Inclusive Leadership – Part 4 of 4

Inclusive Cultures Enhance Performance

“No homogenous talent pool can be innovative. Diversity is essential!”

– Kathy Hannan, Natl.  Managing Partner, Diversity & Corporate Responsibility, KPMG LLP

Inclusive Culture in the Workplace

It’s not enough these days to market on your corporate website that your organization is inclusive and diverse, while your culture says something very different to your employees.  Demographics in the United States are changing rapidly.  Just meeting a diversity “quota” is insufficient today.  Successful organizations must use now include it in their global strategy. Potential employees and consumers see beyond superficial representations of diversity, which holds the key to unlocking growth and productivity for organizations.  In order to get there, however, one must begin with an inclusive environment.

CEOs: It Starts With YOU!

The first step to an inclusive culture starts with the CEO and his or her Executive Leadership Team.  Inclusive leadership teams are the ones that embrace and push an inclusive style of leadership down through the organization.  Going a step further, the inclusive team brushes aside their opinions or biases when dealing with people in the workplace because, according to a study on inclusive leadership from Deloitte, leaders are then able to “populate a broader field of vision by being more curious about diverse points of view.”

The Road to Inclusiveness Enhances Your Corporate Performance

Organizations that strive for inclusiveness and diversity need to know where to begin. It is not simply enough to have employees of diverse backgrounds represented in the workplace. One challenge for leaders is that they must take that next step to develop and empower employees with diverse values, opinions, and backgrounds into working as a collective body. Once this cohesive body of diverse people with distinct talents is built, organizations become inclusive, translating to improved corporate performance.

Another challenge is to keep the business’s overall outcome in mind. It’s easy for leaders to be caught up in developing their own and their teams’ behaviors while losing sight of why they are pursuing an inclusive environment. Deloitte (2012) on Inclusive Leadership suggests that “workplace culture and daily practices” must support the diverse people in the workplace. This means that altering and “incorporating the same principals into business as usual” to fit the inclusive culture will steer companies toward using diversity to their advantage.

Your Competitive Advantage

So how can diversity give your organization an advantage in the marketplace? An article from Berlitz’s Cultural Insight Series notes that practicing diversity and inclusion on a global scale allows for more effective talent management, more effective alignment and team performance, and improved efficiency,” ultimately putting inclusive teams ahead in the global marketplace. The world is more connected than ever.  Diverse teams will have the clear advantage in reaching out to customers all over the globe. Organizations must act fast to capture the essence of an inclusive culture. By promoting diversity and inclusive teams now, organizations will be at the forefront for the future.

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