Interest is growing across the world in the area of diversity and inclusion (D & I). There is a shift taking place where D & I in organisations is moving from compliance to becoming a business strategy.
Diversity describes the state is present, where there is a wide range or mixture of difference within the organisational workforce. This includes gender, ethnicity, age, disability and sexuality, life experiences, personality. We are diverse and unique, each and every one of us. Each one of us will identify with one or more of these categories. Diversity is great for organisions, ONLY if organisations begin to develop intentional strategies to become inclusive. Inclusion is what draws diversity together – diverse voices, thoughts and opinions can be woven together into an environment or culture where there is genuine respect and mutual trust. Inclusion needs to be cultivated and developed intentionally.
Building inclusive teams and organisations takes transformational or inclusive leadership. Leaders need to ask questions about what practices, policies and decisions can we make to grow and foster a culture where everyone’s values, beliefs, experience, capability and talents are welcomed.
Leaders that create an environment where individuals in teams can learn to understand and work closer together, in spite of the differences ensure that inclusion is being cultivated. From stereotypes to individuals, when the layers that shape our identity are peeled off, we can learn to communicate and interact in a deeper way. Making a choice to intentionally cultivate attitudes, skills and behaviours that can equip and enable us to understand others, it becomes a journey of becoming intercultural and inclusive.
Just as the different coloured mosiacs on the stained glass window has it’s place, it is the combined picture that brings a greater vision and image – a breath taking piece of artwork!
This blog seeks to explore what does it look like to develop inclusive practices and cultures in today’s superdiverse world. It seeks to look at practical ways individuals, leaders and organisations can take to begin this journey.. and what cultural intelligent solutions can be used to bring about the transformation.