Diversity and Inclusion – these two cannot be ignored at all - at least not in the modern-day business environment. They undeniably form the foundational frameworks for today’s organisational governance and are at the core of modern world workplace conversations. They could easily pass as the “superhero traits” in current contexts that define organisational success for the larger part. And I couldn’t agree more!
We all know that for inclusion to form part of the conversation, there must be diversity. This means diversity is quickly being acknowledged, by organisations globally, as the new frontier in talent management, workforce retention and risk management. Nurturing diversity has proven to set apart successful organisations in modern business frameworks. It is therefore critical that today’s leaders leverage the diversity of their workforce to harness the value of their varied contributions and channel these to good use in growing their businesses. To achieve these, leaders need to unlock the value of diversity in their workplaces. But how? Come, let’s reason together!
To unlock the value of diversity, it’s key that organisations know how to source and frontier leaders who have the capacity, passion, drive and skillset to create diverse and inclusive cultures. One cannot emphasise just how critical it is to nurture diversity within – it’s a win-win situation! The employer and employee both garner immense benefits! The writing is on every wall of successful organisations, really that there is value in diversity! It’s irrefutable.
“The full potential of diversity can only be realized when all members of an organization feel included, that they belong and that they are respected for who they are and what they offer.” These are the inspirational words of a renowned Yale and Stanford University professor, Geoffrey Garrett, in one of the most in-depth articles he wrote in 2018 as a contribution to the voice of diversity World Economic Forum. We see well known, global organizations such as McKinsey & Company, the Royal Society, New York Times, ResearchGate, and many others, devoting massive resources to ongoing research on diversity. These research outcomes are being used by uncountable businesses to identify and unlock the value of diversity. This is how invaluably important this topic is to business today.
One of the ways inclusive leadership unlock the value of diversity is by actively contributing to enhanced collaboration within and outside their teams. In doing this, they leverage broad, distinctive skillsets and contributions from each team member and infuse these into organisational growth processes. This, on the other hand, provides employees with the opportunity and power to make higher-quality decisions, produce innovative ideas and outperform otherwise siloed counterparts. Besides, teams who feel included become more agile, are more effective communicators, collaborate better and wider, and are more than ready to disrupt, transform, and keep a keen focus on the future of the organisation, and themselves.
At the core of organisational success stories are inclusive leaders who have a passion for creating an inclusive culture where its people become the definitive, sustainable competitive advantage! By encouraging every team member to play a part in defining solutions, organisations drive performance upward. It is, however, disheartening to realize that organisations that fail to take advantage of the diversity in their workforce, lose the value of the untapped innovativeness and efficiency that would otherwise define their success.
Inopportunely, some organisations still believe that their success is entirely defined by; having the right doze of service delivery, the right products and offerings to their clients, the latest and best technology, or even the ability to define top-tier strategies. I agree, these do matter, so I am on the side of those organisations on this. However, the inability to nurture an inclusive workplace environment consequently leads to lost opportunities to maximise the value of the employees’ diverse contribution and input. At the root of success, is every employee’s diverse, broad value creation and contribution to the shared vision.
In today’s world, it’s unquestionably evident that intentional and gradual diversity nurturing actions do produce incremental results. Let’s agree on this one, there is a huge need for systemic and cultural nurturing around diversity and inclusion. I encourage all-inclusive leaders always to break the ceiling, never to settle for the low-hanging fruit, but to stretch themselves and their organisations to intentionally nurture diversity, and the value achievable would be invaluable!
“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their colour.” ~ Maya Angelou.
“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” ~ Stephen R. Covey.