Inclusion seems to be a hot word right now. Just what does it mean? Allow the following, taken from the website of speaker and author Joe Gerstandt to provide a solid base to answer: While difference is a property of relationships, inclusion is what we do with it. How do we respond to the difference that we’ve created? Do we allow it in? And, how do we utilize it? Our actions and reactions can shape our personal and professional networks.
Now that we have a better snippet of definition, you will want to be sure to attend Joe’s session on “Inclusive Leadership” at VenueConnect in Toronto. These days inclusion really is not an option, but is necessary for success at all levels of an organization. Why?
“Leaders play a critical role in providing an inclusive employee experience, and research suggests that the wrong kind of leadership is one of the biggest barriers to inclusion,” Gerstandt says. “Not only is inclusion poorly understood, and often misunderstood by managers, inclusive leadership is simply not the path of least resistance.
“Even if we see the importance and value of inclusion intellectually, in the moment it makes life a lot easier if everyone just thinks and acts in the same ways. Inclusion is hard work and is about much more than having good intentions. Being an inclusive leader is not about ‘getting it,’ ’embracing it,’ or having a killer business case for it … you have to actually do stuff.”
It is here where Gerstandt is equipped to help attendees figure out exactly what that “stuff” is, with his background in bringing greater clarity, action, and impact to organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.
That background also include work with Fortune 100 corporations, small non-profits, and everything in between. He speaks at numerous conferences and summits, and blogs at joegerstandt.com. He is a featured contributor for the Workforce Diversity Network Expert Forum and his insights have been published in Diversity Best Practices, Diversity Executive, HR Executive, The Diversity Factor, The American Diversity Report, the Corporate Recruiting Leadership Journal, Associations Now, other print and on-line journals and he co-authored the book Social Gravity: Harnessing the Natural Laws of Relationships.
Gerstandt grew up on a family farm in northwest Iowa, served four years in the United States Marine Corps, including participation in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, attended Iowa State University and then spent six years working in management and business development for technology and communication companies. He then made a career change and went to work for a grassroots non-profit organization, and this is where he found himself drawn to issues related to diversity and inclusion and then became actively involved in that work.
Be prepared to go back home from this session with several key takeaways including a more tangible understanding of what inclusion is and how it can impact performance, exploration of dynamics which make inclusion difficult, including practices of traditional management, and to be introduced to a basic toolkit for inclusive leadership consisting of knowledge, behavior, and practices.