Welcome to Insights and Implications!
This month we are addressing a topic of great interest to leaders in companies all over the globe. Read on for our take on diversity and inclusion.
We also want to make you aware of a new resource. Our teacher and mentor, the late Syd Banks, left behind books and recordings to help us on our learning journey. Free downloads of some early recordings are now available on the website sydbanks.com
All the best,
All of us at Insight Principles
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are CEO-level concerns at most companies. Top leaders want a diverse and inclusive workforce, and not just because it’s the right thing to do. Research shows that workforces with these qualities are more innovative and attract the best and brightest talent.
Companies often start by creating diversity and inclusion initiatives, typically headed by HR. While these initiatives are a good place to start, they are by no means the ultimate answer. Companies can make broad policy changes or statistically “check the box” by focusing on diversity recruitment, but these actions do not necessarily lead to a more inclusive culture.
Back in the 90’s, I was nominated to join a Rotary Club that had been all-male for over 75 years. The final vote to include women was close, but I was admitted along with two other women. I got in, but was I included?
Not at first. I had to make a concerted effort to become part of the club. I joined the softball team (luckily, I could play softball so I was welcomed on the team). I attended all the social events and introduced myself to as many members as I could. At our luncheon meetings, I purposely sat with members who voted against admitting women. I listened to their stories and got to know them.
Of course, many members went out of their way to welcome me and to learn more about me. But I could tell that some never fully accepted women.
I share this story because companies and organization often mandate diversity and inclusion, but real change is a matter of hearts and minds. We can’t change behavior until we change thinking. Behavior is the last car on the train. Thinking is the engine.
Are there things leaders can do to spread diversity and inclusion in the work setting? Yes. But your understanding of how the mind works will aid you in doing these things genuinely (and not as a behavioral checklist).
Inside – Out: You remember that the human mind works only one way crafting the reality you see, the feelings you feel, and your behaviors from the inside-out. You are limited by conditioned beliefs and prior experiences only because your habitual thinking prevents you from including what doesn’t fit the mold of your usual picture of the world.
Insight: A moment of insight or new thought opens you up to see beyond habitual thinking. The human mind is designed to have insights – change is always possible. When you or your employees have insights about diversity and inclusion, you can really move the needle.
Separate Realities: When you understand how the mind works, you know and can easily see that everyone lives in a separate reality. It therefore makes sense to listen and learn about others, to be curious.
The Power of Thought: When you remember the speed and completeness of the reality-creating power of thought, you find yourself in a state of natural humility and open to alternate views and contributions.
Design for Success: As your understanding of the mind’s brilliant design deepens, you appreciate that all human beings operate with the same equipment. A keen interest in the wisdom of others naturally arises. You want to ask questions and invite diversity of thought.
In your most natural state of peace, qualities such as openness, respect, clarity, and a sense of connection or oneness emerge. In this natural state, you become aware of the value of differences.
Diversity and inclusion won’t be items to add to your leadership to-do list when you understand how the mind works – you will do them naturally. You will still have blind spots, but you will remember where to look to find more clarity.
– Sandy Krot