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Knock, Knock. Let Diversity In.

July 13, 2020

It’s not about getting the smartest people in the room, it’s about getting the right people in the room.

2020 has been a crash course in adaptability. It’s shown we can be flexible and at the same time it’s pointed out our indignant resistance to change. Why is that? Why when it comes to taking a leap for the better, for progress, we are unable to open ourselves up to possibility? Because of three main reasons:

  • Lack (or perceived lack) of reward
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Loss of status and visibility in the organization 

We’re comfortable with the status quo. And when it comes to diversity and inclusion, we’ve become comfortable with who is in the room. They’re the smartest right? That’s what you do to solve problems. You get the smartest people in the room. 

No. That’s dumb. 

Diversity is where the majority should rule. Inclusion is where ideas from colorful perspectives paint a new way forward. We’ve been talking about diversity and inclusion for years. Years. And still it’s a hot topic that has seen progress, but many companies haven’t adapted the concept in a way that is authentic.

Rooms are still cluttered with a stale mix that doesn’t cut it and hallways are plastered with posters about “Diversity and Inclusion” but true inclusion involves a shift in thinking. If you want to be inclusive. If you genuinely want diverse perspectives, you have to open the door and invite in new views and new people. Leaders that have embraced getting the right mix of people in the room have seen the undeniable impact diverse teams have on driving innovation, creative problem solving, and accelerating performance. 

If you’re looking to shake up the room, start with creating a team that is diverse and include them. Dismantle the old exclusive guard and get out of the predictable comfort zone. Here are 3 things that happen when like minds aren’t thinking together and diversity and inclusion are synonymous and authentic: 

1. Empowerment:

Leaders who embrace diversity and inclusion have revolutionized entire industries by building trust and empowering their teams to share counter perspectives that create an authentic solution. Empowerment comes from the freedom to contribute and being included in the conversation.

2. Accountability:

Top down management breeds a chain of finger-pointing and distraction. When you lead horizontally and give your teams a stake in decision making, critical-thinking, and a place at the table, they invest in making it work. Accountability shouldn’t have to be forced. If your team is empowered, accountability naturally follows. 

3. Innovation:

Business is messy. Working with a team of colleagues that might have a counter-perspective where ideas are challenged, and thoughts vary from person to person is not easy, but the outcome will not be plastic. It will move your team, your business, and your bottom line forward. Diversity and inclusion are the catalyst for innovation and progress. 

So, how do you make a shift? Stop being afraid. Take a look at who is making decisions. Be mindful about who is invited in on the brainstorming session. Open the floor for diverse perspectives and include the right mix of people in the room. 

Marie Daniel Group is an integrated marketing firm focused on communication, brand development, and multi-channel marketing campaigns. Visit https://mariedanielgroup.com/ or call 877.634.2019 to connect. 

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