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The Keys To Inclusion and Innovation

Don’t think of a giraffe. And yet everyone has just thought of a giraffe. It’s hard to tell the mind what not to do. Consider downhill skiing for a moment. I asked an experienced skier, how do you navigate through all those trees without hitting one? And they told me I don’t focus on the trees; I focus on the path. If I focus on the trees, I’ll hit them every time. People want to start to create a more diverse and inclusive organization… but all they can see are the trees; What will people think? What if I say something wrong? Where do I start? What if I don’t have enough knowledge? If I stay quiet, then I cant get it wrong. There are so many things to look at, and we fear hitting the trees for the damage it could do. So we look at the whole forest and step back into safety, and we stay right where we are. You see, when we focus on those trees, it is tough to see the path, but what if we focus on the opportunity? The possibility?The path? When people feel valued and engaged it is easier to see innovative and inclusive solutions and pathways. When people feel safe, they communicate more clearly and kindly in their workplace, improving their mental well-being. When there are diverse people with different perspectives, understanding, and experience at the table revenue increases. In an inclusive workspace, people stay longer and work to their potential. But it isn’t easy to follow the path or create new paths forward because when we are worried about hitting the trees we often avoid the journey altogether. Business and education leaders tell us this “we don’t know where to start and we are afraid of what lies ahead.” I can give you so many statistics that tell you the importance and results of inclusion, but when was the last time you changed your behavior because of a statistic? Experience is the best evidence. As we return, reinvent and rebuild, it is essential to create a foundation where everyone can feel capable and valued enough to navigate new forests. When you are ready to find your organization’s path through the trees, I am here to advise and support you — not by avoiding the trees but by focusing on your path.

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