Igniting The True Power of Diversity Through Inclusion

Inclusive Leaders Inspire Trust and Innovation - Lead Inclusively

Inclusive Leaders Inspire Trust and Innovation

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Trust is one of the most important elements of anyone’s personal or professional life. In many ways, without trust, it is almost impossible to achieve anything. Be it a strong relationship with a significant other, or a larger corporate merger or bi-partisan compromise in key legislation, or the management of your everyday team; trust issues can be a huge negative factor in undermining the success of individuals, organizations, and even entire countries. Inclusive leaders are key to inspiring trust and innovation.

From a global ‘business trust crisis‘ to a ‘fake news epidemic‘ to the workplace gender disconnect (e.g. #metoo), there are seemingly trust issues all around us. But some companies are doing it right. Companies with a strong culture of trust produce more innovative, engaged and happier employees (to learn more, see our recent webinar about ‘unlocking happier workplaces’).

So what are some areas that companies and their leaders can focus on to create a strong culture of trust? And how do these areas affect a company and societal success? Let’s discuss:

Inclusive Leaders are Transparent

We sat down with Joel Peterson, JetBlue Chairman, and global thought-leader, to discuss the impact of transparency in building an organizational culture of trust. Transparency is one of the key mechanisms that can effectively bridge the gap between a company’s leadership and its workforce. This becomes increasingly important with a younger generation entering the workforce with a more wary perspective of systems and institutions than their predecessors (i.e. the University system and housing market).

Transparent companies are more successful at inspiring their workforce to invest in a common mission. companies with transparency are not afraid to provide insights into decision making, which builds trust in leadership and company process. Companies that are not transparent send the message that their workforce is not worthy of receiving key insights, creating internal skepticism of leadership that destroys company morale.

Inclusive Leaders are Accountable

Everyone makes mistakes. From the social media intern to the C-suite, individuals make mistakes that negatively impact a company to varying degrees. When leaders show accountability for their own mistakes, they show their teams that they are self-aware, which establishes credibility. A lack of accountability also hinders the free exchange of authentic feedback which in turn stifles individual and team growth. Accountability is a key tool that can turn a mistake into an opportunity to build a stronger team culture. Leaders who are accountable themselves then inspire their teams to be accountable as well, which creates dynamics of trust rather than fear or resentment.

Inclusion is Key to a Culture of Trust

Diversity and Inclusion ROI

In a nutshell, inclusive leaders are effective at connecting with the individuals on their teams. This allows leaders to set up their people for success. Inclusive organizations are trusting because they embrace and are invested in everyone’s individual success. This creates a dynamic of mutual respect that allows organizations to be transparent and accountable with their workforce. In turn, the workforce of an inclusive organization feels a sense of connection and belonging to an organization and its goals.

When all is said and done, a culture of inclusion creates open lines of communication between organizational leadership and the larger workforce. When a culture of inclusion and trust is achieved, individuals, teams, and companies are empowered to innovate.

What do you think?

What do you think about the correlation between inclusion and trust? Do you believe that this correlation can directly impact innovation and business performance? I would love to hear your thoughts and invite you to join our newsletter if you care to keep up with future conversations like this one.

Unlocking Happier Workplaces - webinar recording
Workplace Diversity Advocates

Advocating for Workplace Diversity as the Office ‘White Guy’

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Efforts in advancing workplace diversity and equity have made encouraging strides in recent years. However, despite these trends, most Diversity and Inclusion practitioners readily admit that internal policy and compliance initiatives will only advance workplace diversity so far.  

A larger transformation of workplace culture is necessary to advance and sustain workplace diversity while also increasing innovation. To achieve this transformation, we will need help from members of non-divers workplace demographics groups. In many cases (but not all), these are affectionately known as the ‘White Guys’ 

As we work to embed and sustain inclusive workplace culture, the ‘white guy’ will continue to be a vital catalyst for workplace diversity by transforming the current leadership culture that exists consciously or subconsciously in many workplaces today. Here’s how:  

Fighting the myth that workplace diversity is tokenism 

In a conversation I had with Intuit Chief Architect Alex Balazs, we discussed the misperception that workplace diversity is tokenism and how that continues to be one of the biggest hurdles that workplace diversity advocates need to address.  

