclusively Whitepaper.

How Diversity and Inclusion Turbocharges Talent Acquisition

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One of the most frequently asked questions during our monthly Q&A sessions is why employees leave and how Diversity and Inclusion can help companies attract top talent. Here is how your organization can transform its brand and culture and forever improve Talent Acquisition efforts through Diversity and Inclusion.

Leading inclusively for employee retention

 

The war for talent starts (but definitely doesn’t end) with branding.

Companies around the world are increasingly leveraging their culture as a differentiating factor, ensuring their external branding reflects a culture that appeals to top talent. According to LinkedIn, 80% of talent acquisition managers believe that employer branding has a significant impact on the ability to hire great talent.

With that said, 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation – even for a pay increase. Many companies fail to ensure their leaders are leading inclusively. This results in high attrition rates, particularly among diverse demographic groups, which quickly begins to undermine diversity recruitment efforts.

A Columbia University study shows that the job turnover at organizations with a strong company culture is a mere 13.9%. Compare that to the staggering rate of 48.4% turnover at companies with a poor culture.

Employee turnover stats

 

Good Talent Acquisition is the product of a strong brand that is upheld by a stronger culture

Research aside, it’s generally harder to attract top talent if an organization is struggling to retain its current talent. A positive external brand will only get you so far if organizational culture is not inclusive. Inclusive leadership positively impacts employee engagement, satisfaction, productivity, and retention.

Employees that are happy create the strong backbone of organizational culture. They become your organization’s most credible advocates and establish the authenticity of your external branding.

As always, we would love to discuss this topic with you and answer your questions in the comment section below. Our team also hosts monthly Q&A sessions where we go in-depth on a variety of relevant issues and give attendees the opportunity to share their thoughts and experiences with other professionals in the space. You can learn more, or sign up for updates via our events page.

Why Diversity and Inclusion initiative fail

Why Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Fail

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Diversity and Inclusion can be instrumental in driving business performance. My team continues to expand its research and spread awareness on the business case for D&I, and if you are curious about this research, we invite you to download our Business Case deck to learn more. But that is beyond the scope of this article. Today we’re discussing why Diversity and Inclusion initiatives fail.

The challenge is that achieving meaningful results from your D&I strategies requires strong change management, the appropriate focus, and specific programs that appeal to your organization to build on their own momentum. Even the most well-intentioned organizations with a thorough awareness of D&I can misstep in their approach. Here are three reasons organizations miss the mark with their D&I strategies.

1. Leaders aren’t leading inclusively

Teams that have diversity but lack inclusion perform worse than even homogenous teams. In other words, you are better off doing nothing if your organization intends to attract diverse talent without ensuring its culture is inclusive. Culture is most impacted by leadership. If leadership doesn’t commit to being inclusive, then your organization has no chance of retaining its diverse talent and maintaining productive teams.

Lead Inclusively - Inclusion vs Homogeneous

2. Employee engagement isn’t the best barometer of your success. 

There is a direct correlation between inclusion, employee engagement, and productivity. Unlike other D&I metrics, employee engagement is already actively tracked by most organizations, which provides a good baseline when tracking the effectiveness of new strategies.

However, engagement doesn’t tell the whole story. Looking at metrics around diverse employees’ attrition and advancement can also only get you so far. That’s why my team focuses on identifying where the talent pipeline is leaking and why. Are you seeing Asian American women fail to reach the director level? Do you even know whether that’s the case in your organization? These are the questions you need to be asking and answering.

Employee engagement research

3. Relying on “best practices”

The ultimate outcome of an inclusive culture and successful D&I strategy is increased innovation. While it is easy to get caught up in best practices that produce incremental change, companies that want to be the employer of choice are moving toward innovative “next practices”, and more than ever they are using Diversity and Inclusion to do so. My company, for example, is innovating by applying machine learning to automate inclusive behavior coaching for everyone. Work like this is extremely exciting in the opportunity it presents in affecting tangible change that we haven’t seen in quite some time. The most exciting part is my work is only one of many around that is passionate and ready to affect change. The future of our workplaces is more promising than ever.

We would love to discuss this topic with you and answer any of your questions at my open Q&A sessions. Our team also host complimentary quarterly webinars where we go in-depth on a variety of relevant issues. You can learn more, or sign up for updates on both events via our events page.

If you can not, or do not want to attend, we still want to hear your thoughts! Leave us your comments below! What are new innovative ideas you and your colleagues are exploring or using to affect change? Which parts of organizational culture change are you most excited for in the near future? What are other reasons Diversity and Inclusion initiatives fail?

The Main Reason Your Company Can’t Retain Diverse Talent

Why Diverse Talent Leaves

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Company culture is the personality of an organization and includes the company’s mission, expectations, and work atmosphere. Culture is largely defined by two elements: the formal culture (the intended experience as it is written on paper) and the informal culture (how it is experienced on a daily basis by those who are in the environment). What does this mean and how does it impact why diverse talent leaves?

The primary purpose of culture transformation initiatives is to align the formal and informal cultures so that the employee experience matches the company’s stated vision and values. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

For diverse employees, this alignment of formal and informal culture is especially important. A lack of this alignment is the main reason your company can’t retain diverse talent.

Why it Matters

Poor culture is correlated with high attrition:

A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with strong company culture (as defined by job satisfaction) is a mere 13.9%, whereas the probability of job turnover in poor company cultures is 48.4%.

Executives don’t understand their organization’s culture:

Fewer than one in three executives (28%) report that they understand their organization’s culture. They know that culture is important, but don’t necessarily understand what their organization stands for or how their organizational culture is defined, much less how it is perceived by frontline employees.

There is room for improvement:

Only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the ‘right culture’. The remainder feels there is plenty of room for improvement.

The Opportunity

Strong culture increases talent diversity:

Building an employer brand and positive company culture helps companies hire the right people (55%), get a greater number of qualified candidates (49%), increase employee referrals (41%), and have more diverse candidates (32%).

Culture is critical to success:

94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success.

To learn more about specific approaches and best practices in culture transformation, check out page 26 of our Whitepaper.

I am hosting a complimentary webinar on June 4th where I will go more in-depth on the topic of organizational culture and culture transformation. You are also welcome to join me June 19th for our open Q&A round-table to ask any other personal questions on this topic, or any other relating to HR, Talent, Leadership, Culture, or Diversity strategies.

CHECK OUT OUR LEAD INCLUSIVELY EVENTS PAGE TO LEARN MORE

Three signs your company has a culture problem Lead Inclusively

Three Signs Your Company has a Culture Problem

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These days, company culture is more important than ever. It is instrumental in differentiating one company from another and bridging the gap between the c-suite to the entry-level. While most C-level executives recognize the importance of strong company culture, only 28% of executives believe they understand their company culture, and only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the right culture. Here are three signs your company has a culture problem. 

                         

Team members are under-performing. 

Assuming that organizations are hiring qualified employees, a case of underperforming staff is an opportunity for leadership to better understand potential flaws in an organizations culture. Statistics show that lagging productivity is often tied to employee engagement, which results from a number of culture challenges. Failing to address the underlying factors at play can contribute to compounding issues in performance and culture alike. 

