Diversity. Equity. Inclusion.
These are all words that have become part of our lexicon. They should have always been important and common, of course, and in recent years they have been amplified.
Never before had I heard someone put it in dollars and cents… In easy to understand terms where we not only have a better appreciation, but we also get true clarity on inclusion… Someone who clearly articulated we should show ourselves grace.
Melissa Majors is that person!
Melissa spoke at Global Meetings Industry Day this year and I knew in a matter of minutes that I wanted to have her on my Making a Marketer podcast. While my podcast is “for marketers,” just about every episode has value for those who work in business in any capacity. We made a concerted effort starting with season four to bring more diversity of look, voice, and thought to the show.
Which makes Melissa the perfect person as our final guest of season four.
“Growth-minded leaders recognize that inclusion is much more than a moral obligation; it’s a competitive advantage.”
Melissa shared a stat from Mackenzie and Company, which has been conducting research “to isolate the impact of inclusion on the bottom-line for businesses.” What they found is businesses that are the most inclusive are outperforming their competition with 49% higher profitability.
Wouldn’t you take almost a 50% higher margin for doing the right thing? Any company that wants to remain (or get) successful would.
Differences Between Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
“…it’s over engineered; everybody kind of lumps it all into one big thing… Diversity is variety. Equity is making sure people have what they need to thrive. And inclusion is involving others equally. Inclusion is action.”
Breaking it down like she does helps us to better understand how DEI should be viewed.
“So I am a big believer in not making people feel guilty for who they are, and their inherent beliefs. And I think at times, also, we have a tendency to vilify people who are in power right now. And so I’m really intentional about trying not to do that.”
This perspective from Melissa is so useful to those people who feel guilt.
When Hiring or Looking for Work
Just as I need to show myself grace in the process, Melissa helps us understand we need to show grace in understanding the pace of things. AND that we can make a difference from the inside of organizations that still might need to make change.
One of the seven categories of leadership where true change can happen is through the hiring process. I’ve written about hiring for culture over skill set because “anyone can learn a skill,” but it turns out that’s how people are typically excluded.
“So our brain is naturally wired to prefer familiarity… we like to be comfortable, we like to be surrounded and build teams where there’s going to be camaraderie and people fit in. But what we know is that more diverse teams are outperforming homogeneous teams, because they have different perspectives and viewpoints.”
It turns out this also makes for more innovative teams! So, the moral of that part of this story is to hire for difference and not familiarity. *Light bulb*!
Keeping Unconscious Biases at Bay
This brings about the topic of biases–we ALL have them.
“So embrace your bias, don’t deny they exist. And when you do that, you’ll be able to mitigate those biases from controlling your actions.”
Being aware of biases and making incremental changes based on these realizations will help each of us — and the organizations we are involved with — become more and more inclusive.
“But when you embrace your bias, you can start to identify patterns of your bias and who you might be prejudiced toward.”
Bottom Line: This is Content We All Need
On Making a Marketer we really love evergreen content, so no matter how long ago we recorded an episode, you can listen back! Or new listeners can find any topic they are interested in and benefit from it regardless of the timing.
The advice and information shared on this show is absolutely one of our most important. Not only one of the best, but the most important. Every human should read Melissa’s book! I reached out to get her scheduled before I even knew she had a book coming out, and I was delighted she did.