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Diverity & Inclusion

Inclusion Virtual Coach App

Lead Inclusively to Join the Ranks of Microsoft for Startups

By | Company News, Diverity & Inclusion, High Tech | No Comments

San Diego diversity and inclusion startup, app developer, and consulting firm Lead Inclusively Inc. has joined the ranks of Microsoft for Startups. Microsoft’s global startup program is designed to help startups quickly build and market their solutions. Lead Inclusively, Inc. founded by CEO Denise Hummel is one of a handful of women-owned startups to be accepted, out of thousands of applicants. The program provides world-class resources to top-ranked ventures.

Based on Hummel’s decades of diversity and inclusion enterprise consulting, Lead Inclusively developed and launched its new Inclusion Virtual Coach® app which leverages machine learning, principles of neuroscience, AI and real-time nudge messaging to deliver next-gen, just in time, leadership training that enables real behavior change in the workplace.

“The Inclusion Virtual Coach desktop and mobile app is designed to produce new behaviors aligned with best practices from candidate screening and job interviewing to performance management and meetings,” said Hummel. “It’s such an honor to have our technology and expertise in enterprise diversity and inclusion validated in this manner.”

On accepting Lead Inclusively into Microsoft for Startups, Managing Director, Shaloo Garg had this to offer:

“At Microsoft for Startups, we’re focused on fostering diversity within startup ecosystems around the world. Startups like Lead Inclusively represent a step toward greater diversity and representation, and we’re excited to contribute support.”

The groundbreaking Inclusion Virtual Coach® app is an extension to Lead Inclusively’s already robust array of traditional diversity and inclusion consulting services. Through Microsoft for Startups, the company can access support from one of the world’s leaders in AI development to continue to enhance the app’s functionality as it learns how best to support and coach each user.

Inclusion Virtual Coach App TrainingLeadership Training Nudge Messaging

“I am so excited by the work Lead Inclusively is doing in the San Diego business community and throughout the nation. It is no surprise to me that the tech sector has caught on to their success and potential,” said Alex Balazs, Chief Architect at Intuit and a member of the Lead Inclusively Advisory Board.

Lead Inclusively’s Virtual Coach app seeks to fill a market need of $520 billion in losses resulting from employee disengagement and regrettable attrition.

Founder, Denise Hummel began her career as an employment discrimination attorney before becoming a diversity and inclusion consultant to some of the largest organizations in the world. She developed a successful methodology for teaching inclusion in the workplace but saw that while leaders found the material interesting, they struggled to make sustainable behavior changes. Hummel and her team researched the neuroscience of behavior change and leveraged technology through the Inclusion Virtual Coach app to seamlessly and permanently help leaders to embed inclusion in their teams.

For formal press inquiries regarding the Lead Inclusively or the Inclusion Virtual Coach App. Go to the formal press release or reach out directly to info@leadincluively.com.

 


Lead Inclusively Inc logo

About Lead Inclusively Inc.

Lead Inclusively is the world leader in diversity and inclusion, offering consulting services as well as scalable technology to support and sustain enterprise clients that are transforming to an inclusive culture. The Inclusion Virtual Coach® App utilizes nudge messaging and AI to deliver state of the art microlearning, in real-time, focused on the leader’s leadership behavior, to foster inclusion, better teams, and improved performance. Learn more at https://www.leadinclusively.com.

To learn more about Lead Inclusively, the Virtual Coach® App and its new partnership with Microsoft for Startups, please call Matt at 760-696-0179 or email at info@leadinclusively.com

About Microsoft for Startups

Microsoft for Startups takes a unique approach to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners. Microsoft has over 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive the adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide.

How Men and Women can Impact Gender Parity in the Workplace

By | Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion, Gender Parity, Human Resources, Inclusive Leadership | No Comments

As many of you may know, Mckinsey recently released its 2019 “Women in the Workplace” report. In what is widely considered the primary barometer for the state of gender equity in the workforce, the report highlights a continuation of many trends. Of them, the most notable is the continued stagnation of women in leadership positions starting at the manager level which in turn impacts workplace gender parity as a whole.

