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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: Nov 2018

By Ian Dodds – Lotus Award Winner 2017 Lifetime Achievement for Pioneering Inclusive Cultures

Inclusion is now recognised as mainstream to business success and here’s how to make it happen

The Inclusion Imperative, a book by Stephen Frost, a Harvard Fellow powerfully demonstrates that inclusion is mainstream to business success and particularly in these times of VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity). Moreover, the McKinsey Insight for January 2014 states: “To ensure that corporate culture supports—not hinders—the ability of women to reach top management, companies must address mind-sets and develop a more inclusive, holistic diversity agenda.” Hence building an inclusive culture is now recognised as the means to increase the representation of women in senior management. Of course, regular readers will know that IDC has been saying both of these things in our monthly blogs for a long time.

IDC is differentiated from many of its competitors by having successfully delivered Inclusion in many client organisations. We are able to achieve this success through having the in-depth behavioural change knowhow needed. This has been acquired from our long experience of delivering culture change and my elected membership of the NTL Institute of Applied Behavioural Science, the leading knowledge body in the world on behavioural change and leadership and organisational development.

Our approach to building an inclusive culture involves following the 5 Stages of Change (Prof Kurt Lewin). Hence, in Stage 1, ‘Unfreeze’, we conduct an Inclusion diagnostic to understand the key behavioural change issues. The diagnostic also generates quotes or stories, which can, where appropriate, be scripted into interactive theatre scenarios. This is important because the intellectual business case for inclusion needs to be reinforced by quotes and stories of experiences by clients’ employees of exclusion and unconscious bias. These make an emotional impact to create the will to act by senior management.

In Stage 2, ‘Mobilise’ we help our clients establish an Inclusion Steering Group. The role of this body is to:

  1. Formulate an Inclusion strategy taking account of the diagnostic findings and have this agreed with the leadership team and sponsored by them.

  2. Establish any task/project groups needed to work up Inclusion policies and practices, e.g. on flexible working.

  3. Monitor progress with the implementation of the Inclusion strategy and address any barriers to progress and identify and publicise success stories.

In Stage 3, ‘Realise’ the Inclusion strategy is rolled out across the client’ organisation and communicated. The communication takes into account the Beckhard Change Equation by:

  1. Offering a vision of future success achieved by Inclusion being the way things are done.

  2. Generating dissatisfaction because the world has changed, and Inclusion is needed for future success.

  3. The actions that will be taken, including those needed to enable everyone to be successful in an Inclusive organisation.

In Stage 4, ‘Embed’, the leadership takes action to ensure each one of them is a role model exemplar in inclusive behaviour. This is because leadership behaviour is the most powerful driver of change (Prof Ed Schein). Also, business and, especially, the people processes are changed as necessary to take account of Inclusion needs and incorporate best practices.

In Stage 5, ‘Sustain’ is the stage when internal change agents are trained to sustain Inclusion practices and behaviours. The internal change agents train middle and front-line managers in interactive effectiveness to lead great teams (this is most effectively done using IDC’s interactive behaviours tool which was described in IDC’s blog Feb 2014). Finally, this is the stage when success stories are publicised to reinforce the behavioural change.

If you would like to know more about our approach to building high performance, inclusive cultures, or what we call leveraging The Power of Inclusion, please contact us.

Dr Ian Dodds,



IDC Academy Online: http://idcacademyonline.com/

29 Nov 2018

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