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3 Takeaways on Creating an Inclusive Workplace | Exploring Superpowers & Symphony with Oshoke Abalu and Jennifer McCollum

February 16, 2021 Kristen Howe

In order to be truly inclusive, organizational cultures and systems need to change—as do leaders themselves. 

This has taken me some time to understand and truly absorb, as I thought I was inclusive. I live in the diverse metro area of Washington, DC, my neighbors make up every race, religion and socioeconomic status there is, and I’m a woman. I’ve faced bias in the workplace (and many other places!). I always thought of myself as part of the solution, not the problem. And then, I started working with Oshoke Abalu, futurist, architect and inclusion expert, and began to uncover why what we call inclusion isn’t good enough—why we all need to go further. 

Now is the time to create a new story—a shared vision—that will allow organizations to create a true culture of inclusion. By taking on this important work, organizations will access all the benefits of a diverse and engaged workforce, including better business outcomes.

This week, Linkage launches our newest Signature Solution area in partnership with Oshoke: Redesigning Inclusion: Superpowers and Symphony.

This Signature Solution allows organizations and executive leaders to rethink their strategy, let go of tactics that simply don’t work, and embrace a new language for inclusion in the workplace. 

Jennifer McCollum, CEO of Linkage, recently sat down with Oshokfor an engaging conversation about human connection and organizational unity. Check out three takeaways from their conversation below, download the full hourlong virtual town hall, which features a musical performance, and then learn about the full solution. 

1. It’s time to try something new. The DE&I tactics many organizations rely on simply aren’t working 

Organizations in the United States spend $8 billion on diversity and inclusion training each year. And yet, the results simply aren’t there: 45% of US workers report experiencing discrimination in the past year and 75% of employees in underrepresented groups do not feel they have personally benefitted from their company’s DE&I programs. 

Linkage’s most recent research on inclusion in the workplace found that many common inclusion initiatives have no impact—and some may have a negative impact on teams and employees.

It’s time to stop relying on the methods of the past. If we want to achieve true inclusion, we must change the way we think. 

2. Change is possible. 

“How do you start to create a new story within your organization?” asked Jennifer. “Our mindset is our single greatest tool for change.” 

Jennifer asked all of us to consider the individual impact on each person in our organization. How would creating a true culture of inclusion help them to grow, expand and thrive?

Change is possible, explains Jennifer, because employees want change to happen. They want “Symphony,” and organizations and executive leaders have an opportunity to lead the way. 

3. We must embrace a new inclusion language.

“It is time for a new restoration story where everyone contributes their unique Superpowers in collaboration toward common outcomes,” said Oshoke during the Virtual Town Hall.

In order to realize that vision, Oshoke outlined a new way of thinking about our diversity and our organizational strengths. The uniqueness of each employee is defined as “Superpowers,” and when organizations harness those Superpowers and create an environment where all team members are empowered to perform at the highest levels, we can achieve true organizational Symphony.   

As Oshoke explained, this is a new invitation to belong, where we are all welcome.  

The 4 Rs empower leaders and organizations to think about inclusion differently:

Re-Language: Recognize and respond in Symphony to today’s opportunities around the untapped potential of Inclusion. By teaching inclusion as a new language, our experiences offer an alignment of your business efforts that shifts today’s environment and increases your organization’s influence, impact and outcomes.

Re-Calibrate: Establish and measure the current state of your individual and organizational inclusion to provide valuable insights that help awaken and strengthen your leaders and business.

Re-Focus: Enhance the Superpowers of your leaders, teams and organizations with the tools and resources to build community, connection and trust.

Re-Unite: Expand and sustain Superpowers & Symphony in your organization.

 

Now is the time for a new vision for inclusion in the workplace. Learn more about Linkage’s “Redesigning Inclusion: Superpowers and Symphony,” and learn how you can bring this transformative solution to your organization.

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