Leadership is not living up to organizational standards, value, or brand.

72% of employees are highly engaged in organizations with effective leadership. Leaders in a weak culture commonly don’t adhere toand often don’t even know, their organization’s values and leadership standards. This scenario can result in severe ramifications. Poor leadership can have a rapid trickle-down effect through an entire organization. It can erode talent and culture alike. Weak culture and weak leadership handicap an organizations ability to attract, retain and advance top talent, ultimately hindering its performance and growth.

Employee engagement is a lagging.

Employee engagement is a barometer of culture. 86% of employees in strong cultures feel their senior leadership listens to their employees. Employees that feel included and empowered are more invested, passionate and satisfied, which also reflects in innovation and output (link to leadership that unlocks innovation). Inclusive leadership is the foundation of a strong organizational culture and the primary force that upholds it over time.Lead Inclusively Inc.What are some other common leadership shortcomings that can damage organizational culture, employee engagement, and overall performance?  

Culture is extremely complex, but also absolutely instrumental in changing the way your talent, and teams perform over time. Join a more in-depth discussion on how inclusive leadership can be THE catalyst for a healthy organizational culture that drives employee engagement, retention, advancement, and team performance at this upcoming webinar 

 You can also share your D&I experiences and challenges with other professionals and receive expert insights in a more personal setting during this upcoming Open D&I Roundtable Q&A.

How Inclusion Can Drive an Innovation Culture in Your Company

How Inclusion Can Drive an Innovation Culture in Your Company

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In the modern world, impactful and prolific innovation is increasingly critical to company success. Some companies are learning that lack of diversity and inclusion in their ranks is inhibiting innovation. You’ve surely seen the headlines and statistics around the lack of diversity and inclusion in tech. For a shocking, real-world example of the result, check out the “racist paper towel dispenser” that was clearly an end-product of a team that lacked internal diversity and interest in the marketplace they intended to serve.

On the other side of the coin, there are also companies discovering that one benefit of becoming more inclusive organizationally is a corresponding improvement in the ability to quickly leverage the diverse perspectives and experiences of each member of the workforce to innovate new products and user experiences. Ultimately, a high-trust environment with significant diversity can develop quickly into a culture of meaningful innovation. An innovation culture is one in which employees feel that their company places a high value on the contribution of diverse ideas from everyone without placing blame on ideas that fail. Instead, all ideas are encouraged and employees are empowered to test those ideas in an atmosphere of experimentation and learning agility. Empowering employees to be experimental without fear of failure fosters even more employee engagement and organizational success.

So why does innovation matter? What are the opportunities that Diversity and Inclusion present? And what are some approaches your organizations can get started on?

Before you continue reading, feel free to sign up for our upcoming open office hours or our Lead Inclusively webinar where we will share a very detailed discussion on the topics of inclusive leadership, and practices that best harness team innovation.

How Inclusion Can Drive an Innovation Culture in Your Company

Why it matters

The need to innovate is higher than ever.

According to one study, 84% of executives say that innovation is important to their growth strategy. Industries, technologies, and economies are changing at exponential rates, making a company’s ability to innovate more important than ever. Workplaces that are both diverse and inclusive are associated with higher individual performance because employees are better able to innovate (+83%) and maintain engagement.

Non-inclusive companies produce less innovation

As mentioned in the 2017 PwC Innovation Benchmark, 54% of innovating organizations have trouble bridging the gap between innovation strategy and overall business strategy. Innovation occurs more readily in organizations and teams where everyone feels safe enough to share their ideas and debate the merits of ideas without feeling fear that there will be negative consequences for doing so.

Companies that do not innovate become irrelevant

In today’s world, companies must accept industry disruption as a given. In fact, according to a recent survey, 80% of executives think their current business models are at risk to be disrupted. Companies that failed to innovate include former monoliths of industry such as Blockbuster, which failed to innovate when Netflix came on the scene and was rendered irrelevant within four years of Netflix launching its streaming services.

The opportunity

Inclusive Behaviors Maximize Innovation.

Employees at companies with inclusive leadership are more likely than employees at non-diverse companies to take risks, challenge the status quo, and embrace a diverse array of inputs. They are also 75% more likely to see their ideas move through the product pipeline and make it to the marketplace. This means that a company’s ability to embrace inclusive leadership translates to its business results and can drive the level of innovative thought that leads to successful market disruption.

Inclusive companies are more innovative and reach more new markets.

One inclusive behavior is allowing teams a safe space to respectfully debate one another’s ideas. A recent Berkeley study found that teams that debate the merits of one another’s ideas (instead of brainstorming more collaboratively) come up with 25% more ideas. Additional research from the Boston Consulting Group found that Diverse and Inclusive companies were able to increase market share 15% more and capture new markets 20% more than the non-diverse workplaces.

Diversity drives increased revenue.

Companies that are more diverse than average have generated 38% more of their revenue from innovative products and services, compared to companies that are less diverse. These numbers demonstrate that bottom line dollars are on the table when innovation and inclusion are successfully embedded into the organization’s processes.

From intrapreneur programs to innovation labs, you can check out page 21 of our new whitepaper to see what some companies are already doing to meet the increasing demand for team innovation.

Inclusive Leadership - Lead Inclusively

Two Leadership Secrets for Fostering Innovation

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Leadership that fosters inclusion and innovation in the workplace

Good organizational leadership can be difficult to achieve. We all have so much going on that the ‘Inclusive Leadership Best Practices’ manual isn’t always top of mind. With that said, many leaders have developed habits in management and communication that over time can alienate team members and corrode their team culture.  

Here are some two rarely-practiced ways that leaders can actively avoid negative management habits and leverage Inclusive Leadership in a way that empowers team members, harnesses collective team capital and boosts innovation. 

Express genuine appreciation for all ideas. 

Innovation thrives in an environment where team members are able to contribute diverse ideas freely, without feeling ego or fear about the outcome. Despite the best of intentions, many leaders tend to express appreciation only for ideas that they perceive as having a high value. This tendency can actually cause team members to feel pressure about having the “right” idea before bringing it to the table, which can slow the innovative processAs a leader, remember that every idea contributed by a team member is an opportunity to encourage future ideas. Even if the idea presented isn’t one that will work, your first response should be, “Thank you for that idea, I appreciate you thinking out of the box. Keep that up.” In other words, place value on the person, rather than the idea, and make team members feel positively about bringing future thoughts to the table. Not acknowledging the thought, effort, or excitement of a team member risks alienating them, discouraging them from sharing future ideas, and thus squandering future potential opportunities. Simply acknowledging the effort, expressing excitement for the idea, and transparently explaining potential barriers and next steps can go a long way. 

Never forget about the quieter voices. 

