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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: Oct 2014

By Ian Dodds – The Inclusion Builder

Inclusive leadership drives high performance and change

I spoke this month at a leadership conference concerned with the challenge of change. My topic was Inclusive Leadership, which I see as critical for driving successful change. It has been inspirational over my career to work with a handful of inclusive leaders who have turned round: loss making businesses; failing factories; failing Civil Service offices; major IT projects that were in trouble.

What was the inclusive leadership these change champions offered? In each case they:

  1. Spent time at the front-line talking with employees in direct contact with customers and suppliers to gain insight into what was working, and what wasn’t.

  2. Offered a vision of future success, which inspired and engaged their followers.

  3. Encouraged dispersed leadership by cascading the vision down and across their organisation and asked each team leader to find out from their team members what they thought would help and hinder its delivery.

  4. Took account of the feedback in the strategy that was then formulated for delivering the change.

  5. They set up task groups to address key issues that needed to be resolved for the change strategy to be successful. These task groups included people from all levels of the organisation, including the front line.

  6. Pinpointed’ the behaviours needed to drive the change strategy with their leadership team and ensured that these included inclusive behaviours:

    • Listening to people;

    • Asking powerful questions;

    • Empowering people;

    • Ensuring support was provided to enable each employee to identify their individual talents;

    • Providing development support for each employee to develop their talents for performance now and in the future;

  7. Ensured that feedback and coaching was provided to enable each member of their leadership team to become role model exemplars in the pinpointed behaviours. Leadership behaviour is the most powerful driver of change (Prof Ed Schein)

  8. Took a whole systems view and ensured the organisational design and business processes and systems supported the change.

  9. Provided coaching and training in interactive effectiveness to all teams to ensure that team members’ views, concerns and ideas were listened to and explored.

  10. Developed a mechanism to obtain success stories arising from the change and publicised these and ensured that those that had delivered the successes were publicly recognised.

  11. Made themselves very visible to ensure that the case for change, the vision and the strategy and its progress were continually reinforced. They did this through ‘town hall meetings’ webinars and walk rounds on different sites.

As described in the Sep blog IDC considers that building an inclusive culture in which everyone is engaged and listened to is a means of significantly enabling the success of major change programmes. If you would like to discuss this in more detail please do get in touch.

Dr Ian Dodds,



29 Sep 2014

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