Recently I attended a workshop about diversity and inclusion in big organizations. To clarify the difference between the two, the popular quote; “Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance” was shared with the attendees. Though giving a good idea of the distinction between the two, there is still a one-way communication involved in being invited and being asked. It got me thinking; how do we create an environment that people feel free to join the party and feel free to start dancing. In this blog I’ll go into my personal experiences with diversity and inclusion and how understanding your drives, and the organizations can help to have everybody on the dance floor and create an energetic party!
Being asked to party is something that comes natural for some, especially if you feel and act the same as the party hosts, and you easily connect on the same level. The party might rock, but the longer it lasts, the more of the same it will be. How do you throw a party that people feel free to walk in, and give all their energy to make the party last as long as possible, and create a dynamic environment?
My personal experience that I’d like to share about an environment where everyone could join the party was my time working for Sun Microsystems. Though never being much of an international oriented person, nor someone that is immediately in the middle of a group, I came into a team and felt part of that team from minute one. Our team was as diverse as you can imagine, in a group of 20 we had at least 12 nationalities, people of various racial, ethnic, cultural background and sexual orientation. Though on paper extremely diverse, everyone was welcome and appreciated for who they were and what they brought to the table. Nobody felt forced to be at the party and we all wanted to be there.
Back then I wasn’t as aware about the topic of diversity as I am now, only in hindsight I recognize the energy it created and its uniqueness.
When I came across Management Drives, one of the things that immediately popped in my mind; How can we use this to create diverse teams that still work together? How can we create an environment where everyone wants to be? How can we invite people to the party that have different dance moves and might be able to teach us some?
Some very practical applications where you can use the insights provided by Management Drives to take a first step to getting a diverse crowd at your party;
To explain it through my personal journey; when I was a student, school was the party I had to show up to. There really was not much choice, I needed to finish my education. Though I was welcomed to the party, I didn’t always feel at home there. Especially when it came to be motivated to participate in the party. Rarely I felt the need to answer the invite to dance and give it my all to excel and throw my energy at it. This all changed when I was writing my master thesis in University. To motivate myself to finalize my study, I accepted a part-time job to get familiar with working life. I figured; if I know what’s waiting for me, I’ll quickly find motivation to close off that last chapter. And motivation I found…to excel in my work, and my thesis still did not get any attention. Until the summer of 2007. Within 3 weeks I finalized my thesis from scratch.
What changed? Why suddenly it felt natural for me to step up and be in that much feared spotlight showing my best dance moves? It was simple. My manager understood my drives instinctively. He found out what drove me forward and used this to motivate me. He sent me on a holiday and told me that I was not allowed back at his party until I finished my thesis. He motivated me by giving me new insights what I could do more after getting my degree, and he did this in such a way that he demonstrated genuine appreciation for my abilities to complete my thesis in a reasonable time. He spoke to my Yellow drive, and my deeper desire for being recognized for my abilities (Orange).
Still looking back at this moment, I consider this a moment of mutual inclusion. One inviting the other to dance, and the other more than willing to accept the invitation, even better, even if the invite wasn’t sent, I’d be on the dance floor. What no teacher was able to do in 16 years of school, was done in a 15-minute conversation. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. It’s about finding a mutual language in which we understand, adapt and respect each other, so everyone at the party feels there is a possibility for them to dance whenever they feel like it.
So how could you use Management Drives to make inclusion more practical for yourself or for your team?
Much more than getting invited to the party, it’s a joint responsibility of the host (organization) and the guest (employee) to get the party started. It’s giving and taking. If it is not handed to you, ask for it!
Of course, Incrementum can help you or your organization to find a way to fill that dancefloor and everyone is able and willing to bust their moves! If you are interested, contact us!