Eliciting participation from the quieter voices on a team makes those individuals feel more comfortable and engaged. Over time, this feeling empowers them to actively ideate and openly approach leadership with future ideas. Beyond shy or introverted team members, in many workplaces being the ‘only’ (i.e. only woman, racial minority, LGBTQ etc.on the team can also make some people feel less invited to actively engage and share ideas. Leaders that effectively notice and actively elicit the quieter voices, when the proper opportunities arise, are more likely to bring out the potential for innovation on their teams.  

What do you think?  

Can you recall a specific experience when you as a leader were able to leverage inclusion to encourage innovation on your team? Perhaps you have been on the receiving end of a particularly inclusive leader’s encouragement (or perhaps you’ve experienced the opposite!) Share your experiences in the comments below. We would love to hear your thoughts.


See page 21 of our new whitepaper for further insight. 

Share an in-depth conversation with a global expert, Denise Hummel, and other professionals in the space during our upcoming open office hours.


 

Stats to support california mandate for women on boards

3 Reasons Women Shouldn’t Apologize for the New Wave of Legislated Inclusion

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Six months have passed since Governor Jerry Brown signed California Senate Bill 826 into law. As you likely have heardthis law mandates all publicly held companies in the state of California (where I am proud and fortunate to reside) to have at least one woman on their Board of Directors by the end of 2019.

Allow me to provide some history and stats behind the California mandate for women on boards

This new step toward workplace gender parity has a particularly relevant and personal significance to me. Depending on the public perception of this new law, I stand to either gain or lose by this legislationAs an accomplished female entrepreneur, litigator and corporate partner, now currently the Founder and CEO of a technology-enabled Diversity and Inclusion consultancy, I have a few things to say about the public discourse and debate of this issue 

This law is hardly the first of its kind. As a former employment law litigatorI vividly recall a similar debate surrounding Affirmative Action: a saga that, for the sake of brevity, essentially established the unconstitutionality of formally legislating ‘anti-discrimination’. Detractors had plenty to say: How could the government possibly force a race or gender filter on objective processes like job applications and college admissions criteria? How could that be fair or equitable? Isn’t it just reverse discrimination? And what about complacency? Surely mandated diversity will eliminate any incentive for underrepresented minorities to strive for excellence if they could use this criterion to gain an “unfair” advantage!  

We are hearing similar lines of reasoning surrounding CA SB826. In hopes of spurring healthy, respectful conversation, I’m adding my voice to the mix to share three compelling reasons we don’t need to apologize for “legislated inclusion.”  

We are responding to a history of legislated exclusion 

Like many women who have been forced to advocate for themselves their entire life, I feel I sometimes sound like a broken record. However, I strongly believe this discussion begins with knowledge of the extended history of “legislated discrimination before we can discuss the idea of “legislated anti-discrimination. 

So first, lets acknowledge the fact that we have been plagued by legislated discrimination in this country for decades.  For example, by law, women could not own property until 1900, did not possess the right to vote until 1920, and did not have the right to independently own a credit card till 1970Legislated discrimination has also plagued African Americans.   

We must also be reminded that although slavery was abolished in this country in 1865, women who birthed a mixed-race child faced imprisonment in Maryland until 1955. Schools that hosted black and white students in Virginia faced immediate closure until 958and Arkansas law required designated whites-only sections in all school buses in 1959. Generally, the Jim Crow era actively suppressed black advocacy and rights and upheld separate but equal doctrine well into the late sixties. All the above laws, terrorized and plagued millions for centuries.  

As Simone de Beauvoir said in 1949, “The relation of woman to husband, of daughter to father, of sister to brother, is a relation of [slavery].” So, women of color face the double-barreled challenge of surmounting a history of legislated exclusion on two fronts. 

The stats don’t lie; inequality in the workplace still exists and isn’t getting better 

The simple argument I espouse is that in a country with a history of legislated discrimination, we need legislated inclusion to accelerate the leveling of the playing field. The World Economic Forum indicates that at the current rate, we won’t achieve global gender parity in the workplace until 2100. In fact, the World Economic Forum even pushed back its timeline between 2016 and 2017 indicating that progress is slowing, and even regressing, in some places. Globally, some 2.7 billion women are legally restricted from having the same choice in jobs as men, face higher unemployment, lower pay, and more threat to their job status and personal safety according to the UN. 

In the US today, despite the fact that women comprise 57% of college graduates, we only comprise 31% of entry-level hires, and by the time we reach the C-Suite, women make up less than 20% of the workforce. For women of color, that number is less than 6% and only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women—all are rates that have remained consistent for several yearsThe percentage of women in STEM (despite continued efforts) has also remained at around 20% for the past 19 years.

History and Stats Behind the California Mandate for Women on Boards  

In workplace culture, women are excluded from key opportunity and deprived of important relationships that are instrumental to professional development and career advancement. Men are 46% more likely to have a higher-ranking advocate in the office, more likely to receive a raise, promotion, and job. Women more often have to provide evidence of their competenceFinally, women, many times find themselves excluded from stretch assignment and are many times the only woman on a given team or in a workplace. All the above factors continue to contribute to the exclusion and our collective inability to move towards workplace gender parity.   

Those who argue that our society is changing, and the market is indeed naturally working in favor of equality must face the harsh reality that this is, in fact, not significantly the case and the need for formal Diversity and Inclusion initiatives is a necessity.  

Legislated inclusion benefits all of us 

I think what scares some is the premise that advancing one person must surely be to the detriment of another personThis perspective ignores the fact that gender is being used as an additional selection criteria, not as a criteria that substitute for competence. There are thousands of qualified female board members and the more parity at board and senior leadership levelsthe healthier our organizations 

Inclusion (and subsequent legislation) is the practice of fostering the necessary environment that transforms culture. McKinsey research shows that the most gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to outperform their peers. The more inclusion, the more employee engagement, leadership development, talent development, and innovation in our largest organizations. That is ROI that cannot be ignored or squandered 

Because we are overcoming a history of legislated exclusion, because inequity in the workplace is not improving quickly enough, and because the most diverse, inclusive organizations produce the greatest business results, I am unequivocally unapologetic about this new law. In fact, I am inspired and driven by the opportunities it stands to present for qualified female board candidates 

When signing SB-826 into law, Governor Brown acknowledged his skepticism as to whether this new law would prevail if tested in court but highlighted its importance in sending a message that we cannot patiently stand by and “hope” that gender parity will reach us by the next century 


About the author, Denise Hummel

Connect with me on your Diversity and Inclusion experiences and share your thought-leadership at my upcoming open Office Hours

What do YOU think? I would like to use this article as an opportunity to engage in dialog. My opinion is just one of many and discussing controversial issues in diversity and inclusion in an open and thoughtful manner is indeed the most effective way we will move the needle towards gender and racial parity together.

If you have more interest in this matter and some of the work we are doing in the field of Diversity and Inclusion, I encourage you all to see our Lead Inclusively Whitepaper.

