Transformation has become such a loaded word in business that the very mention of it either has people shutting down, or superficially engaging with it. In the lead up to Women’s Day on the 9th of August, “gender equality” and “transformation in the workplace” will be phrases bandied about. Of course businesses and organisations are indeed becoming more inclusive along gender lines, but transformation is still a daunting prospect. In some cases, the changes required to create an inclusive workplace increase anxiety for leaders and employees.
But I find that it always helps to reframe difficult concepts and to consider them in a new light. Research shows that transformation and inclusion lead to efficiency. Usually we associate efficiency with automation, digitisation and streamlined business operations, but in fact, exclusion saps people’s energy, performance and well-being. Ultimately, a meaningful focus on people’s well-being is a critical tool to boost overall output. Consider that even basic exclusion, like being left out of meetings and emails, leads to emotional pain. The brain literally finds it painful. As a result, productivity and engagement suffer.
The research is overwhelming, and virtually impossible to miss. Diverse teams, and inclusive habits, are as close as you can get to a double impact of team performance and corporate responsibility. With that, however, comes the possibility of focusing so heavily on one factor — inclusion — that leaders neglect another important element: balance.
At KDZA, we embrace the idea of optimal inclusion as a core part of any transformation strategy, because it allows teams to move from idea to action quickly. Creating an environment of inclusion - on all levels in the lives of people - supports self-regulation, sense of motivation and increases resilience and commitment of the individual. Whether you are sending an email, running a meeting, or establishing a project team, as a leader, it is your job to include conscientiously and sometimes, exclude gracefully to help your organisation remain efficient.
Here’s to meaningful transformation!