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

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

Inclusive Cultures

Developing Interactive Effectiveness is key to building an Inclusive Culture

Currently I am working with the leadership team of a well-known retailer to help them build skills in interactive effectiveness. Prof Sandy Pentland (MIT) stated in the Harvard Business Review, Apr 2012, that “interactive effectiveness is more important to a Great Team than the skills and intelligence of the team members and all of the other factors combined that go to make a Great Team.” Max Isaacs and Anton McBurnie in their book based on their research ‘The Third Circle: Interactions That Drive Results’ have shown that it is Interactive Effectiveness that enables sucessful strategy and its execution.

In a research project on Inclusive Leadership that I was involved in last year and led by Professor Gloria Moss we did interviews in 11 participating companies and an online survey in each of them. I was interested to discover that the 3 global companies which had built the most successful inclusive cultures were the only ones I had worked with. Yet the others were all household names and were likely to have used diversity and inclusive (D&I) consultants. This made me examine what it is that I am doing that makes the difference.

A key thing I do in helping clients build Inclusive Cultures is to ensure that all the managers right down to the front line are trained to become inclusive leaders by:

    • Developing interactive effectiveness skills, e.g. seeking information; checking understanding; acknowledging feelings and positive contributions; summarising; etc;

    • Empowering people;

    • Being skilled in giving effective feedback and in-the-moment coaching.

This is a process that I have used for many years to develop inclusive leaders throughout an organisation. Inclusive Leaders who are interactively effective are the key to fostering an Inclusive Culture which delivers: high performance; high levels of employee engagement; success with implementing complex change; great service to customers, clients or service users; Race and Gender equality.

However, I think the key differentiator in my success in helping my clients build high performance inclusive cultures is that I ensure all managers right down to the front line are trained in interactive effectiveness. I use an interactive effectiveness tool to do this training based on research by Morgan and Rackham which identified 16 interactive behaviours that are utilised in effective interactions. Half of these are telling behaviours and the rest seeking behaviours. I train internal Inclusion Champions to use the tool to coach managers at all levels to be interactively effective.

If you want more information on this approach, which is so successful and powerful in developing high performance Inclusive Cultures, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Dr Ian Dodds FRSA, 


29 Dec 2017

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