Bibliography:

https://www.ferris.edu/HTMLS/news/jimcrow/timeline/jimcrow.htm 
https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters 
https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/gender-equality/women-in-the-workplace-2018  
https://www.usnews.com/news/the-report/articles/2017-01-20/timeline-the-womens-rights-movement-in-the-us 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_women%27s_legal_rights_(other_than_voting)  
https://hbr.org/2018/09/dont-underestimate-the-power-of-women-supporting-each-other-at-work  
http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GGGR_2017.pdf 
Marshall Goldsmith Endorses a World Leader in Diversity and Inclusion

Marshall Goldsmith Endorses a World Leader of Diversity and Inclusion

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Marshall Goldsmith Endorses a World Leader of Diversity & Inclusion

A self-reflection inspired by a humbling endorsement, By, our Founder and CEO, Denise Hummel.

In Ixtapa Mexico, I had the opportunity to sit down with a colleague and mentor, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, best-selling author, and the nations #1 Executive CoachMy relationship with Marshall started with one of his famous walks, years ago, having been introduced to him by Garry Ridge, a client and the CEO of WD-40. I was in the midst of selling my cross-cultural business and suffering from extreme anxiety as I labored over the decision.  Garry told me, “you need to meet Marshall.” That walk changed my life as he coached me to lead with balanced generosity rather than fear; a decision that accelerated my growing career exponentially. Years later, after knowing Marshall for many years, he named me to his 100 Coaches program, his legacy team of coaches throughout the world. As a result, the oneonone talks have expanded to benefitting from 99 others in a group that I can only describe as a brain-trust. My gratitude for having Marshall and the MG100s in my life is experienced every day. 

It was in Ixtapa that Marshall endorsed me as the World Leader of Diversity & Inclusion. This from a man who has inspired millions with his leadership and coaching (many among whom are some of the most influential people in the world). The moment was humbling, gratifyinginspiring and unsurprisingly “Marshall. His generosity in utilizing his gravitas to propel that of the next generation is one of the hallmarks of his brand.  When I look back on that first walk, I experience a contrast and mixture of emotions that I can only describe as “Coming Full Circle” and it has given me the impetus to reflect and share my story — where I have come from, where I am now, but most importantly how far we have all come in our collective awareness and application of Diversity and Inclusion, and how much further we can go. 

SEE THE FULL DISCUSSION WITH MARSHALL GOLDSMITH

Like many, life for me has been a series of chapters, marked by a thread or theme. For me, the theme is a fascination with how to connect individual differences in the workplace, while preserving the individual uniqueness and gifts of each person. There was the chapter in my life where I leveraged my law degree to advocate for the disabled, litigating and winning the first class-action under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).  There was a chapter where I rejected litigation as being part of the “problem,” rather than the “solution” of empowering diverse peopleconvinced that using my law degree, instead, in international Mergers & Acquisitions was a way to bridge cross-cultural differences and ultimately built a cross-cultural firm that I sold to Ernst & Young.  There was a chapter where I led Culture, Inclusion, and Innovation for EY and was able to truly understand the needs of an enterprise when it came to the ability to recruit, retain and advance diverse employees.  Each of these chapters had additional complexities, and like many women, I was also trying to raise children, and in my case, doing so alone. The tumultuous nature of these stages of my career and life have culminated in my transition to the latest most exciting chapter through two key realizations.  

The first realization was that above everything else, I was not an attorney, I was not a senior leader in enterprise, I was an entrepreneur – someone who was gifted at translating ideation and hypotheses to action with a willingness to fail if necessary, in order to succeed.  Someone who was impatient and intolerant of artificial barriers to innovation.  Someone who could take the lessons of decades and turn them into “next practices,” rather than relying on historic “best practices” that simply have not worked.    

My second realization is that I never quite felt that I belonged when I sold my small, thriving business to a large enterprise consultancy, despite the enormous resources there that could have catapulted the intellectual property I was developing.  I felt compelled to move on, once again, to entrepreneurship, starting over with limited resources, once again, rather than utilize my talents in the context of a large, highly successful organization.  Lucky for me,  this transition has taken me to the most exciting and impactful chapter of my life and career to date, but “unlucky” that my talents couldn’t thrive in an institution that had the power to be a dynamic petri dish, incubating thought-leadership relative to D&I that is transforming organizations and likely will transform our entire working society. 

This transition helped me to realize that my experience is pervasive in American and global corporate culture. How many millions of talented professionals like me might be missing out on opportunities because they didn’t fit a rigid, narrow corporate cultural lens? How many opportunities are corporations missing out on by not properly harnessing this talent due to a simple ‘fit’ issue? And how much quicker and more innovatively could society move forward with the ability to transform to an inclusion culture, effectively and sustainably. 

It was for these reasons that I evolved my current firm, Lead Inclusively, Inc., from a niche D&I consulting firm, filled with management consultants, passionate about the impact inclusion can have on the bottom line, to a technology firm leveraging technology and AI to promote inclusive behaviors in a way that has been previously impossible. 

More about the Marshall Goldsmith Leadership Consulting Group

Download the Lead Inclusively White Paper

I am humbled by the accolades that Marshall has given me and hope to live up to his vision of me, but mostly, I am excited to be a part of this unique moment in time, where we can admit that the way we have approached D&I in the past has not worked, that transforming organizational cultures to a culture of inclusion in the future, and that embracing technology to do that supports the majority of leaders who really want to “Lead Inclusively” but have never had the opportunity to see and feel what inclusive leadership looks like, how to apply it and be supported in their journey.  Thank you, Marshall, for supporting this dream through your gravitas.  Thank you to our clients who believe in what we are trying to accomplish.  Thank you to all of you who read this blog to the end.   

 

Scott Osman, CEO of Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Talks Diversity & Inclusion

Interview with Scott Osman, CEO of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Our Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Denise Hummel was interviewed by Scott Osman, CEO of Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches, the mentorship legacy program of world-renowned executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith. In the interview, Ms. Hummel and Mr. Osman discussed the evolving role of Diversity & Inclusion in workplaces across the globe, and the emergence of tech as a viable tool that can be used to leverage Diversity & Inclusion as a driver of sustained culture transformation and improved business results. Scroll down to read a more in-depth summary of the interview, or simply press play below to listen to the whole interview!

 

 

The podcast begins with Ms. Hummel sharing her journey from top Civil Rights Attorney in the state of New York to serial entrepreneur, and now a leading expert/thought leader on matters of Diversity & Inclusion. Denise shares her perspective on the current and future state of Diversity & Inclusion and the necessity to move current D&I training beyond the initial awareness stage (e.g. unconscious bias training), and take effective measures to ensure D&I professionals are delivering learning that creates sustainable inclusive culture change within top organizations and ultimately our entire workplace culture as a whole.

The interview transitions to some of the unique work Lead Inclusively is doing to help companies leverage D&I as a driver of business performance, and the variety of exciting new ways technology and Artificial Intelligence have become effective and viable options for larger, less agile, organizations as they attempt to implement new D&I strategies, and training, that help foster sustainable culture transformation within their workplaces at scale.

The interview then concludes with Denise sharing her favorite Marshall Goldsmith anecdote and briefly discussing the 100 Coaches group. If you haven’t already, click play above to listen to the whole interview!

