Conscious Inclusion: A Tale of Two Companies

By Orlando Bishop

It could be the best of times. It could be the worst of times.                            

While Dickens may not be referenced often in our offices and boardrooms, this twist on his famous words provides a perfect description for the crossroads our companies face every day. Every decision we make (and, in this context, not making a decision is a decision, too!) shapes the future of the organization, determines whether we experience the best of profits, accolades, and bonuses or the worst of losses, layoffs and failure.

Once we accept this fundamental reality, some simple questions present themselves:

  • Will we be proactive or reactive?
  • Will we take action or allow ourselves to be acted upon?

Great business leaders do more than navigate today’s challenges; they chart the course for and steer their organizations toward tomorrow’s success.

Whatever decisions are made about the desired profile and makeup of your company’s workforce, about the culture of your workplace, it is not only the right, but the responsibility of leaders to be sure those choices are made intentionally to drive long-term bottom line success.

That brings us to the two companies you can create as you move toward the best or worst of times: Unconscious Bias Enterprises vs. Conscious Inclusion, Inc.

When you create Unconscious Bias Enterprises, your decision-making process is, well, not much of a process at all. You work exclusively from your “gut,” which works fine … most of
the time.

Your brain is programmed to leverage pattern recognition and informed judgment to make spot decisions with limited information. You rely on your instincts 99.9 percent of the time – that number feels about right – and developing our ability to process information and generate solutions in an instant can be invaluable to our organizations, to our teams and to our careers. That’s a good thing … until it isn’t.

Unfortunately, there is a flipside to this instinct “coin.” There are times when your instincts lead you to make the “wrong” choice, when doing what comes naturally leads to underutilization of the human resources that drive our success.

If that cost goes unchecked, Unconscious Bias Enterprises will lose to Conscious Inclusion, Inc.

When you create Conscious Inclusion, Inc., you practice proactively and intentionally seeking, identifying, and seizing opportunities to leverage organizational diversity and inclusion. Conscious Inclusion helps us check our cultural blind spots. Culture, in this context, references a range of dimensions, from gender to work style, as we drive toward organizational goals.

You might guess that these companies generate different outcomes – and you’d be right. Though there are countless ways those differences might be felt, there are three areas of strategic advantage that will mean the best of times for Conscious Inclusion, Inc. and the worst for Unconscious
Bias Enterprises:

  • Getting the best people
  • Keeping the best people
  • Getting the best results from the best people

Some companies will choose Unconscious Bias Enterprises. Others will simply stumble blindly toward a subpar workforce, marginally engaged, responding to tomorrow’s questions with yesterday’s answers. If you’re reading this article, though, you know your company needs more, demands more and can be more. You know that there is a way to get to best talent who are wholly engaged and generating new answers for new questions. That way is Conscious Inclusion. Try it. Start today. I wish you and your company the best of times.

Orlando Bishop serves as the vice president of development of The Kaleidoscope Group. He works with clients to assess the state of their organization, to identify the role of diversity and inclusion in current outcomes, and to collaboratively design engagements that leverage diversity and inclusion, optimizing future business outcomes.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/makyzz

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