The Inclusion and Innovation approach reframes the work of diversity and inclusion for the 21st century. It emphasizes the idea that "diversity has sometimes been about counting people but inclusion is about making people count." Moreover, it focuses attention on better understanding human behavior in a world full of human differences, and recognizing the power of open-mindedness in environments filled with multiple backgrounds, perspectives and ideas. The framework employs neuro-science, cognitive psychology and social psychology to better understand human behavior and the relationship between organizational culture and human choices and decision-making.
• Diversity is not the problem. Closed-mindedness is.
• Human diversity exists any time you have more than one person in the room
• Diversity (i.e., human differences) is leveraged when we include different perspectives, ideas and viewpoints.
• The work of "diversity and inclusion," when framed as "open-mindedness, will enhance:
o Employee engagement and enthusiasm
o Creativity and innovation
o Continuous learning and improvement
• The work of inclusion and innovation asks, "How do we leverage human differences to achieve organizational goals?" or "How can different perspectives, frameworks and knowledge bases help to identify/recognize problems and solutions?"
• "Culture is the acquired knowledge people use to interpret experience and generate behavior."
• Our experiences provide us with unique cognitive filters and lenses that impact how we interpret phenomena (i.e. frames of reference)
• One's particular frame of reference can serve to help or hinder problem recognition and problem solving
• The human brain, in its effort to conserve energy, and with all else being equal, prefers 1) comfort zones, 2) people/things that are similar/familiar and 3) not to have to consider new ideas and ways of doing
• Our brains are designed to create mental models of things it encounters, including people (which can then lead to stereotyping)
• Mental models can contain "noise" that can lead to bias and obscure talent
• The foundational "diversity" issue regardless of dimension (e.g., race, class, experience base, university attended, etc.) is "Insider vs. Outsider"
• In general, "insiders" get the benefit of the doubt and "outsiders" are seen with much skepticism
• Inclusion is the condition in which the number of insiders is maximized and the number of outsiders is minimized.
• Cognitive dissonance can be motivation to be closed-minded or open-minded
• The ability to "entertain" multiple perspectives is the hallmark of open-minded people and organizations, and crucial to the process of creativity and innovation
• Certainty, often accompanied by arrogance, is the enemy of creativity.
• Everyone has a need to feel valued and included
• Research shows that when people feel like outsiders, not valued, not included, etc. two areas of their brain light up. Those two areas are the same ones that light up when we feel physical pain. This phenomenon has been labels "social pain." In other words, outsiders feel a "social pain" that is processed the same way by the brain as physical pain.
• The work of inclusion is much about producing socially and emotionally safe environments where people are mentally free to do the work they are asked to do.
• People who feel valued and included have brains that are free to be more productive and creative
• Regardless of what some want to believe, human beings (and human brains) cannot be unaffected by emotions and the emotional stress that comes with being an outsider.
• NICE (Not Inclined to Critically Examine) people sometimes engage in "Unintentional Intolerance" (Mindlessness + Multiple Redundant Messages)
• Individuals and organizations have "behavioral scripts" - ways of doing that resist change but can become outdated in a changing world
• The messages we get from environments we engage can create "people brands" for us (i.e., stereotypes)
• The combination of outdated behavioral scripts and potentially negative people brands can lead to the exclusion and intolerance of people, groups and ideas that differ from ours and our tribes'
• Foundationally, the work of inclusion and innovation is about caring for people. When organizations care for ALL their people, they create engaged employees that are crucial for organizational and mission success.
• Diversity has sometimes been about counting people. Inclusion is always about making people count.
• Unity does not require uniformity.
The next Diversity & Inclusion 2.0 "Boot Camp" is November 7-8, 2013 in Grand Rapids, MI
For more information, call 616.818-6485 or go to http://slrobbins.com/v2/workshops/diversity-inclusion-2-0-boot-camp
"What If: short stories to spark diversity dialogue" is available at www.amazon.com/What-If-Stories-Diversity-Dialogue/dp/0891062750
Courtesy: Steve Robbins, PhD.