Unfortunately, too many key stakeholders and decision-makers still view diversity initiatives as compliance and quota-driven initiatives that don’t bear a business ROI. This dynamic continues to not only act as a barrier to advancing diverse professionals up the corporate ladder but also to unfairly limit the success and credibility of diverse professionals who are fortunate enough to advance past a certain level.  

Diversity advocates need to increasingly ramp up their efforts to combat this narrative and getting non-diverse leadership figures increasingly joining these efforts will be vital to their success. The sooner we can tackle this obstacle with the help of our non-diverse leaders, the sooner we can build equitable workplaces that effectively connect the right talent with the right professional opportunity, regardless of gender and race. 

Understanding that sponsorship is vital to workplace diversity 

Research continues to highlight the importance of sponsorship as it relates to career advancement and shows that diverse professionals continue to not receive the same level of professional sponsorship as others. We need our majority group leaders to become more inclusive if we are to achieve equal sponsorship in our workplaces. Without equal sponsorship, companies will continue to miss the mark in placing the right talent with the right job opportunity. The result of failing to do so is squandered innovation and, eventually, mass attrition.  

Empowering diverse professionals with sponsors is not a compliance issue, it is a business imperative. All leaders, but especially those who are members of a majority demographic group, need to take it upon themselves to build relationships with ALL the members on their teams to best understand their talents and connect them with the right opportunities.  

Being the ‘White Guy’ advocate 

As a member of a majority group, the first step to being a positive advocate for your diverse colleagues is to take a step back and listen. Majority-group individuals can best empower their diverse colleagues by augmenting their voices. Many well-intentioned allies start off passionately advocating for workplace diversity, but in doing so may unintentionally take the focus and voice away from their diverse colleagues. By nature, non-diverse leaders are inherently less qualified to speak on workplace diversity. However, they are often far more equipped to empower it by elevating the voice of those who might not have as significant a platform. Sometimes the best way to help is to do less and listen more! 

Putting It All Together 

At the end of it all, our role as change agents in the workplace is to create a culture that gives everyone an equal voice, so diverse professionals are empowered to take their careers into their own hands in ways that traditionally have not existed for them. Members of majority demographics continue to hold the preponderance of stakeholder and decision-making positions in most workplaces. Without their sponsorship of workplace diversity, our internal workplace cultures will continue to limit diverse professionals and squander innovation indefinitely.  

happy-workplace-chester-elton-denise-hummel

What’s Next?

There are a few things we can all do to be better advocates of workplace diversity. We can start by understanding the business benefits of Diversity and Inclusion as a tool for advocacy. Secondly, we can engage in healthy conversations around the topic in our workplaces and beyond. And lastly, we can all focus on how we can best create and nurture professional relationships between diverse and non-diverse professionals that enable collective success. What will you do to bolster diversity and inclusion in your workplace? Sound off below in the comment section and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.  


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.

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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.

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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.

 

Navigating our Busy Workdays to Effectively Embed Inclusive Leadership

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In a recent webinar (you can access the recording here), we discussed the 5 key areas to embed inclusive leadership within a company culture. The dictionary defines the word embed as “to enclose closely in or as if in a matrix” or, “to make something an integral part of”. No word better describes the relationship between inclusion and leadership behavior as a driver of culture change. Inclusion that is not embedded will not sustain and, in turn, will fail to impact companies’ ability to attract talent and innovate at the highest level. Being able to “embed” anything is no small task, and doing so while navigating the complexities of team culture, and individuals’ daily lives make it that much more daunting of a proposition.

With that said, research and technology have allowed us to pinpoint the key areas we can embed behavior and culture change that will change workplaces in a way that even the most inspirational one-off training can’t. Here are the key areas that present the greatest opportunity to embed an inclusive culture within teams on a daily basis.

The 5 key areas to Embed Inclusive Leadership

 

Inclusion Virtual Coach App - Lead Inclusively

Meetings

Meetings are one of the best opportunities for a leader to embed inclusion on their teams. Events like these allow leaders the opportunity to lead by example which permeates culture change throughout teams and companies. They are also great ways to enlist input from team members and facilitate idea-sharing that catalyzes innovation.

