What These 3 Awesome Books Taught Me About Inclusion
Ever since I started coaching, I’ve always been concerned that we’ve played a blame game when it comes to equal representation and inclusion in the workplace. The Equality Act and other gender equality initiatives of the past were primarily focused on “fixing” a problem, which suggests that someone is at fault. Before, inclusion was about “fixing” our working women, but recently, it has moved over to this need to try to “fix” men.
However, the lack of equal representation won’t be remedied by viewing it specifically as either a woman problem or a man problem: it’s a human problem. This means that to solve this issue for good, we all need to collaborate and work together to find the answers.
And the answers are pretty easy to find once you know where to look.
Recently, I came across three amazing books by three brilliant authors, all of whom provide some key lessons on collaboration in the workplace.
Although the authors didn’t write these texts with equal representation in mind, the books all contain underlying messages relevant to diversity and inclusion which we can learn from.
This blog will take you through some of the key lessons I learnt from reading these books. Hopefully, these lessons will provide you with a different way to think about and tackle the issue of equal representation in the workplace.
“Speak up!”: Finding Gold Dust – Gavin Scott
Gavin’s fantastic book on creating customer experiences is full of great stories. One in particular that struck a chord was the story he tells about being in a pub quiz with a friend.
On one particular question, Gavin just assumes his friend knows the answer to a question that he (Gavin) thought was “easy”.
The point Gavin makes here is about speaking up. Sometimes, we think people already know what we know, and so we never end up saying anything; but you have to speak up if you have knowledge inside you. If you have an idea, share it because we need ideas. Both men and women need to collaborate and share ideas on tackling the issues that we face in the modern workplace. That is particularly true when it comes to having a more diverse and inclusive work environment.
If we don’t say anything, this issue will only continue to go untreated.
By saying nothing, we’re not reaching any solution, and we’re going to continue to see a disparity in women and men in those senior-level positions.
So, let’s have all the ideas out on the table, from both sides.
Let’s include everybody, and let’s make sure everybody gets to have a say whenever an issue arises. When people speak up, they become empowered and open up to new possibilities, which is crucial for more inclusion at the top!
Message number one – start to speak up!
“Smart, hungry and humble”: The Ideal Team Player – Patrick Lencioni
As I mentioned earlier, gender inclusion in the corporate world is a problem that we all need to solve, irrespective of our gender, and Patrick Lencioni’s book showcases some brilliant concepts that we can apply to this.
Patrick’s idea is that, nowadays, we are not (or at least should not be) hiring people any more just because they are the right person for the job. We’re hiring them because they’re smart, hungry and humble. It’s a combination of these three things that makes someone the ideal team player, and in the world of business, that’s what you need.
If someone isn’t smart, hungry and humble, they’re not going to be a team player; and if they aren’t a team player, they aren’t going to give you the inclusive environment you’re driving towards, regardless of their gender!
Most importantly, just because someone can do the job well, that doesn’t mean they will be the right hire for you. We’re hiring people, not robots, so we need to stop this one-dimensional way of hiring – especially if we want to see more senior-level women in the business world.
Message two – remember to be smart, hungry and humble.
“Make your people smarter”: Multipliers – Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown
Multipliers is a fantastic book about being a great leader and getting the best out of everybody. It shows leaders how to lead in an inclusive and collaborative way. Having leaders like this in business is essential for building up a consistent and robust system that empowers and inspires women (and men) to realise what’s possible and to shoot for the stars.
Who doesn’t want to be a leader who makes everyone smarter? If you don’t want to make your people smarter, pack your bags and go home!
As a leader, you have to want to guide and empower those around you to go on and do incredible things.
The more leaders we have like that, the more we will start to see everyone reach their full potential and understand what they are fully capable of. That might mean more men are empowered, but it also means a whole lot more women will be too, which is exactly what we want.
Message three – strive to make your people smarter
Don’t underestimate your abilities
Although these three brilliant books teach different lessons in their own unique way, they all have one thing in common that we can apply to the issue of gender inclusion: they all teach us not to underestimate our abilities.
To reach inclusion, we all need to bring our unique abilities to the table and get them out in the open, regardless of gender.
Once men and women both realise that lack of equal representation isn’t the problem of any one gender, we will stop trying to fix each other and instead focus on supporting, empowering and inspiring each other. If we can all learn to speak up, be smart, hungry and humble, and make each other smarter, we will be well on our way to a genuinely inclusive workplace!
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