Power of Inclusion– Don Quixote of Organizations: Inclusion is Not Panacea, But Not to Embrace It– is Delusional…

Often in business you hear the word ‘inclusion’ used in context of creating opportunities for all who desire to participate. When many people think of inclusion they focus on the organizational culture, behaviors, and practices that allow everyone to feel included in the quest to create success…

Moreover, when an organization embraces the development of an inclusive culture where everyone is valued, then the practical consequence is that the business is better positioned for long-term sustainability… and an organization is much more likely to retain and attract top talent… But, What does inclusion look like? Inclusion is sharing ideas from all perspectives, it’s people working together despite differences to create success for common cause, its creation of culture where differences of thought and opinions are embraced with enthusiasm and celebrated…

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Then, What does inclusion ‘not’ look like? Inclusion is not about creating the ‘delusion’ that everyone will always get along, it’s not about pretending to agree for the sake of avoiding conflict, it’s not about ignoring the cultural, gender… differences that may exist… From mankind’s earliest days, human beings have a fundamental need to belong, so it’s important to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected, with equal access to same levels of opportunity. That’s because individuals who feel part of a group tend to perform better and collaborate more.

According to Miller and Katz; inclusion is a sense of belonging, feeling respected, valued for who you are; feeling a level of supportive energy and commitment from others, so you can be the best you can be... Research has shown that inclusion results in– reduced turnover, greater altruism, more team engagement, plus you are more likely to share information, and participate in decision-making… According to Christine M. Riordan; when teams are all-inclusive they tend to work more collaboratively, and that makes good things happen– more ideas, improved morale, better outcomes…

In the book, Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage by Shirley Engelmeier writes: Inclusion is a call to action within the workforce and that means actively involving every employee’s– ideas, knowledge, perspective, experiences, approach, and style to maximize business performance– It matters; because there are certain realities of global business that make inclusion an important competitive advantage…

Organizations needs to be prepared to engage the global community on their terms, which means expanding your organization’s knowledge base with employees who understand the different cultures, behaviors, preferences… also, domestic demographics are rapidly changing with far greater diversity in the population...

Hence, organizations must embrace and create authentic inclusive initiatives that provide for fair and uninhibited opportunities for all employees, such that; they all can contribute, achieve… to best of their abilities… Remember, an inclusive organizations cultivates ‘differences’, and these differences are x-factors that produce higher productivity, greater employee retention, more innovation.

According to Martin Ruef, in study of 766 graduates from Stanford Business School analyzed the social and business relations, found– that the entrepreneurs with the most diverse friendships scored three times higher on the metric of innovation, proving that pooling, inclusion, together with diverse ideas drives; more, better, best innovation…

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In the article Creating Inclusive Corporate Culture by Lindsay Walker writes: Diversity allows companies to better understand the needs of its customers, helping design and create products to suit a variety of different preferences… To properly manage diversity, companies need to focus on creating an ‘inclusive’ cultures. An inclusive culture takes time but once achieved it helps companies manage future conflict in response to changes in the workplace…

Inclusion is where organizations can quiet cultural discord… A successfully inclusive company institutes an inclusion initiative to remove the shortfalls of conscious or subconscious bias to make a company a better meritocracy.  Inclusion allows companies to attract a wider range of qualified employees, thus through their influence attract a wide range of customers… increasingly employees’ are making employment decisions based on an organization’s culture, reputation, and level of inclusiveness in decision-making.

The article ‘The Ethics of Inclusion: Three Common Delusions’ sheds light on the real challenge of inclusion, and states– to find ‘common cause’ for work is very important, and this cannot be done effectively if employees isolate themselves from each another based on differences such as; race, culture, nationality, gender, ability, personality… Inclusion does not mean that an employee has to like everyone they work with, but they must still respect the opinions of fellow employees…

Developing an ‘inclusive’ culture requires effort from every member within an organization… Most important, ‘inclusion’ must be high priority for an organization (not just tag-line), it must have  with a specific statement defining its policy, goal as it relates to ‘inclusion’… these should be displayed prominently in documents, websites…

In the article Why Employee Inclusion May Matter More Than Employee Performance by Peter Crosby writes: Most leaders like to think of their organization as an ‘inclusive’ family of friendly, welcoming folks who smile all the time, hold hands, whistle happily, and work together like a well-oiled machine… However, this inclusion delusion is far from the truth in most organizations. In the real world, many organizations typically splinter into smaller groups who purposely excluding others who are not exactly like them, and they inevitably devolve into a wall of exclusion

Walls of exclusion are bad for business because they are the human version of system silos, and often these little fiefdoms are created by ambitious, bias, self-centered people seeking to increase their own control, authority… These ‘walls of exclusion’ prevent the seamless transfer of information, which is necessary for workers to achieve their very best… and worse yet these walls can fester into major issues for an organization…

According to Marie Mitchell; excluded workers sometimes begin behaving unethically, unproductive in a misguided attempt to ingratiate themselves… Exclusion is a cancer, and it has a huge negative effect on an organization…

In the article The Ethics of Inclusion: Three Common Delusions by John O’Brien, Marsha Forest, Jack Pearpoint, Shafik Asante, Judith Snow write: Here are three common delusions about inclusion:

  • Delusion 1: Inclusion means that everybody must love everybody else or ‘We must all be one big happy family’ (OBHF)…The ‘one big happy family’ (OBHF) delusion is the exact opposite of inclusion. The real challenge of ‘inclusion’ is to find common cause for important work that cannot be done effectively if you isolate yourselves from one another along the many differences of race, culture, nationality, gender, class, ability, personality… that truly do divide…
  • Delusion 2: Inclusion means everyone must always be happy and satisfied or ‘inclusion cures all ills’… The delusion that Inclusion equals happiness leads to its opposite: a pseudo-community in which people who are disagreeable or suffering have no place unless the group has the magic to cure them… This delusion creates disappointment that ‘inclusion’ is not the panacea…
  • Delusion 3: Inclusion is the same as friendship or– We are really all the same…  The question at the root of ‘inclusion’ is not– Can’t we be friends? but– Can we all just learn to get along– to live with one another? We can’t get along if we simply avoid others who are different and include only those with who you feel comfortable and similar… The delusion of sameness leads away from the values of inclusion.

Companies must put in place key initiatives to meet the changing workforce: First, it must create a culture of inclusion that is implemented enterprise-wide, which means that every voice is an important voice and must be respected… a workplace is melting pot of cultures, and organizations must acknowledge the uniqueness of its employees… Second, it must celebrate the best ideas from where-ever, who-ever they may originate in the organization… praise the ideas that came from the ‘ranks’ just as much as those that come from the ‘rafters’…

According to Deborah Chambers Chima; it’s leadership’s responsibility to create a culture where different thoughts from different employees openly shared and opportunities are provided for all people to contribute and achieve to the best of their ability… Great leaders understand that organizations must embrace– all people, all places, all ways, and all the things that makes people different…

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According to T. Hudson Jordan; organizations must have both diversity and inclusion to be successful… Many organizations lack a complete understanding of the full potential of a diverse and inclusive workforce as a business imperative. While many organizations appreciate inclusion, very few actually embraced inclusion as an important business priority for the organization… Inclusion is a competitive imperative; it enhances an organization’s ability to achieve superior business results…

We live in a world that emphasizes– realistic expectations, clear success; and according to James March; Don Quixote had neither… But through failure after failure he persisted in his vision and his commitment; he persisted because he knew who he was. Don Quixote is heroic figure for many people nowadays; he was a dreamer who fought against great odds, he remained faithful to his noble goals… Don Quixote had courage to see things as they should be, and who believed that nothing is impossible…