Hiring

Hiring is the critical area where leaders can build and embed an inclusive culture from the ground up. But most leaders (by no fault of their own) do not know that inclusion is vital to mitigating unconscious biases that impact their ability to objectively and effectively hire the right people for the right position. Failing to do so, sets new hires up for failure and leaves teams vulnerable to attrition.

Performance Management

Leaders must be able to analyze performance with an awareness of their personal biases and the cognitive diversity of their team members. Being able to evaluate and manage performance inclusively is a vital skill that sets team members up for success and establishes trust which benefits the overall team.

Team Development

Stretch assignments, mentoring, succession planning. All of these (and more) are great opportunities for leaders to grow their team members’ skills, advance their careers, and build better relationships. But does a leader know how to objectively and effectively delegate tasks? Do they know how to facilitate and grow valuable mentoring relationships? How do they go about choosing and preparing the right candidate for their succession plan? Do they know how to build team chemistry in a way that is inclusive and truly fosters ideation?

Strategy and Planning

A leaders’ ability to use inclusion to craft the right strategy sets the table for how they manage and evaluate their teams going forward. Leaders need to be trained in the art of crafting a strategy that addresses the nuances of team culture as it relates to overall success. They also stand to benefit by better synthesizing the “big picture” to mitigate biases and involve their team in strategic planning. This sets the table for a team that is focused and bought-in to a collective vision of success.

But how we harness these areas to sustain impactful culture change?

To be able to harness these areas to the benefit of their team culture and productivity, leaders will be challenged to apply the right focuses and behaviors at the right time during their daily workdays. But how can we expect leaders to remember these behaviors and instinctually recognize moments to apply them during their busy personal and professional lives? Technology has not only allowed us to recognize these five focus areas, but it allows us to deliver the necessary training to leaders at the exact times they will need it most.

So where is your current training successful (or not) in equipping leaders to harness these 5 areas to embed inclusive leadership and foster a culture that is more inclusive and productive? Join any of these virtual-live Q&As for a more in-depth discussion.

Diversity and Inclusion Coaching


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.

 

 

Instagram Resume Bias

Do ‘Instagram-Ready’ Resumes Incite Resume Bias? I’m Conflicted

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You may be following the trend of ‘Instagram-Ready’ resumes being a “thing.” I wasn’t even aware of it until it was brought to my attention by my staff.  I recently found myself fascinated by the emergence of ‘Instagram-Ready’ resumes and the intriguing debate around whether this emerging trend is inherently inciting resume bias. To be completely honest, both sides of the debate bring up extremely valid points that directly tie into the Diversity and Inclusion space. So, do ‘Instagram-ready’ resumes incite bias? To be frank, I am conflicted. Let me dive into why.  

 Why this is happening 

With Gen-Z and young Millennials increasingly entering the workplace, we are seeing an increase in emphasis on “attention-grabbing” and “differentiation” as primary tactics being used by young professionals to stand out in a competitive job market. This is most-commonly manifesting in candidates leveraging their tech-savvy design skills to boost the potential appeal of their resumes. But does this take out the objectivity of a hiring process? 

 Why I support it (empowering young professionals) 

Firstly, with two sons who are Millennial/Gen-Z, I feel a certain connection to this issue. Naturally, I want my sons to be set up to compete in their respective job-markets so this topic (regardless of your stance) has a direct impact on them and the millions of young professionals like them.  

As it relates to my work in Diversity and Inclusion as a mechanism to empower individuals, and subsequently, teams, I argue this issue also has direct implications. My team always talks about how important it is that we should celebrate individuality and empower people to embrace the best version of themselves. If companies aren’t doing that, they aren’t being ‘inclusive’ of these professional’s individual genius. We also encourage rewarding and recognizing effort and achievement in the workplace. While resumes don’t directly fall under this scope, shouldn’t we reward a well-crafted resume? 

