Introduction and Context
Inclusion is not about just diversity as we know it. It is about making a decision to create an environment where everyone can excel to the extent that they are truly able in order to achieve the organizational or team goals and aims.
It is driven by a recognition that if we maintain status quo, or try to create diversity without inclusion we will not achieve what we need to in a certain market/geography or with a certain product or vertical. It is a deep acceptance that for us to innovate everywhere, and to keep an edge over our competitors, we must embrace the very people who may not “fit” or with whom we feel safe and comfortable.
Sustained success tomorrow depends on creating the inclusive environment today. This message crosses geographies – translates across the globe far more powerfully and meaningfully than ‘diversity’ does. Diverse groups will benefit from this approach – we will see improved data – but without the heavy sigh of “not another diversity/gender initiative” – with the realization that this is the true business imperative.
However we have to recognise the challenge. When we ask our leaders to do this they have to look deep into their own unwritten rules for life. The unconscious filling system that whispers at us and dictates what a great leader/account director/research person looks like. We have to do the bias work deeply to enable us to overcome the fear of being wrong, of feeling discomfort, and of having to face the fear of operating against ways that we wrongly believe keep us safe. Diversity training as a one off does not work – creating inclusive workplaces where we understand the strategic reason for doing so and the underlying resistance we as humans bring to that, is a stronger approach altogether.
Cisco wants to create an inclusive, engaged workforce that lives the value of diversity and where inclusion is embedded in everything you do. Cisco also seeks to create a value-driven model that identifies the key drivers of a highly inclusive and collaborative organization, enabling the creation of innovative approaches that unleash the true power of D&I through collaboration. What follows is a suggestion of how we could partner with you to create a holistic L&D plan to align with the goals of the office of I&C.