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Harnessing your collective superpower
Legal Women and the Society and English and American Lawyers co-hosted a conversation with inclusion stars Alison Maitland and Rebekah Steele – authors of the book INdivisible: Radically rethinking inclusion for sustainable business results.
At the start of the event the attendees wrote down what inclusion meant to them. Most responses were similar, a feeling of belonging and of being heard, etc.
But by the end of the event attendees understood that inclusion is so much more. Here is what happened at the event …
The audience was first encouraged to consider whose voice is missing from a discussion, and to think about what risk that might present. It is important to consider ‘is the conversation complete’? This is key in achieving impact and results, because “without inclusion, diversity is unfulfilled potential”.
The meaning of diversity and inclusion was then discussed. There is no universal meaning and there can be misunderstandings or different views about what diversity is. Alison and Rebekah explain diversity in their book to mean the vast mix of individuals, personalities, identities, backgrounds, and perspectives. Everything that goes to make up who we are! This is an opportunity for organisations to seize, or “harness your collective superpower”. So how can we do that? By creating and sustaining a work environment where everyone has a voice and is motivated to contribute their best ideas because the organisation works for everyone.
Inclusion is a business driver, helping organisations advance the ‘three p’s’ - performance, preparedness, and purpose. Performance relates to the wide-ranging business impacts of inclusion, such as collaboration equity and risk reduction; how are individuals, teams and the organisation as a whole performing? Preparedness is preparing your organisation for the future - to be ‘future proof’. Working alongside artificial intelligence and using your higher-level human skills, such as empathy and adaptability alongside social influence. Finally, purpose – which focused on purpose beyond profit! Inclusion is key in the future of work, and critical to harnessing your collective superpower.
However, progress with diversity and inclusion has been patchy. Inclusion and diversity are often disconnected from business opportunities and many struggle to measure progress. How can businesses tell if they are making progress with diversity and inclusion? How is inclusion actually helping achieve business goals? These key questions, among others, are addressed in Alison and Rebekah’s book INdivisible, which sets out a holistic and systemic approach to achieving results with inclusion.
The conversation with Alison and Rebekah was incredibly thought provoking and challenged me to think beyond myself. I know what steps I will be taking to help inclusion at work, but what steps will you take?
Emma Webb Manchester LL.B student, Editorial assistant for Legal Women magazine and Editor for the Manchester Law Journal
Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash