Leader “A” participates in diversity and inclusion training and initiatives, and then has to figure out how to shift her day-to-day practices to be more inclusive. Leader “B” experiences the same programs, but is also taught the “how”. Following the programs, a coach helps Leader B and her team learn how to work differently together in areas like: planning, conducting meetings, making decisions, solving problems, creating accountability, assigning work, giving feedback and staying in sync together. Leader B’s team works together decide how they want to work together going forward, how they will share responsibilities, and how to ensure that everyone involved feels valued, connected and free to be their best.
Leader B realizes that her team can work in new ways, make a bigger impact and have an environment where people are included and feel like they belong. Leader B does not live in a fantasy world, where this stuff is written about only in blogs. We’ve spent a lot of time helping leaders, teams and organizations work differently in finding new “how’s”. In a series of articles we’ll share some insight into these new “how’s” through practices like planning, meetings, learning, and decision making.
To date, most diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts exist as a separate initiative where team members and leaders learn some broad strategies for building new self awarenesses and how to apply mostly symbolic inclusive approaches to the workplace (recognition boards, inviting more people into decisions, creating buddy systems, etc).
At the same time we know that work has to change to keep up with the uncertainty and pace of change inherent in today’s economy. If done well, we can redesign work practices that include the best of D&I effort without being seen as “addition to” but “doing what we already need to differently and better.”
Much is being written about how work is changing. We know that people on teams will feel a more significant sense of belonging when they:
- Co-create a shared vision of the future
- Decide together what priorities to work on
- Share responsibility and ownership for how work gets done
- Recognize and share each others’ strengths
- Support authenticity by discovering and sharing each other’s “Why”
- Work transparently and collaboratively in person and with technology
Leaders and team members need help learning HOW to apply these principles to the work they are already doing. It would be like learning the principles of healthy eating, and being taught how to actually make healthy meals together. In a series of future posts, we’ll spend time in a few common practices showing how to grow inclusion, belonging and impact.
Check out our first “How” practice: Putting Inclusion to Work…The How for Strategic Planning