 Why I am against it (potential resume bias) 

To be frank, these kinds of resumes do objectively open the door to potential hiring bias. If the job application involves someone versed in some aspect of biotech, for example, whether they have mastered the art of presenting a visually appealing resume is highly irrelevant to the essential qualifications of that biotech job and could keep qualified candidates out.   I always teach that companies need to be objective in their hiring and that they must work proactively to eliminate any room for bias in every aspect of their culture and processes. When some ask, “why does a headshot matter?”, for example, it’s hard for me to ignore their objections. It clearly does matter because it brings focus to appearance, age, race, and gender, which, at a minimum, is a distraction from the actual “facts” of the person’s competence as set forth in their (hopefully accurate) resume. 

 

Diversity and Inclusion Coaching

 

All-in-all I feel that as we continue to work to create more inclusive workplaces and a more inclusive world, the impacts of bias will continue to dissipate. Its hard for me to discourage young professionals from embracing their individuality and going above and beyond in any aspect of their professional lives. Maybe our world needs to catch up to the future in this regard and find ways to encourage this trend while also negating the manifestations of resume bias (and bias of all kinds). Regardless, this debate is fascinating and ongoing.  

Workplace diversity and a culture of Inclusion transforms the way companies think and perform. Our ability as organizations and society, to enable professionals to be the best version of themselves will be crucial in dictating success. What are your thoughts? Does this trend incite resume bias? Leave a comment below or join the discussion at one of our live events.


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.

 

Your Leadership Development Program Fails When These Obstacles aren’t Overcome.

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Company leaders are uniquely equipped to bridge the gap between employee demands and company demands. As a result, companies can transform their culture, recruit and retain the best talent, mitigate risk, and foster overall innovation which affects the bottom line. This potential has put new-found emphasis and pressure on leadership training and a leadership development program that focuses on inclusion. However, if companies do not address certain obstacles, they WILL fail.

The right focus for your Leadership Development Program

The topic of organizational culture and leadership is extremely complex. Without being able to focus strategy and training, you risk overwhelming leaders and diluting the overall message you are sending throughout your organization. A clear methodology, with the right mix of focus and freedom, is an important first step. Inclusion is the focus area that has the right mix and targets intended outcomes in talent and productivity.

Training at scale

Not all organizations, departments or teams are the same, but having a focused training strategy is pointless if you can’t deploy it at a company-wide scale. Your company does not achieve its intended outcomes if training does not reach/impact all departments, teams, and individuals within a company. This is more relevant for larger companies, but it also applies to organizations of all sizes. Thankfully, technology is providing new opportunities for organizations to train effectively at scale.

Manager Schedule - Lead Inclusively

Day-to-day application

It seems like just about everyone in 2019 has a busy professional and personal life. It is easy to understand how leaders might find it difficult to remember and apply their training days, not to mention in a way that makes an impact. Finding new ways to reach develop leaders with more timely, consistent and relevant training will be the most important hurdle to achieving future results. Most people will forget more than 80% of what they just heard and learned within 24 hours. No one learns anything that sticks forever in just one session.

Business Impact of Diversity and Inclusion

Winning over detractors

Even if your organization has a new focus for its leadership training and a means of deploying this training at scale, results won’t happen without the right internal stakeholders’ buy-in. If your company’s top leaders don’t show belief in company training, then the overall workforce cannot follow. Getting the right buy-in is arguably the most crucial step to start with.

Focus on the human side (avoid pushing compliance)

If leadership training comes off as just another compliance tool, you will risk reducing buy-in and subsequent impact. Diversity and inclusion can sometimes be confused with compliance. Developing inclusive leaders breeds better leaders who are happier and more effective in their jobs. Empowering well-intentioned leaders to be better requires meaningful training on inclusion, providing leaders the tools to empower their teams to perform their best.

At the end of the day, the work of diversity and inclusion is aimed at building better workplaces and happier employees. Leadership is the intersection where companies can impact all the complexities that play into making better workplaces. Giving leaders the tools to empower themselves and their teams is a powerful way to change the workplace. It’s important to deepen these discussions whenever possible. Feel free to join our complimentary virtual events as a great way to further dialogue and grow in a community of thought-leadership. We would love to host your insights and answer your questions at my upcoming Q&A Roundtable.

