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Is Purpose the Solution to Inclusion?

May 17, 2016

What if the solution to inclusion was better understanding of our purpose—or, said differently, our reason for being on this earth?

What if we, as leaders, figured out a way to help one another live out our purpose to the fullest extent?

What would be possible?

After 33 years of being a student of the leadership space and reading, studying, teaching and consulting in this arena for almost as long, it is amazing to me how I keep coming across timeless themes that continue to be central to what it takes to lead effectively. In their book Generations, William Strauss and Neil Howe have uncovered similar trends in how history has repeated itself over the last 485 years!

Even though similar themes emerge again and again, they evolve over time to take on new meaning for us. For example, we are seeing organizations evolve how they refer to work in the Inclusion and Diversity space to add emphasis to the Inclusion piece. And yes, language is important but it is what we do with it, understanding where it comes from, and ultimately how we apply it to our roles as leaders that will make the biggest difference.

Many leaders who we work with struggle with how to engage people. The reality is that people desperately want to be asked their opinion, to understand the bigger picture, and to know how their company is making an impact. More often than not, they are curious and wonder: How do the pieces fit together? Do I trust you to help us get there?

People want to be a part of the challenge and the solution. The answers to these questions are central to why we show up to work every day. It helps each of us answer why we are here on earth, which in the simplest terms, is to be of value, to fix stuff, solve big problems and, as a result, feel exhilarated when we get to be a part of the solution.

When we listen, share stories of success and hardship, we become more human and we see more similarities—and are able to honor our differences. When we achieve this, we emerge together as cohesive teams that are aligned on what needs to be accomplished and are equipped to tackle big challenges in front of us. We are truly magnificent and unlimited in our power and ability to solve when we see one another fully.

What if we made it our personal mission to find the unique gifts that each team member or person we interact with regularly contributes to the world? This is inclusive leadership in its truest form.

What if, for example, we started the new employee onboarding process with questions like: What would make you proud to work here? What ignites your passion? Why do you want to work here rather than anywhere else?    

What if rather than IQ or EQ we had InQ (Inclusion Quotient)? The scoring would be based on how well you understand yourself/your team, your own thinking, your impact on others, and how you make decisions. What would happen if our bonuses were based on our own awareness and consciousness as well as how successfully we truly engaged our people to their fullest potential?

Tell us: Can you envision a world like this? What does leading inclusively mean to you? Hear Laura’s perspective in this short video.

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