Despite making up almost 60% of bachelor’s degrees, and 50% of entry-level hires, women continue to be left behind when they reach the Manager level and beyond. While the presence of women in senior leadership has risen, the continued lack of progress in this area continues to be the single most important factor that continues to hinder workplace gender parity.

McKinsey Women in the Workplace

All this despite increased awareness, effort and even public outcry (e.g. the #Metoo movement) all calling for more progress. What needs to change is workplace culture. By building a culture of trust and collaboration we can slowly enable Men AND Women alike to build more equitable workplaces and slowly eradicate gender inequality. Here’s how:

Career Planning for Longterm Success – How it Affects Gender Parity

In a recent conversation with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, discussed the fact that women are more likely to sacrifice their careers for their jobs. In other words, women can be more focused on the day-to-day responsibilities of their jobs while losing focus on what might benefit their long term careers. Women can also be more concerned with the negative impacts of their own career advancement on their current teams.

What women can do:

Women can start by not being apologetic for thinking about their long-term careers and what might benefit them as individuals. It is always okay to do a good job day-to-day with an end-goal of something bigger or unrelated to one’s current job! This change in mentality has also helped many professionals avoid the ‘indispensable in current role’ syndrome that plagues many.

What men can do: 

Understand and acknowledge that many women have the same career ambitions as many men. They simply go about their day-to-day business slightly differently. This knowledge can help companies re-evaluate the way individuals are considered for promotion.

Building and Leveraging Mentorship Relationships

47% of HR Leaders say that the biggest obstacle to advancing women is the fact that women are less likely to receive the necessary sponsorship. And the facts corroborate this. Women are statistically far less likely to receive a job recommendation or be put on a stretch assignment. These are both major factors that contribute to promotions and are influenced by the presence (or lack thereof) of an advocate in their professional life.

What women can do:

Women are often far less likely to advocate for and promote themselves than men. The average female professional will rate her own job performance significantly lower than the average male professional, despite both performing at the same level. Women should practice being more self-promotional and advocating for their work. It may feel awkward at first, but it is an effective and even necessary skill to cultivate.

What men can do:

Because women are often less self-promotional, less likely to ask, and less likely to receive the same mentorship and opportunities, take it upon yourself to offer sponsorship to female colleagues, and offer assistance in these areas. On the flip-side, also be careful not to succumb to the unconscious bias that perceives women who own their achievements as arrogant or not team players.

The role of collaboration, respect, and Inclusion in Achieving Gender Parity

Gender parity can only be achieved and sustained if it is built on the collective success of everyone. When inclusive gender parity is reached, workplaces thrive. Inclusion is the first step to bridging the gaps between men and women in the workplace. Both men and women can contribute to inclusion to catalyze the necessary trust, respect, and collaboration that will drive EVERYONE’s collective success.

Happy Workplaces - Lead Inclusively

What do you think?

How can men and women advance gender parity in a way that is fair and equitable? How can inclusion be the catalyst for fostering workplaces that promote belonging and how does that factor into gender parity? Dive deeper into the topic during this webinar or join the discussion during an upcoming virtual-live Q&A.


About Lead Inclusively

Lead Inclusively is a technology-enabled Diversity and Inclusion Consulting firm devoted to developing leaders, teams, and organizations to leverage Diversity and Inclusion as an accelerator for business performance. Our collective experience has been that diversity only assures that we have a mix of different people in the workplace. Diverse people in a non-inclusive workplace may be retained for some period of time, but without inclusion, they will not thrive, advance, or become strong team collaborators. Our Unique Diversity and Inclusion solutions ensure impactful and sustained transformation in your Leadership Development, Culture,  Team, and Performance.

Lead Inclusively Inc logo

New Hires - Lead Inclusively

New Hires Thrive When they Feel They Belong

By | Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion, Gender Parity, Human Resources, Inclusive Innovation, organizational culture | No Comments

Long gone are the days of new hires working their way up from the mailroom to the c-suite. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median tenure of young workers is only about 3 years. In a world that is faster and more competitive than ever, new hires and companies alike need to minimize their speed to productivity if they are to succeed.