Learn more about Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches

Download our powerpoint to access our research on the role of D&I can have on your culture and business bottom-line.

Takeaways from Mckinsey's 2018 Women in the Workplace report

2018 McKinsey Report of Gender in the Workplace Showing More of the Same. Fed up yet? Me Too.

By | #bettertogether, #metoo to #wetoo, Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion | No Comments

Takeaways from Mckinsey’s 2018 Women in the Workplace report: In what is widely considered the primary barometer for the state of gender equity in the workforce, McKinsey’s annual report of gender parity in the workplace summarizes a stagnation in gender parity that is concerning but also raises some insight into potential solutions through inclusive culture transformation.

The report: pooling from 279 companies employing more than 13 million people, and features data compiled from their organizations. Like past reports, we notice a continuing trend of women being under-represented in the workforce and continually squeezed out of the workplace as they move higher up the corporate ladder. Women still make up the majority of college grads and leave the workforce at the same rate as men, highlighting that another year has gone by with seemingly the same dynamics at play that continue to hold women back and thus perpetuate the bigger issue of gender parity as a whole. Tired of watching another year go by with the same story unfolding? ME TOO.

Here are a few takeaways:

  • The root of the problem is culture.
  • Inclusion is the key to sustainable change
  • Leadership is the catalyst

The root of the problem is culture.   

While the still-prevalent accounts of sexual harassment are concerning, appalling and worthy of mention, for the sake of this article, I would like to discuss the phenomenon of microaggressions and the “only” experience that highlight the nuanced complexities of the cultural roots behind gender workplace inequality. Being the “Only” woman in a room is an occurrence experienced by one in five professional women and results in the higher likelihood of a woman experiencing, microaggressions, disengagement or worse, sexual harassment. Microaggressions can be described as experiencing a demeaning comment, having to provide more evidence of one’s competence, or being mistaken for someone much more junior. These experiences are products of a workplace culture that fosters an environment that perpetuates the exclusion of female workers throughout their professional life cycle.

Inclusion is the key to sustainable change 

Women are far more likely to experience microaggressions than men. This is only augmented by women who are “Onlys” and all the above result in women being forced out of the workforce pipeline through blatant exclusion in the form of lower promotion rates, or indirectly in the form of attrition because of disengagement. As a result, the issue of female under-representation and exclusion becomes a compounded snowballing effect. Inclusion needs to be the key to changing the focus of our current corporate workplace culture. Through training, gender advocacy and a general shift in workplace values, we can create a workplace that invites, empowers and advances female talent while decreasing the tolerance of, and likelihood for microaggressions, being an “Only” and overall female exclusion.

Leadership is the catalyst  

Leadership is the catalyst for instilling and enforcing an inclusive culture. Buy-in for inclusion and intolerance for exclusion must come from the top and perpetuate all the way down to the entry-level. Leadership is also the key component to fostering inclusion through engagement and advancement. Currently, women are less likely to see their work featured by their managers (at every stage of the employee life cycle) and are far less likely gain valuable access to senior leadership both of which are primary factors in an employee’s ability to advance within a company, and subsequently not leave. Under an umbrella of inclusion, leadership practices are the catalyst for the culture change the current corporate workforce needs if it is to achieve the gender equity that is not only fair but extremely necessary and overdue.

Takeaways from Mckinsey's 2018 Women in the Workplace report

Leaders need to take the lead when it comes to pioneering future gender equity efforts

Women are excluded through workplace culture that perpetuates inequality and is either purposefully, or inadvertently, upheld by workplace leadership figures from the management level all the way to the C-suite levels. The opportunity for change is there and the rewards for change are prevalent. The Question is: who will be the ones to seize it?

How is Lead Inclusively working to change and leverage personnel in leadership to the benefit of desired D&I transformation?

Leadership and culture are complex, yet vital, components necessary to effectively harness inclusion to the benefit of company innovation and productivity. Increasingly, larger companies are losing out on top talent, and subsequent innovation, to more agile companies who are more flexible and capable of implementing culture change when needed. See some ways how larger, less agile, companies are effectively delivering key learning and culture change at scale.

Also feel free to find us on LinkedIn and Facebook. We are a small team but we always find time to share content that is relevant to the most important D&I topics, and valuable towards inspiring dialogue to guide us all towards viable solutions. We ultimately are all Champions of Change and proponents of equity to all (Women and Men alike). Every interaction we can all share together is one more valuable step towards action and tangible change that makes our world fair and equitable for all.

 

Accelerate Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Accelerate Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
Watch the Webinar

Why do so many D&I initiatives fail to achieve meaningful results, and how can you be certain that your strategy is successful? With a few simple tools, you can gain confidence in your ability to accelerate your Diversity and Inclusion strategy and create meaningful culture change in your organization. Accelerating Your D&I Strategy is the final installment of our highly successful four-part Diversity and Inclusion “Champions of Change” webinar series, presented by the National Diversity Council.

Join us for a complimentary webinar that will jump-start a fledgling Diversity & Inclusion program or invigorate a more mature D&I strategy. Hear our Chief Innovation Officer, and global thought-leader, Denise Pirrotti Hummel, as she shares her expertise on the strategic approach to Diversity and Inclusion that ensures real business ROI.

You Will Learn:
• The strategic pillars that can deliver success
• Why Diversity & Inclusion benchmarking is frequently ineffective and what to do instead
• The assessments that are most meaningful and why
• How to evaluate third-party partners and build an optimal plan for action

When: December 4, 2018
Time: 8 am – 9:30 am PST

Accelerate Your Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Denise Hummel

About Denise Hummel:
Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D., is the Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a firm devoted to helping clients make the connection between inclusion and business performance. As an attorney, Hummel spent many years litigating Civil Rights Cases, including gender equality litigation. As a recovering lawyer, Ms. Hummel was the founder and CEO of a cross-cultural strategy firm which she grew as a single mother. The firm, Universal Consensus, LLC., was acquired by Ernst & Young, LLP., where Ms. Hummel became a partner and led their Talent, Inclusion and Innovation division.

Having left Ernst & Young to start her second business, Hummel is now the Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a firm devoted to the connection between inclusion and business performance. She serves clients around the globe, with a strong presence in Life Sciences and High Tech. She is a Board Member of the HBA, the Co-Chair of the Life Sciences Committee of Athena and is a legacy member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches team. Learn more about Lead Inclusively and Denise.

About the National Diversity Council and the National Training Center:
A well-informed and properly educated diverse and inclusive workforce can strengthen an organization’s reputation, financial performance, and workplace culture. The National Training Center is a customizable and convenient educational resource provided by the National Diversity Council, a nonprofit that champions diversity and inclusion in our communities and workplaces.

Watch the Webinar

Creating (and Winning!) the Case For Change: Webinar Presented by National Diversity Council

By | #metoo to #wetoo, Gender Inclusion, News and Events, Uncategorized | No Comments
Register Now

Do you ever wonder how you could better articulate the case for diversity and inclusion in your company? Creating the case for change can be a challenge, but with a few simple strategies, you can position D&I as a strategic value driver in a way that will be impossible to ignore.

