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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Willey

How to Drive Innovation Through Inclusivity: Fearless in 5

Updated: May 6, 2020

Did you know that companies that are more diverse and inclusive fared better in the 2008 economic crisis than more homogenous ones? And that they develop and launch more new products? And that a greater share of their revenue comes from innovation? In today’s climate, you need every advantage you can to survive and thrive, and that’s why in this week’s Fearless in 5 , we are focusing on how you can drive Innovation through Inclusivity.

1. Set a No Interruptions Rule: Women are interrupted 3x more than men. And now in our new normal of remote work, it’s harder than ever for marginalized team members to contribute via videoconference. Identify an Interruptions Monitor for each meeting who’s responsible for calling out when someone gets cut short.

2. Hear All Voices: Use interactive polling, chat and tools like my favorite, to allow everyone to share their ideas equally.

3. Always be an Ally: Rather than being a bystander the next time you see microaggressions or marginalized team members being ignored or interrupted, be an Upstander--not a Bystander. A simple, “hold on Jeff, I want to hear what Jenn has to say” is a great start. We teach our kids to be heroes who interject when they see bullying--let’s make sure we are practicing what we preach. You can leverage Virtual Reality technology like VR Perspectives.

4. Ditch the ‘double bind’: Research shows men need to be clear, direct and assertive to be seen as leaders. Women ALSO have to be warm, empathetic and demonstrate pro-social behaviors. Stop holding women to a higher standard; women are labeled either too bossy, brash, aggressive or bitchy when they communicate the same way men do… or too soft, or not ‘leader like’ if they communicate with more warmth. Recognize and reject the ‘double bind’ and question whether you would treat a male colleague the same.

5. Measure What Matters. You can’t build a roadmap of where to go if you don’t know where you are today. Make a commitment to understand how you fare related to gender composition, hiring, benefits, parental leave policies, mentoring programs and of course pay equity. Ask your leadership team what they are tracking today. You can check out sites like GenderFair to see how your company rates.

These are just a few of the many steps you can take to build a more inclusive and empowered culture that will drive growth, even in uncertain times. To learn more, visit Wet Cement at or contact us so we can help your organization build a strategic program to make your vision for a equal organization a reality.

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