Between the fact 46% of new hires fail within the first 18 months (i.e. were terminated, left under pressure, received disciplinary action or significantly negative performance reviews), and that turnover costs companies billions in lost time and productivity (beyond the hiring and training costs) companies need to perfect their ability to empower new hires to thrive. According to Glassdoor, meaningful onboarding that connects new hires to a larger company culture can increase retention by 82%. In other words, it is vital to empower a new hire early and often if they are to succeed.

In recent articles, I have discussed how inclusive workplace cultures encourage happier and more empowered employees, which in turn allows companies to thrive. Inclusion also has resounding effects on the success (or lack thereof) of new hires, which ultimately impacts the larger organization. Here’s how:

New hires need a sense of psychological safety

According to experts in psychology and organizational culture, starting a new job is one of the most vulnerable experiences individuals go through; however, feeling a sense of belonging is arguably as important as feeling loved. Navigating these two components is vital for any new hire, and the root of overcoming these challenges results from a sense of psychological safety.

When new hires feel safe, they are empowered to overcome their vulnerabilities and engage by asking questions, taking initiative, and even making mistakes. If a new hire is engaging on these levels, they are already on the fast-track to long-term success at their new company.

New hires want to feel like they are part of company plans

All employees stand to benefit by feeling like they are part of something bigger than themselves. But employees also need to benefit from feeling that their company is also invested in them.

Connecting new hires with key stakeholders helps continually bridge the natural gaps that exist between organizational leadership and the larger workforce. Engaging new hires in this manner helps build and sustain a culture of transparent communication and overall trust.

What does this mean for companies and their culture? 

When new hires feel connected to their company’s goals and trust that their leadership is invested in them, they will feel safe to engage in their workplace, connect with key stakeholders, leverage professional development opportunities and actively contribute to their company’s long-term success.

This combination of purpose, recognition, and gratitude creates an all-in culture that engages and empowers EVERY employee in a company. But without elements of inclusion that impact an employee from day one, companies will inevitably fall short of harnessing the full potential of their new hires and overall culture.

What do you think?  

How does inclusion impact the success or failure of new hires? What is the evolving role or inclusion in culture and company success in the workplace? You can download the white paper to dive deeper into the topic or join the discussion during an upcoming virtual-live Q&A

Diversity and Inclusion Q&A


About Lead Inclusively

Lead Inclusively is a technology-enabled Diversity and Inclusion Consulting firm devoted to developing leaders, teams, and organizations to leverage Diversity and Inclusion as an accelerator for business performance. Our collective experience has been that diversity only assures that we have a mix of different people in the workplace. Diverse people in a non-inclusive workplace may be retained for some period of time, but without inclusion, they will not thrive, advance, or become strong team collaborators. Our Unique Diversity and Inclusion solutions ensure impactful and sustained transformation in your Leadership Development, Culture,  Team, and Performance.

workplaces happiness begins with inclusion - Lead Inclusively

Employees’​ Happiness Begins With an Inclusive Workplace Culture

By | Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion, Gender Parity, Generation inclusion, High Tech, Inclusive Leadership, organizational culture | No Comments

You would be hard-pressed to find someone who would disagree with the idea that happy teams are better teams. Happy teams comprised of happy, engaged employees are statistically more productive and focused. It is estimated that companies with a highly engaged workforce make upwards of 147% more earnings per share than unengaged workforces. Happy teams are also objectively healthier. According to WebMD, upwards of 90% of doctors’ visits can be attributed to some form of negative stress in a patient’s life. It is also estimated that upwards of $576B are lost every year by US employers to workforce illness. All of this even though, on average, companies spend around $750 per employee on employee wellness initiatives. For these reasons and more it is fair to say that workplace engagement and happiness begins with an inclusive workplace culture.