Creating (and Winning!) the Case for Change is part three in the four-part diversity and inclusion webinar series “Champions of Change,” taught by Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D. and presented by the National Diversity Council.

Join us on September 18 for a complimentary webinar that can jumpstart a fledgling D&I program or invigorate a more mature D&I strategy. Hear global thought leader Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D., as she shares her expertise on creating allies, building buy-in, becoming an agent for change in your organization, and connecting diversity and inclusion with real business ROI.

You will learn:
• Your role as a change agent in your organization
• Identifying the most compelling case for change for your organization
• Tools for creating buy in
• How to connect the case for change to the strategic business plan

When: September 18, 2018
Time: 8am – 9:30am PST

Denise Hummel

About Denise Hummel:
Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D., is the Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a firm devoted to helping Life Sciences clients to make the connection between inclusion and business performance. She spent many years litigating Civil Rights Cases, including gender equality litigation. As a recovering lawyer, Ms. Hummel was the founder and CEO of a cross-cultural strategy firm which she grew as a single mother. The firm, Universal Consensus, LLC., was acquired by Ernst & Young, LLP., where Ms. Hummel became a partner and led their Talent, Inclusion and Innovation division. She then exited to start her second business.

She is now the Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a firm devoted to the connection between inclusion and business performance. She serves clients around the globe, with a strong presence in Life Sciences and High Tech. She is a Board Member of the HBA and the Co-Chair of the Life Sciences Committee of Athena. She is also a legacy member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches team. Learn more about Lead Inclusively.

About the National Diversity Council and the National Training Center:
A well-informed and properly educated diverse and inclusive workforce can strengthen an organization’s reputation, financial performance, and workplace culture. The National Training Center is a customizable and convenient educational resource provided by the National Diversity Council, a nonprofit that champions diversity and inclusion in our communities and workplaces.

Register Now

Metrics That Matter: Webinar Presented by NDC

By | Gender Inclusion, News and Events | No Comments
Register Now

Metrics That Matter is part two in the four-part diversity and inclusion webinar series “Champions of Change,” taught by Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D. Presented by the National Diversity Council.

Although nearly all companies believe that diversity and inclusion are critical to business success, only 85% of companies track any kind of diversity and inclusion metric. Unfortunately, there is often lack of knowledge around which metrics matter most. This creates an opportunity for companies who do use metrics to be able to reach their full potential. Lead Inclusively assists organizations in using D&I metrics to diagnose and correct issues throughout the talent pipeline, contribute to business goals, optimize processes and effect sustainable change. Join us on June 5th for a free webinar. Hear global thought leader Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D., as she shares her expertise on connecting diversity and inclusion with business ROI. Attend this can’t miss webinar to get your company’s D&I strategy moving in the right direction.

You will learn:
– The value of metrics for tracking and creating sustainable change
– Meaningful metrics most companies aren’t tracking
– Which metrics to track across the employee lifecycle and how to get started
– How to use metrics to optimize processes and achieve strategic D&I goals
– Best and next practices in tracking metrics that matter

When: June 5, 2018
Time: 8am – 9:30am PST

Denise Hummel

About Denise Hummel:
Denise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D., is the Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a firm devoted to helping Life Sciences clients to make the connection between inclusion and business performance. She spent many years litigating Civil Rights Cases, including gender equality litigation. As a recovering lawyer, Ms. Hummel was the founder and CEO of a cross-cultural strategy firm which she grew as a single mother. The firm, Universal Consensus, LLC., was acquired by Ernst & Young, LLP., where Ms. Hummel became a partner and led their Talent, Inclusion and Innovation division. She then exited to start her second business.

She is now the Chief Innovation Officer of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a firm devoted to the connection between inclusion and business performance. She serves clients around the globe, with a strong presence in Life Sciences and High Tech. She is a Board Member of the HBA and the Co-Chair of the Life Sciences Committee of Athena. She is also a legacy member of the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches team. Learn more about Lead Inclusively.

About the National Diversity Council and the National Training Center:
A well-informed and properly educated diverse and inclusive workforce can strengthen an organization’s reputation, financial performance, and workplace culture. The National Training Center is a customizable and convenient educational resource provided by the National Diversity Council, a nonprofit that champions diversity and inclusion in our communities and workplaces.

Register Now

Companies Losing $30 Billion Annually On Reverse Ageism – by Dan Negroni

By | Generation inclusion, Inclusive Leadership

We know that making sweeping generalizations about any group of people being “lazy,” “unprofessional,” “unreliable,” or “narcissistic” is repugnant. Unless we are talking about the dreaded “M” word, Millennials.

In their paper Too Old or Too Young? The Impact of Perceived Age Discrimination, authors Ed Snape and Tom Redman cite a study which found that “being seen as untrustworthy and being given less responsibility were common” among undergraduate business students. And that is if they are hired at all; experts now cite a hesitancy in employers over hiring younger staff.

It is called Reverse Ageism and it presents a serious hurdle to young talent in your office no matter how capable they actually are.

Reverse Ageism Is a Billion Dollar Problem for Companies
For a mid- to large- sized company, reverse ageism could potentially be costing you millions of dollars, your most productive employees, and ruining your company culture. On average, Millennials stay in a role for 1.3 years, which Gallup estimates costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion annually. That’s a ton of coin.

And money isn’t the only loss for companies. Recruitment costs, onboarding costs, loss of productivity from watching colleagues leave, and lower productivity of new hires all negatively affect a company, its culture and its bottom line. Not to mention these young staff that are leaving are often more productive than senior staff and almost universally less expensive to hire, hurting your bottom line even further.

These are real costs to your company, but they are fixable. They require thought, time, investment and a commitment to emphasizing the strengths of your Millennial staff and helping the five generations working together today to bridge the gaps between them and leverage their unique strengths.

Millennials Have Unique Gifts and Gaps
While it may be true Millennials lack some essential professional skills, they are happier than any other generation to develop and hone their skills given the chance. Gallup found that 87% of Millennials believe “development is important in a job” and development opportunities regularly score higher than pay when Millennials rank the benefits of a job.

The catch is that they know when they are liked, wanted, respected and valued.

Employers who want to put a stop to both the generational tensions in their office and the high turnover rate of Millennials need to take the time to train the enterprise to bridge generational gaps. That process starts with providing Millennials with the training opportunities that develop their professional skills and make them feel that they are valued in the workplace and gives them a sense of progressing as professionals.

We suspect you might even be surprised by what they can do.

Get ahead of reverse ageism in your workplace. Click to learn more about the Lead Inclusively workshop on Generational Inclusiveness: Knowing Your XYZs.
– – – –
Dan Negroni is V.P. of Generational Services at Lead Inclusively, Inc. He is a “recovering attorney” and the quintessential next generation business management and talent development consultant and coach solving today’s critical multi-generational issues. Dan leverages his authentic, no-nonsense approach and a successful 20+ year career experiences as a CEO, attorney, senior sales and marketing executive, to help companies bridge the gap between managers and their millennial workforce to increase employee engagement, productivity and profits.

