Inclusify | Stefanie K. Johnson

Summary of: Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams
By: Stefanie K. Johnson


Step into the world of Inclusify and uncover the power of uniqueness and belonging within innovative teams. The book explores the challenges of achieving diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, highlighting the role biases play in hindering these noble goals. The summary will delve into six different managerial types – Meritocracy Manager, Culture Crusader, Team Player, White Knight, Shepherd, and Optimist – each with their own struggles, lessons, and actionable strategies to overcome bias and transform into an Inclusifyer. Get ready to discover how to shape a work environment that celebrates individuality, fosters team harmony, and drives success.

Overcoming Biases for a More Inclusive Workplace

Creating an inclusive workforce is essential for employee engagement and productivity, but our biases can hinder our efforts. Biases, developed from our experiences and upbringing, can create a sense of not belonging, resulting in lower productivity and engagement. CEOs with the best intentions to create an inclusive environment can fall short because of these unconscious biases, resulting in the under-representation of certain groups, such as women. Overcoming biases is essential in creating a lasting change that will make the workforce more productive and engaged.

Combatting Bias in Hiring and Leadership

Our biases can harm the hiring process, and recognizing bias in leaders is key to dismantling it. In the book “Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams,” the Meritocracy Manager, one of six types of managers, is identified as particularly prone to diversity blind spots. While meritocracy is seen as a sound notion, it can be flawed when the results have names attached to them – as evidenced by an experiment where an identical resume with different names was evaluated by over 400 HR professionals, with the male applicant coming out ahead. The playing field is not level, widespread inequality exists, and a post- #MeToo world means that being a Meritocracy Manager can lead to heavily biased systems, with flawed practices and organizational inequality. The example of GitHub shows how a commitment to inclusivity can lead to success, with the company’s acquisition by Microsoft and the adoption of a more inclusive approach resulting in expanded use of the company’s software development tools. In conclusion, recognizing and addressing bias in hiring and leadership is essential to creating a more inclusive workplace.

The Pitfalls of Culture Crusaders

The book explores the idea of Culture Crusaders – leaders who focus too much on finding employees who fit in with their own cultural ideals – and how this can lead to a lack of diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. PayPal’s early hiring practices are used as an example, where all new hires were expected to be like the company’s founder, Max Levchin. This resulted in a homogenous workforce that wasn’t very diverse or inclusive. However, the book also highlights the benefits of being an Inclusifyer, where leaders prioritize uniqueness and belonging. PayPal’s shift towards being an Inclusifyer, led by CEO Dan Schulman, paid off in the long run. Schulman recognized the pay gap between men and women in the company and took action to correct it, even though it likely cost the company millions of dollars. This shift led to an increase in innovation, responsiveness to change, and financial success, with PayPal becoming one of the highest valued US companies in 2018 and processing over a billion transactions per month in 2019. The key takeaway is that leaders should prioritize inclusivity and diversity over cultural fit to create a more successful and thriving workplace.

Strategies for Inclusive Leadership

The book promotes inclusive leadership by presenting strategies for individual and group actions. The author suggests two acronyms, SELF and TEAM, for managers to integrate support, empathy, learning, fairness, transparency, empowerment, alignment, and motivation into their management style. The book highlights that the success of inclusivity in a workplace lies in the hands of every manager, including Team Players. Team Players are individuals from underrepresented groups who have risen to a position of power. However, the Team Player’s success does not guarantee inclusivity, and they may not provide help to others climbing the ladder. Team Players can overcome this behavior by practicing empathy, learning, aligning, and becoming allies through Bystander Training. By doing so, they can create a safe and inclusive working environment that fosters individuality and innovation.

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