Inclusive leadership creates a culture that fosters innovation and drives performance. Having happy employees is the root of innovation and performance. Workplace happiness begins and ends with a culture that is inclusive of its team members. Here’s how:

Happiness begins with feeling understood

Psychology Today suggests that feeling understood is arguably more important to happiness than feeling loved. Inclusive cultures foster the psychological safety necessary for all members to feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace. Inclusion also fosters a culture that places value on individuals for being themselves.

Happiness begins with belonging

Feeling understood gives people a sense of belonging. Knowing that a team respects and appreciates what makes each person different as individuals helps engage all team members. This becomes increasingly important for women, minorities and LGBTQ+ members of a team, who are typically not as well-represented on teams, especially at senior levels.

Happiness begins with being part of something bigger than yourself

When individuals feel like they are understood, they achieve a sense of belonging and connection to the larger team. When ALL team members feel a sense of belonging, they are ready to work together to achieve a collective vision and contribute to larger company goals.

Happy employees are empowered employees

Once ALL employees feel like they are understood, they can achieve a sense of belonging. This helps them feel like they are part of a team with a sense of community that is purposeful. Individuals who feel part of a team that is bought-in to each other and a collective goal, are truly empowered to innovate. Companies that can foster a culture of inclusion can fully expect to reap the benefits of a happy, engaged and empowered workforce.

What can we do?

We believe that leaders are the catalysts to transforming and sustaining inclusion in team culture. But how do we train leaders to be inclusive in the moments that matter most? How do we change the way we coach leaders to be more effective and consistent in their ability to be inclusive? Here are 5 areas of leaders’ daily lives that we can focus our training on to directly impact inclusiveness on teams.

What do you think?

Is there a correlation between inclusion in the workplace, and happiness? Is it fair to argue that when happiness fosters innovation? How can companies transform their culture to help their employees be happier while also boosting the bottom line?

Join a more in-depth discussion to share your insights and receive crowd-sourced solutions from fellow professionals in the space in an open Q&A session.

Diversity and Inclusion Solutions Event


About Lead Inclusively

Lead Inclusively is a technology-enabled Diversity and Inclusion Consulting firm devoted to developing leaders, teams, and organizations to leverage Diversity and Inclusion as an accelerator for business performance. Our collective experience has been that diversity only assures that we have a mix of different people in the workplace. Diverse people in a non-inclusive workplace may be retained for some period of time, but without inclusion, they will not thrive, advance, or become strong team collaborators. Our Unique Diversity and Inclusion solutions ensure impactful and sustained transformation in your Leadership Development, Culture,  Team, and Performance.

 

Takeaways from Mckinsey's 2018 Women in the Workplace report

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

By | Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion, Gender Parity, News and Events | No Comments

In response to the 2018 Mckinsey 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.

women in leadership mckinsey stats

Women are excluded through a 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.

 

Diversity Metrics that matter - Lead Inclusively

Diversity Metrics That Matter: Webinar Presented by NDC

By | Diverity & Inclusion, Gender Inclusion, Human Resources, News and Events | No Comments
See the Recording

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 a 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 CEO Lead Inclusively

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 Marshall Goldsmith’s 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.

 

See the Recording

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.

Reap the benefits of Inclusive Leadership company-wide – explore our full-day Inclusive Leadership workshops.

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

Trends: Keep an Eye on Diverse Micro-Markets

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

Black consumers are an underestimated force in the American economy, but not for long.

A new Nielsen report on “the untold story” of black consumers, shows that as the black population grows, so will its economic influence and buying power.

The report highlights 2015 as a “tipping point” for black Americans in their “unprecedented impact” across a number of areas, especially television, music, social media and on social issues. Demographic trends combined with the power of social media have collided to empower an increasingly educated, affluent, and tech-savvy black consumer base. As a result, it’s a key time for companies to “build and sustain deeper, more meaningful connections” with black consumers, according to the findings.

Sources:

http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2014/connecting-through-culture-african-americans-favor-diverse-advertising.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/02/black-consumers-have-unprecedented-impact-in-2015/433725/