Why Healthcare Innovation Often Fails

By | Inclusive Innovation

Today, health systems require an increased focus on innovation to achieve their strategic goals. With major forces of change at play — including consumerism, retail healthcare, risk-shifting, new entrants, and uncertainty resulting from a new administration — hospitals and other providers have begun evaluating new business models, diversifying their business, and searching for new revenue streams to stay relevant and competitive in their markets. Igor Belokrinitsky © ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2016

However, deciding to pursue innovation is far easier than actually making it work.  We have found that connecting innovation efforts with Diversity & Inclusion initiatives is a win-win between business strategy and H.R. strategy.

There  are a few common themes that are beginning to come to light in failed innovation attempts. Fortunately, all of these can be mitigated through thoughtful and purposeful design of an innovation operating model that includes enabling diverse ideation from a diverse talent pool.

1. Treating innovation like any other project. Treating innovation like any other investment is one of the most common mistakes we see. Measuring the financial return on innovation projects alongside other projects decreases their attractiveness, as most new ventures’ payback period is protracted. This may result in organizations shelving otherwise high potential opportunities, or myopically focusing on incremental opportunities with near-term payback. Furthermore, funding innovation via traditional budgeting processes (those used for traditional business planning) does not pull capital from dedicated innovation funds, and forces ongoing innovation efforts to compete for funding against other projects, operating units, and organizational priorities. In times of austerity and budget cuts, innovation efforts can be perceived as non-essential, and are at greater risk of falling subject to the axe. Using Diversity and Inclusion engagements as a catalyst for driving diverse innovation and tapping D&I budgets through H.R. or individual business units can be the key to avoiding this problem.

2. Measuring the wrong things. Measuring progress of innovation efforts is significantly different from, and more challenging than for traditional business units. Measuring your innovation portfolio through financial reporting processes may not provide full transparency into an initiative’s performance — progress towards milestones should be defined by metrics appropriate for pre-revenue and early-stage growth companies (e.g., engaged users, downloads), not strictly by financials. Measuring innovation efforts strictly by financial projections may be misleading, as financial projections for early stage and start up businesses are subject to significant uncertainty, and are easily missed.  Qualitative metrics as well as financial metrics related to inclusion efforts pay off in unanticipated dividends.

3. Not understanding the talent market. Successful intrapreneur leaders are a special breed of talent that have both entrepreneurial tendencies and experience, but are comfortable navigating the processes and politics of larger corporations. Not only are these leaders different in profile from traditional corporate hires, the teams they require to support their innovation efforts (e.g., design, development) are different as well. These leaders are in high demand from start-up or growth stage organizations, and field offers with compensation that includes cash and significant equity — attractive components of a total package. Leveraging traditional HR functions that don’t understand the profile or motivations of the right talent can significantly impair your innovation effort, the success of which is largely determined by having the right leaders to drive it.  HR transformation that recognizes diverse talent as more than just “visual diversity,” but actually hones in on diverse thinkers can make all the difference.

4. Borrowing from the corporate playbook. Many fall into the trap of assuming that existing resources and shared services can support innovation in a “plug and play” manner. However, it is exactly this thinking that will stifle your innovation effort. Incubators and other innovation operating models that heavily rely on matrixing to parent resources (e.g., IT, marketing, legal, procurement, D&I, HR) are subject to the same prioritization processes and corporate cost reduction efforts that can hamper the speed of traditional projects. Furthermore, without embracing an entrepreneurial culture (e.g., focus on building MVPs, employing lightweight contracting), the innovation effort risks over-building and over-contracting products for enterprise clients without first having established product-market fit.

5. Failing to keep “fit.” Designing and consistently executing an innovation process that aligns to your overall strategy is hard, and requires commitment and constant vigilance. It is easy to become complacent in enforcing strategic alignment, pursuing attractive business cases despite their failure to align with your organization’s core mission. However, focus is paramount in innovation. A coherent portfolio that supports the organization’s overall strategy, from its innovation strategy to it’s D&I strategy and everything in between, not only ensures executive and board alignment, it can yield positive benefits by enabling your organization to create a compelling case to outside philanthropists, grant-providing organizations, and strategic partners.

We’re happy to help you begin. Take our complimentary mini-assessment to see how your company stacks up against the competition.

Life Sciences Fireside Chat Program Recap

By | #bettertogether, Gender Inclusion, News and Events

Blog recap of Athena Life Sciences Special Interest Group program: Fireside Chat with notable women in science.

Linda Strause, PhD and Sara Gilman, LMFT met because they both enjoy cycling.  They became close friends because, in addition to cycling, they shared a philosophy that life’s challenges could create such deviations from the most direct route to success, that navigating without a map might actually make more sense.

As a scholar of leadership, I often hear inspirational stories about how professionals achieved success.  This is the first time, however, that I have heard a story of the syncopation of two leaders whose paths have intersected with such serendipity, despite the fact that both walked (or rather cycled) their journey without a map and that their respective compasses were not always tracking true north.

Linda, the Principal and Founder of Strategic Clinical Consultants, shared with us that as she was working tirelessly in the field of oncology, her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer.  Sara, the Founder & President of Coherence Associates, Inc.,  shared with us that while she was working zealously as a family therapist to help others to battle addiction, she came to understand that her own son was experiencing his own battle with addiction.  Powerhouses in their own right, each was powerless to “fix” a problem in their own families, related to their respective expertise.  Their work, their cycling, their friendship and their family life worked in unison to help them heal, as well as stay focused on success, as the gentle sway of the road turned at times to hairpin curves.

The sons of both women eventually joined them in their “Mom-Owned Businesses,” and each credits her son with having insight into the business complementary to her own set of skills.

The definition of success varies with the individual.  It would be easy to define both women as a success.  Linda Strause has thirty years of experience in global clinical operations and clinical development in oncology.  Sara Gilman has created a company consisting of a team of counselors and family therapists.  As Sara explained a breathing technique that is used to reinforce the heart’s regulation of emotional response to create mental toughness, Linda ended the Athena session with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”  I might add that to thrive in business, while simultaneously administering to the needs of loved ones, takes great courage.  It would be easy to forsake one for the other, and the extremes of selfishness or selflessness are far more common than the balance between them.

Get more innovative! To augment your own life sciences organization, take a moment to learn more about about our Life Sciences Innovation Labs.

By Denise Hummel, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer, Lead Inclusively, Inc.

 

Women on Boards: Tips From Debra Reed, CEO, Sempra Energy

By | #mentorher, #sponsorher, Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion, Inclusive Leadership, News and Events

On November 17th, I attended the 2020 Women on Boards Luncheon at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Music Center in Los Angeles. I was fortunate to sit next to Debra Reed, CEO of Sempra Energy and the keynote speaker for the luncheon.

When Debra took the podium, her key message was to be optimistic, while also being realistic. “There are no glass ceilings if you do not believe that there are,” Reed said. “Be realistic about your board goals; start with a non-profit or a start-up before being wedded to aspirations of being on a Fortune 500 Board.”

