New taglines often come with fanfare. Behind ours is a story, and it speaks to both our foundational idea and the way we work. Nearly all organizations are familiar with inclusion. Most of their people think of it the way they learned it: as an initiative or a program, something separate from day-to-day operations or core objectives, not related to the bottom line. That presents a problem in times like these, when—amid economic stress, intensified competition, and accelerating change—many organizations greatly reduce, if not dispense with, such initiatives to focus on what they view as the "essentials."
When we worked with a leader in a Fortune 50 company in 2006, she described the creation of an inclusive culture as essential to achieving goals, a light went on for us. "Do you know what this means?" she asked her people after we began some education and strategy work with the senior executive team. "If we really embrace inclusion, it changes everything: the way we work, the questions we ask, the decisions we make, who we involve as we set objectives."
We saw it too. It has led us to Inclusion as the HOWSM —not inclusion for inclusion's sake, but inclusion as a tool for achieving higher performance. Hence our new tagline:
Inclusion as the HOWSM Achieving Higher Performance Accelerating Results
The fact that this latest thinking originated with a client speaks to the nature of our client partnerships. In a word, we co-create solutions. Our clients expand our thinking; we bring them fresh ideas from a new vantage point. In the process, we both learn and create new solutions together. And we prepare them to continue to sustain the change long after we are gone.
Inclusion as the HOWSM is about enabling organizations to gain advantages amid fast-changing conditions. As the marketplace moves ever faster and becomes more complex, organizations must unleash the talents, experience, and knowledge of all their people to address the problems and opportunities that arise. This can only happen when people feel valued, heard, and empowered to bring their thinking, speak up, and be bold—when they have the supportive energy from peers and leaders to do their best work to achieve their own and the organization’s goals.
By including people across many differences—functions, departments, roles, as well as background, age, ethnicity, gender, race, and nationality—organizations build trust and gain a breadth of perspective they cannot get any other way. Broader perspectives lead to better decisions in a complex world. Greater trust eliminates time-wasting behaviors (e.g., information hoarding and protection of self-interest) and thus speeds knowledge transfer.
Broader perspectives, faster knowledge transfer and application, and better decisions deliver what every organization seeks: higher and higher performance that exceeds the desired results. That, as our new tagline makes clear, is what we continue to be committed to helping our clients achieve—greater results and higher performance through greater inclusion.