Original article by Glenn Llopis can be found on Forbes.
With all of the uncertainty in the workplace and marketplace, how do we solve for it? Is it a new strategic plan, more consultants, new leaders, partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, cultural transformation . . . ? I have spoken to over 40 executives and organizations in the past quarter and all of these were topics discussed but there was no common denominator, except one: They all want to be less dependent on their employees to deal with the uncertainty. They don’t seem to have the confidence they once did in their people given the unusual speed of change. They would rather find other ways to multiply resources or leverage existing assets into new lines of business. Anything but rely more on their people.
That seems odd when you consider that companies will be increasingly dependent on those people once they acquire a company, forge new partnerships and/or reinvent themselves. While artificial intelligence, automation, and new efficiencies are attempting to replace people, human capital is still a crucial component in helping organizations get out in front of the change and uncertainty. The need to maximize the utilization of human capital is at an all-time high. What these companies and leaders fail to see is that their mismanagement of people – and their ineffective deployment of human capital – created all of the uncertainty to begin with. They created the “people problem” they refuse to be dependent on to solve!
Here are four burning issues to prove this point:
- Speed of Change and Transformation: Transformation is a buzzword for becoming relevant again. Yet the reason organizations are in transformation mode is they are trying to learn how to serve more informed individuals: employees in the workplace and consumers in the marketplace. These are the same individuals they refuse to include in solving for uncertainty. Until they do, the uncertainty will multiply, and more informed individuals will continue to lose trust in their leaders and the organizations they serve.
- The Old Ways of Doing Things Don’t Work: Uncertainty has reached new heights because leaders and organizations are realizing that the old ways of doing things no longer apply. The predictability models of the past just don’t work anymore. Yet companies continue to tell people what to do inside the box they are given instead of allowing those people to influence more by creating an environment where the box no longer exists.
- Silos Are Widening: Companies still define their people’s capabilities and aptitudes based on their job titles and descriptions. The reality is that leaders and their organizations don’t know who their people truly are and how they can best contribute. As a result, those people are operating in widening silos because their leaders are creating environments of disconnected thinking that is creating confusion and further cultivating uncertainty.
- Leaders Aren’t Listening: Though leaders will tell you that they do listen, they are not paying close enough attention nor taking action on what their employees are telling them. Because leaders are uncomfortable hearing the truth and admitting that they don’t have all the answers. As a result, they are completely out of touch with the new realities of the workplace and the marketplace, which contributes to the uncertainty and puts their organizations at risk.
All these burning issues perpetuate uncertainty, but the more significant consequence is that companies and their leaders have been solving for the wrong opportunities for years because they underutilize their human capital. How can leaders and organizations solve for the right opportunities when they don’t know what their own people solve for? Is it any wonder their people just do what they’re told? They have no influence, so they have no reason to act and help solve for the uncertainty.
So what’s the secret to overcoming this uncertainty? The ability to operationalize and lead INCLUSION as a growth strategy.
Inclusion is a system for making sure organizations are welcoming at every level to every individual. Inclusion is about diversity of thought – about finding like-mindedness in our differences. Inclusion is not about diversity because diversity doesn’t solve for inclusion. In fact, inclusion solves for diversity, and today’s new realities in the workplace and marketplace allow inclusion to solve for much more. This is why we need to think about inclusion as a way to maximize an organization’s intellectual and human capital, its leaders’ and employees’ full potential.
Here are six outcomes inclusion immediately brings to an organization that is attempting to overcome growing uncertainty in the workplace and marketplace:
- Culture and Purpose: Corporate cultures and teams find like-mindedness in differences not forced assimilation.
- Individuality and Belonging: Individuals define the business guided by leaders who create teams of individuals that function together as part of a healthy whole.
- Values and Beliefs: People no longer feel that permission is required to live their values and core beliefs and encourage others to do the same.
- Trust and Engagement: Leaders who go beyond engagement to rebuild trust to maximize organizational and people potential to drive growth.
- Impact and Influence: A shift from assimilation and victimization to authenticity and allowing employees to influence of the future.
- Growth and Evolution: Leaders and employees who are clear about what they solve for and how they influence the future of the organization.
These six things ultimately allow you to solve for the right opportunities. Opportunities in the workplace and marketplace that have been previously unseen.
Simply put, inclusion is the last remaining true growth opportunity. But to see and seize this opportunity you must move inclusion away from diversity and human resources – and place it where growth lies: corporate strategy. Inclusion is all about letting the individual touch the business, influence more and help the organization mitigate risk and neutralize uncertainty. Inclusion is about creating interdependency on people and their unique experiences and capabilities. It is about fostering environments in which leaders can best see, sow, grow and share opportunities for the betterment of a healthier whole. Click here to measure your organization’s ability to lead inclusion as a growth strategy.
It’s time to diffuse uncertainty and make our organizations healthy again – from the inside out and the outside in – through inclusion. That’s how we breed a healthy mindset for and about people that propels innovation and initiative.