By Shari Slate
Chief Inclusion & Collaboration Strategist
Innovation. Collaboration. Value. Key priorities in my company and also with our customers and partners. In the midst of rising to meet the challenges of contemporary realities—globalization, shifting economies, changing demographics, and rapidly advancing technologies—we’re all seeking new and better ways to create tangible value and drive sustainable growth.
At Cisco, we’ve engaged in an extensive inquiry with our customers and partners, exploring the role that inclusion plays in enabling true collaboration and in fueling innovation. Together, we’re exploring an intriguing hypothesis that identifies relationships between inclusion, collaboration and technology, and points toward the key factors that will make it possible to fully realize the potential of the diverse mind sets, skill sets, experiences, and perspectives within our organizations.
[sws_pullquote_right]“What we’re observing is what can best be described as a transition point in the evolution of the classic approach to inclusion and diversity.” [/sws_pullquote_right]
What we’re observing is what can best be described as a transition point in the evolution of the classic approach to inclusion and diversity. We believe we now have an opportunity to create new conversations and powerful next practices that will move us beyond the objective of compliance into a new level of engagement within our organizations in which the objective of inclusion is to drive value.
In the process of exploring this hypothesis, one thing is becoming clear: creating a relationship between diversity and inclusion leadership and the chief information officer is an essential step on the evolutionary path. From the viewpoint that inclusion has a direct impact on the people, processes, and technologies that ultimately enable an organization to survive—and thrive—powerful new alliances are critical.
Interested in creating a relationship with your CIO? Having a conversation about key organizational priorities and the role that both inclusion and technology can play in fulfilling them is a great place to start.
Invite your CIO to envision and articulate the impact that a highly inclusive environment could have on technology adoption and ROI. Ask the question: How can we align both inclusion and technology goals to enhance the way we collaborate across our workforce and with our customers globally, remotely, virtually, and cross-culturally?
Next, explore the role that technology plays in advancing inclusion. What tools and technologies are we employing now, or should we employ, to ensure that everyone feels welcome and able to fully participate, leverage diverse perspectives, and add value?
For those willing to deviate from the beaten path by engaging in these conversations, new realms of possibility in realizing the potential of inclusion and diversity await you. Take the first step today. Reach out to your CIO and begin the inquiry. Seek support from your fellow “evolutionary” I&D professionals. Reach out to me and share your experiences ([email protected]). Together we can blaze a new trail!
Shari Slate is Chief Inclusion and Collaboration Strategist within Cisco’s Americas Sales Organization. She is responsible for making inclusion relevant in the revenue generating arm of the business and leveraging inclusion to create value for Cisco, our partners, and every customer we sell to.