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Women in business champion

The human perspective

Tracey Groves photographHumanity, honesty and understanding lie at the heart of successful leadership, says Tracey Groves, CEO and founder, Intelligent Ethics. She outlines her vision for an inclusive business structure.






What does an inclusive business culture look like to you?

An inclusive business culture looks, sounds and feels like it has moral principles and ethical values hardwired into the organisational system – they are not just talked about but deeply embedded. This means that the business leaders ‘walk the talk’ and set the highest standards of behaviour through their own actions and decisions, holding others to account when they fall short on a consistent basis. Inclusive business cultures are driven by a shared sense of purpose and common vision that are built on core human principles such as trustworthiness, honesty, transparency, equality and kindness.

How do you make people feel both part of the business, and also uniquely valued?

Engaging, educating and equipping your people to perform at their best are all critical to ensuring individuals feel included in the business as well as individually respected and valued. For example, embedding multi-channel and multi-directional communications across the business (engaging), driving a dynamic learning and development environment that everyone can participate in (educating), and providing the best tools and techniques to deliver the business (equipping) creates high levels of trust and a deep sense of belonging. Who would not want to be part of that?

What leadership behaviours can drive inclusiveness?

Inclusiveness is built on the ability of leaders to empower, motivate and inspire others to be the best that they can be. An inclusive culture is forgiving, and it is accepting. It is not driven by fear or anxiety. A sense of collective excitement and a ‘we’ mindset lies at the heart of inclusive leaders. Leaders who provide clarity in times of uncertainty, respect our humanity in a technologically-enabled world and position life-long learning at the heart of their own and others development, will ultimately nurture a high-performing, inclusive and high integrity culture.

How do you engage everyone in a business with the need to create a new business culture?

Engagement across the business on culture needs to happen on a transformational level, not merely a transactional one. This means emotionally connecting with individuals at all levels in the organisation and tapping into their personal belief system and purpose. What’s in it for me? How will this impact the way I work? Why should I change my behaviour?

Experience and research tells us that unlocking or transforming organisational culture is driven by the ability to engage emotionally with individuals that, firstly, allows people to actually experience or feel the change as well as seeing it (connecting head and heart) and secondly, it reinforces our sense of shared purpose and commitment by experiencing as a collective.

However, that’s what makes it so hard and why culture change programmes so often fail. The process or systems change (head) is the easy bit and we forgo the requirement for the emotional engagement (heart) at our peril.

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