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The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams

By Stefanie K. Johnson, PhD
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Inclusify by Stefanie K. Johnson, PhD

Inclusify (2020) offers some valuable guidance for managers and CEOs who would like to increase the diversity of their workforce. Facts show that diversity is a powerful contributor to success on a variety of levels. Inclusify introduces the proven steps that the biggest and best businesses are taking to be more inclusive and more successful.

Key idea 1 of 8

Inclusivity is powerful, but to benefit we need to acknowledge and overcome our biases.

Have you ever worked for a place that made you feel invisible? A place where you had to hide certain aspects of your personality to fit in? Maybe you don’t like to drink alcohol and find sports boring, but you felt you had to pretend to enjoy these things in order to be a team player.

No one wants to feel like they don’t belong. Which is why inclusivity is so important – especially in the workplace. People do their best work when they feel like they’re a valued part of the organization. When they feel like they belong, they’re happier and more engaged.

What’s more, according to a 2013 Gallup study, the most engaged workers are as much as 21 percent more productive, and 22 percent more profitable.

But cultivating an inclusive workforce isn’t easy.

The key message here is: Inclusivity is powerful, but to benefit we need to acknowledge and overcome our biases.

Why is it hard to create a truly inclusive workplace? Well, one of the main reasons is that we all have biases that can get in the way.

Maintaining a sense of belonging among all your workers is full of pitfalls. Even dedicated CEOs with the best intentions have fallen short – often because of their own unconscious biases.

Think about it: when you conjure up the image of a powerful CEO in your mind, who do you see? If you’re like most people, you probably see a middle-aged white guy. When you think of a successful lawyer, who do you see? And when you think of a dangerous criminal, who comes to mind?

These are all biases that so many people have. And it’s completely normal. Through upbringing, experiences, and the stories all around us we all develop certain biases. This is a big reason why, as of early 2019, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs are women. It’s also why, in a study of American lawyers, 50 percent of women and 57 percent of women of color reported being mistaken for custodial or administrative staff.

So how can you avoid these biases and make lasting change that will make your workforce feel more engaged and more productive? You’ll find out in the blinks ahead.

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