Inclusivity makes diversity tick.
Virtually all communities, organisations or countries have an extremely diverse footprint on paper, however real life shows that diversity counts for nothing without inclusivity (and norms).
World history is a case in point.
Inclusivity touches on the fact that we must make sure that, like our own input, other people are also valued, seen and heard irrespective of their behaviours, background or outlook.
Inclusiveness is about finding common ground for us to relate to one another, pro-actively reaching out to involve others and creating a safe environment so people feel comfortable to voice their opinions.
These Covid-19 times earmarked by vulnerability, revelation and struggle have re-emphasised to us all the importance to re-discover ways for us to (socially) bond.
Nevertheless, something else is missing to make this picture complete; that is trust.
Trust is a universal value.
It represents the amount of collateral necessary for us to exchange.
Without trust, there is no genuine interaction.
The circuit board of economic life.
There is no need to intellectualise trust to remove any emotions, anxiety or fear.
A lack of trust significantly adds to the transaction costs of social interactions, relationships and, of course, doing business.
Little trust exists between us today.
There is a whole world of difference between what we say, do and say we do.
Those who close this gap build trust.
A diverse group of people who trust each other can create effective bonds to work well together and quickly adjust to new environments to re-invent organisational frameworks, business models and value propositions.
Strategic partnerships between small, medium and large enterprises are a great example of how norms, diversity and inclusivity within networks can reduce the costs of (commercial) transactions, scale development and produce sustainable growth.
It is near impossible to internalise all these partnership capabilities into a central organisation.
True partners are included in design decisions, strategy and vision.
To make this work, each partner must, however, adhere to an (in)formal set of rules, values and principles that preferably demand relatively little time to negotiate, adjudicate and enforce.
The trick is in its simplicity, start with trust but verify to avoid short-circuits triggered by opportunistic, selfish and suboptimal decision-making.
If partners, regions or countries could pursue their economic self-interest and be completely transparent at the same time, it might be possible to completely nullify the inverse ‘trust tax’.
There is a commercial benefit to inclusivity.
The problem is that we are prone to interact, socialise and do business with those who are like us.
It is time to up our ‘Inclusive Fitness’.
A good exercise is to gain (anonymous) insight into ‘network concentrations’ by mapping out contractual relationships among small, medium and large enterprises to then re-develop, diversify and grow trading networks at scale.
A bit of engineered randomness, potentially supported by collaboration charts, to build trust, spark creativity and scale productivity.
We must get more spontaneous with our connectivity, socialibility and networks.
At an organisational level, a Human Resource (HR) Department must operate more like an independent consultancy to become an internal partner of choice.
This involves owning the responsibility to centrally re-allocate people to mission critical initiatives based on skills set, experience and knowledge i.e. Know Your Employees.
Like HR departments, trade associations, unions or other representative groups must work with those who govern, manage or lead to centrally re-deploy workers to adequately future proof a community, region or country.
An (industrial) strategy to nurture flexibility, agility and dynamism.
To get closer to this kind of open ‘Integrated Circuit’, head of partnerships or oscillators are required to direct information flow, produce the right frequency and improve overall network compatibility.
Differentiating signal from noise.
A diverse group of people can work very well together provided there is a common interest, affinity and objectivity to facilitate relations.
These same kinds of dynamics are applicable at a country level too. Several ‘Trust Trades’ may be required to demonstrate intent, value and goodwill.
This means providing development skills, services and knowledge aid for free initially.
Everybody, including countries, prefers to earn their due rather than charity yet bear in mind that our environment is non-linear with a sensitive dependence on initial conditions.
Building more inclusive trading networks demands of us to make allowances where appropriate. Patience is a virtue.
So, network expansion is one way to improve our ‘Inclusive Fitness’, what else can be done to benefit our own surroundings? We already briefly mentioned that the main problem is that we like to interact with those who are like us.
It is therefore vitally important for us to collectively make a mental shift away from trying to re-produce, replicate or copy our own charactistics, traits or behaviours in a group, organisation or community.
We must figure out instead what aspects to support, maintain or promote to help our community, culture or environment to thrive i.e what is missing.
Too much of the same thing is not an evolutionary stable strategy.
Different sets of eyes spot, anticipate or manage risk quicker to raise the alarm for others in the group to take the appropriate action.
Anyone must feel comfortable to pull the alarm cord.
Sure, there may be a few ‘cry wolf’ situations to deal with internally, nonetheless this level of trust empowers and motivates people to make us all feel that little bit more secure.
To take this idea of ‘Inclusive Fitness’ one step further, it is actually in our self-interest to think of others in our organisations, communities or networks.
To use an economic term, we maximise our own personal utility, gains or usefulness by seeking to benefit the largest possible group (or market) of which we are part.
It is the principle that enlightened self-interest compounds.
Those of us who act to serve the interests of others ultimately serve their own self-interest i.e. utility multiplier. Our ideas, solutions or impact on others get rewarded.
If it benefits the environment, it benefits me.
A model must be constructed to help us realise, either top down or bottom up, the benefits of investing time, energy and information at an individual or group level or somewhere inbetween.
Work represents a good intermediate solution to build an effective bridge between our individual and group level interests.
Up until now, organisations have tried to adopt a sterile, robotic and bland approach to create a neutral ground to make things work among a diverse set of people.
This suboptimal model is not compatible with real life dynamics.
We must continue to find ways to bring our fuller selves to work to really optimise the benefits of diversity. Diversity combined with inclusivity and norms allows us to be ourselves more.
If we are relaxed, we perform better.
To repeat, a common interest, objectivity and affinity are qualities to make us better suited to each other.
Ask yourself the question whether a certain type of behaviour really benefits the overall objective.
Our working lives must make our lives work better.
As Dr. Fukuyama mentions in his book ‘Trust; The Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity’, the constitutions of basic laws of most European countries contain, in addition to enumerated rights, language similar to that of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the effect that ‘everyone has duties to the community’.
This section must feature in every constitution and extended to ‘everyone has duties to their environment’.
Life is habit forming, we must re-discover the habit of co-operating.
Time to ring the alarm bells.
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