Diversity and Inclusion - Denise Hummel

Diversity and Inclusion Issues

The 4 Most Important Diversity and Inclusion Issues in 2019

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In a recent roundtable event comprised of professionals in D&I, HR, Talent, Consulting, and Coaching. We had the opportunity to learn more about the pressing issues many people in the realm of Diversity and Inclusion are experiencing on a regular basis. Having now hosted 5 of these events, we wanted to share our 4 most important Diversity and Inclusion issues, and give a brief summary of the discussions that has revolved around them.  

   

We know Inclusion is tied to innovation, but how do we measure innovation? 

Most define innovation along the lines of an organization’s capacity to capture new market share, create new products/services and develop ahead of its competition in order to take or maintain a primary position within its industry. However, it is also important to identify a component of “idea sharing” related to innovation and a culture that fosters innovation. Employee engagement is a great place to start in measuring the early framework for innovation. This article goes into more detail regarding the impacts and measures of innovation.  

How can we advocate for practices that promote diverse hiring? 

Many companies haven’t yet realized that unconscious bias can creep into talent processes, from hiring to advancement in several ways. We’ve seen job listings that were almost tailormade to invite bias. It’s unintentional but happens so easily. While many companies do unconscious bias training in the context of day-to-day leadership practices, many don’t apply this training to the context of hiring. One benefit of bringing in an unbiased third-party like Lead Inclusively to do an assessment is that the third party can quickly see opportunities like this, which internal employees have often simply adapted to. 

Business results from diversity and inclusion

How do we achieve buy-in to Diversity and Inclusion within our organizations? 

A company seeking to embrace the benefits of diversity and inclusion will have limited success without buy-in from leaders at the top of the organization. However, despite best intentions, most leaders simply have not been trained to recognize or cultivate a truly inclusive leadership style. This lack of training can inadvertently stifle innovation and creativity in their teams. In most cases, the first step to buy-in can be to present the ample, but relatively unknown, research that highlights the correlation between inclusive culture and innovation. Many firms now also have resources strategically aimed at helping professionals get buy-in from key decision-makers.  

How can transparency and authenticity impact our leadership cultures?  

In Diversity and Inclusion, transparency is the first step for leaders (ALL leaders) to build self-awareness of their own biases. A transparent, self-aware leader is more effective at navigating their biases. Leaders that effectively master this are more practical decision-makers, more authentic communicators, and more effective team-builders. Ultimately, studies show that inclusive leadership creates the most productive, engaged teams in the world.   

Diversity and Inclusion Events

To say these conversations have been invaluable to me would be an understatement. If you are interested in joining the conversation, it would be a pleasure to host you and your thought-leadership during our next event 

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.

Lead Inclusively

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

Join the conversation to go more in-depth on the topic of organizational culture and culture transformation our open Q&A sessions and quarterly webinars 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.What are some other common leadership shortcomings that can damage organizational culture, employee engagement, and overall performance?  

Business Impact of Diversity and Inclusion

Culture is extremely complex, but also absolutely instrumental in changing the way your talent, and teams perform over time. Download our White Paper to see how inclusive leadership can be THE catalyst for a healthy organizational culture that drives employee engagement, retention, advancement, and team performance 

 You are also welcome to join the discussion live to share your experiences and crowd-source solutions during our upcoming Open 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.

 

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. In 2019, an inclusion culture drives innovation.

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 open Q&A sessions and webinars to join a more in-depth discussion to share your insights and crowd-source solutions to your ongoing challenges.

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.

inclusion and innovation - 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. Companies need to leverage their leaders to create a culture that fosters inclusion and innovation on their teams.

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 positive 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 in 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. 

Join the conversation with a global expert, Denise Hummel, and other professionals in the space during our upcoming open Q&A sessions. Share your insights and crowd-source solutions to your ongoing challenges with our team and other professionals in the space.


 

Stats to support california mandate for women on boards

Why Women Shouldn’t Apologize for the California Mandate for Women on Boards

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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. Here is my opinion on this California mandate for women on boards. 

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 criterion, not as criteria that substitute for competence. There are thousands of qualified female board members and the more parity at the 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

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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.

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