Debra’s other tips were as follows:

1. Be the very best at what you do best.
2. Reach out to your network about your board aspirations with great specificity.
3. Be a team player at all times; this quality is not dispensable when working on a board.

Debra concluded by sharing her philosophy that leadership is not about knowing; it’s about how we learn. Our analytical ability is critical, but will only take us so far without a well-honed EQ. And since that EQ-IQ combination is what we do best as woman, we should be in good shape to move above the 19% of board positions we currently hold.

As a member of Marshall Goldsmith’s legacy team of executive coaches (the MG100), I am a firm believer that stakeholder-centered leadership coaching can assist women in becoming more well-rounded candidates for board positions. Lead Inclusively is committed to providing the coaching that can assist women in their journeys to the top. Learn more about our executive coaching services here.

3 Behaviors That Accelerate Innovation

By | Diverity & Inclusion, Inclusive Innovation, Inclusive Leadership

To succeed, leaders of diverse organizations must create an inclusive environment that encourages new ideas.

Many studies show that organizations with a diverse workforce out-perform more homogenous organizations. According to McKinsey’s 2015 study “Diversity Matters,” companies in the top quartile for gender or racial and ethnic diversity are more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians. Companies in the bottom quartile in these dimensions are statistically less likely to achieve above-average returns.

While greater gender and ethnic diversity in corporate leadership doesn’t automatically translate into more profit, the correlation does indicate that when companies commit themselves to diverse leadership, they can be more successful.

What makes diverse organizations perform well, however, is not just the number of women and minorities they employ. It’s about how included these diverse individuals are in key decision-making activities and how organizations value their contributions. It’s also to what extent they rise to senior leadership so that their voices are more likely to translate into meaningful organizational transformation and provide inspiration to others in the diversity talent pipeline.

According to a 2013 Corporate Executive Board and Center for Talent Innovation study, the “inclusion” part of the “diversity and inclusion” equation is a key enabling or limiting factor. Inclusive leadership behaviors unlock the innovative potential of a diverse workforce and increase the likelihood (by as much as 158%) of innovating effectively.

Organizational leaders must ask themselves if they provide an environment that encourages diverse people to express their ideas so that the motivation to share diverse ideation thrives. When individuals on a team feel that their opinions are valuable and sought-after by their leader, they allow themselves the luxury and the discipline of sharing ideas without creating a self-induced filter regarding ideas that aren’t in sync with prevailing thought or the historic ways of doing things.

In the absence of inclusive leadership, employees will often do the minimum necessary to achieve their own individual performance goals, rather than see themselves as instrumental to organizational performance and growth.

So how should organizational leaders practice inclusion?

The three “Rs” of inclusive leadership provide a framework to move the needle on the connection between inclusion and innovation:

1. Receptive: Seek out opinions and viewpoints on a regular basis.
Most leaders consider themselves receptive. The reality is that if we do not seek out diverse opinions on a regular basis and make that part of the structure of our meetings—as well as the way our team is evaluated—then our self-perception does not always align with the reality of our day-to-day team interaction.

Encourage sharing different opinions and viewpoints during team meetings by incorporating the concept into every team agenda. Incorporate formal KPIs or performance goals that reflect the importance, accountability, and appreciation related to new ideas about products, services, and internal process. Consider using interactive technology such as gamification to challenge the team to share ideas. In the absence of direct and discernible goals, “groupthink” and reliance on the historical way of doing things will be the norm.

If team members know that their performance evaluation will be, in part, dependent upon their contribution, even in the face of a less than popular point of view, the chance of hearing diverse ideation increases dramatically.

2. Reflective: Keep decision-making honest and transparent.
When an idea offered by a team member is not acted upon, or a decision is made that could result in the appearance that a certain team member is being favored over others, inclusive leaders explain the “why” of their decision to their team, honestly and transparently. Nature abhors a vacuum. In the absence of direct information about why a decision is made, team members are left to speculate about the “why” and will freely attribute a decision to cronyism, or to the fact that the person chosen happens to share the same viewpoint as the leader.

In the age of technology, the final decisions are often transmitted virtually and announced by email or newsletter, leaving a team without personal interaction with their leader regarding the nuances of the decision. If all factors have been included, especially those related to diverse thought that goes against the mainstream, then call that out before the decision is announced. If not, then reconsider the basis of the decision before announcing it.

3. Revitalizing: Listen for the silence.
Find ways for the quieter voices in the team to be heard. Look around the room. When is the last time you heard each team member’s voice? Are there some team members who manage to be heard, no matter what? Are there some that seem to have nothing to say?

Assuming that your organization chooses its talent carefully, the chances are pretty good that silence does not mean that there is no point of view. Rather, it may be a personality or cultural style that does not easily permit contribution without that voice actively being requested. Ask, “Is there anything you’d like to share about this subject?”

For especially shy or introverted team members, consider giving them advanced notice that you’d like to hear from them at the next team meeting. You may be amazed.

The Outcome of Inclusion
While every organization is different, small changes in inclusivity seem to have exponential results. For example, I recently challenged a client to take one singular action in each of the categories above and to survey the outcome, including asking an open-ended question relative to how team members felt about the changes that were instituted.

One of the actions they took was that a cloud-based receptacle for ideas was established. Entries were coded in such a way that ideas could remain anonymous or could be revealed by the idea donor. Team members could anonymously vote and they could also comment or clarify an idea. A gamification component was added whereby digital badges could be collected. When a certain number of badges were obtained (regardless of the identity of the donors), the team was rewarded with a team dinner, courtesy of the company.

In addition to the fact that many process optimizations took place and several new service ideas moved forward to be vetted, the overwhelming majority of the comments reflected a feeling of excitement, optimism, and engagement, including one team member who exclaimed, “Can we please shut down the portal over the weekend? My husband is getting really annoyed because I keep getting up in the middle of the day to input an idea that I dreamt about that night!” To which the team leader responded, “All our teams should all have such problems!”

Originally published in Oracle Profit Magazine.

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News: Syracuse University Students Protest Drop in Diversity

By | Diverity & Inclusion, News and Events, Racial Inclusion

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University is taking steps to address a 4 percent decrease in the number of students of color who enrolled this year.

The class of 2020, whose approximately 4,000 members started their first day of classes this week, is made up of 24 percent students of color, according to SU. That’s down from 28 percent last year.

The decrease comes after two years of debate on campus about whether diversity is a priority. The campus was rocked two years ago when a video surfaced online of a women’s soccer player using homophobic and racial slurs.

Student advocates and the group THE General Body have held protests and raised concerns about diversity on campus, mostly in the 2014-15 school year. One of the protestors told a Syracuse.com reporter that students of color “feel like the campus isn’t built for us.”

Chancellor Kent Syverud came under fire that year after funding cuts were made to programs students said were primarily used by racial minorities.

Source: http://blog.syracuse.com/sports/2014/09/syracuse_womens_soccer_player_hanna_strong_suspended_after_using_slurs_in_video.html