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The Truth About Inclusion

Have you ever noticed how some teams just click while others get mired in dysfunctional dynamics? What’s the difference? Some fresh insights on this issue come from Google’s quest over the past five years to build the perfect team. What they discovered through their research sheds new light on why the issue of inclusion needs to be central to leaders, and what companies need to do to start moving in the direction of true inclusive leadership.

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The Path to Inclusion and Collaboration—What Really Gets in the Way

I spoke at several national conferences over the last few weeks on the topic of 21st Century Leadership, which I call Integrated Leadership. The foundation of this leadership model is based on having an inclusive culture and rich collaboration that effectively taps into the rich and diverse spectrum of talent within an organization. As you have read in many of my previous posts, Integrated Leadership is what drives greater levels of performance, profitability, shareholder value, innovation, and engagement, to name just a few of the organizational and individual benefits.

When I speak on this topic, I’ve noticed a common theme across audiences: while leaders intellectually understand the importance of inclusion and collaboration, it’s much more difficult to actually make the concept stick and have it truly become part of the leadership team’s DNA and culture.

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5 Strategies to Maximize Collaborative Intelligence in Any Organization

Collaborative intelligence—the collective determination to reach an identical objective by sharing knowledge and learning while building consensus—is becoming increasingly essential to organizational success. In my last post, I discussed why leaders need to understand and implement a collaborative model based on creating a culture of collaboration that becomes an integral part of their overall leadership strategy. I also shared two essential skills—moving away from top-down authority and building bridges of cooperation—that can help build a more collaborative team.

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Collaborative Intelligence: The Competitive Advantage for Today’s Organizations

Here is an example of a typical call that I receive from our clients at SHAMBAUGH: An organization is undergoing significant change. To keep pace with the evolving marketplace, customer demands, and industry trends, they need to reexamine their existing culture and leadership models to successfully adapt. Often in such scenarios, the desire to evolve is prompted by the president or CEO attending a conference that referenced the importance of an inclusive and collaborative culture.

In one specific instance, a company president (whom I’ll call Steve) shared with me that his organization had just invested a lot of money in a new IT system that would now cross-integrate information across the organization. Would this do the trick to build a more integrated and collaborative environment, he asked me? I responded that while that’s part of the equation, it’s not the whole solution. What ultimately needs to drive this important shift, I told him, is your leadership—which means that your organization must reinforce the right leadership model to ensure that the proper mindset, behaviors, and culture are first in place. Doing so will ensure lasting results versus a quick fix.

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