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Organizational leadership often unknowingly sabotages change before it has begun. Having discussed the need for change and decided on a strategic path to make change happen, the change management team initiates the project without considering the people in the organization. Consequently, people feel as if change is being done to them, rather than being done with them. This lack of inclusivity creates an insurmountable wall of resistance.
In this article, I look how cultural diversity in organizations improves the potential to make successful change and how you can make cultural diversity and inclusivity part of your organizational culture.
The "2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends" survey found that almost eight out of 10 respondents believe that cultural diversity in organizations, and inclusivity, gives a distinct competitive advantage. Quizzing 245 global organizations, it found that cultural inclusivity led to:
However, the research also found that cultural diversity was considered as a compliance function rather than an element of organizational culture. Thus, cultural diversity in organizations is improving, but cultural inclusivity is lagging.
Your people may have no problem with your leadership team developing strategy, but they do want to be included in the process of how that strategy will be put into practice. They also have much to offer.
In a world where businesses are selling to an increasingly diverse customer base, your managers, team supervisors and employees can provide valuable insight into customer needs and desires. They can offer ideas to develop more acceptable approach strategies within different cultural environments, thus improving the success of your sales drive.
Additionally, cultural diversity includes not only race, but also demographics of age and education, and different values, beliefs, thought processes, and preferred communication channels. These cultural aspects can help in refining your change management approach, and organizations that have an inclusive culture find that their problem-solving and innovation capability is improved. Thus, the ability to be agile and adapt the change process on the journey to the future vision is increased.
With an inclusive culture, employees feel more at ease to be themselves. They will share problems more readily and will not be scared to make mistakes. This empowers people to take responsibility, share ideas, and be more innovative in their approach to your strategic vision.
The Deloitte research found that the most successful organizations were led by six principles when developing a culture of diversity and inclusivity:
If you plan to make organizational change, include your people in it. Embrace the merits of cultural diversity, and allow your people be part of the planning process. You will benefit from the greater insight and diversity of ideas received, and people who are involved in planning are less likely to engage in resistance.
Contact Primeast today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will develop and embed effective personal skills in the workplace, for leaders, managers and employees. These skills will aid employee engagement, breaking down barriers to communication and collaboration to create an environment ready to accept change.
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