Articles

from KRISTIN ENGVIG

Embrace your crazy skills and make space for new ideas

We know today that one of the key “ingredients” of a happy life is to be kind to others, including to nature herself. This kindness can relate to any area of your life from making an extra effort at work, to supporting a colleague with her deadline, helping someone cross the street, or treating nature well by reducing waste and creating beauty in our surroundings.

The great thing about living right now is that we have excellent research to back this way of life.* And even if it seems a bit crazy, remember that one of the skills that futurists talk about adding to your toolbox is “mad skills.”** I know that your exceptional talent is your super power – doing something not many others can, thinking outside the box and coming up with seemingly crazy ideas, products or ways. Your craziness could be among the many things, big or small, that bring humanity forward. The craziness may also never become anything at all. Regardless, we must create inclusion and acceptance for what is a bit outside of the box if we are to innovate and create a future different from the now.

Let’s talk more about creating inclusive organisations. I think you will agree with me that work environments impact how we individually feel and perform. Stimulating discussions with colleagues from an array of backgrounds generate new ideas and enable you to create more and produce better. Feeling safe to speak up can lead to amazing innovations and ensures that issues come to the surface before they reach larger dimensions.

The #metoo campaign, the #HeforShe campaign, Time’s Up and the wave of dismissals of people in power are raising fundamental questions about how we interact with each other. Inclusion has not always been easy, but why not?

Perhaps you have experienced work cultures where manipulative behaviour and power games are the norm, where speaking up feels unsafe for a variety of reasons ranging from risking humiliation or having someone steal your idea. A crazy idea coming to you in such a place would probably not be met with a feeling of excitement or joy. Yes, toxic environments exist, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Never.

As real WINners, we can change the world by being inclusive. Moving to the next level in creating healthy organizations and freedom for all requires that we stay informed and listen inside as well as outside, speak up and set firm boundaries.

Next week we are gathering a group of expert practitioners and providing a platform for women and men working in a wide range of organizations to share their experiences in creating inclusive organizations where it is safe to speak up, where there is space for new ideas, solutions and innovations to emerge.

We will do a Facebook live for some of the session should you wish to join. Even if you are unable to join us in Geneva or digitally, I encourage you to be with us in spirit and reflect :

How do we overcome the hurdles that prevent us from being ourselves, feeling valued, checking in, speaking out and stepping up? What are the meaningful innovations that could stem from a culture of inclusion? How can we be the highest versions of ourselves?

As a business leader told me today, “Kristin, there is a gender fatigue out there. Inclusion doesn’t work, it takes too long, we have been speaking about it for years.”

We might have been speaking about it for years but it is not about speaking anymore. We have to integrate it in our behaviour, in our listening and in our consciousness. As we get more and more aware of our biases and behaviours, we learn to catch ourselves each time we think, talk and act in a non-inclusive way. We have to allow ourselves to be challenged and embrace the process as we journal, reflect, meditate and open ourselves up to embracing diversity differently. This is how we will learn and grow.

And then… in these frenzied times, let us pay attention to those around us. Without generosity you might have a hard time practising inclusion. So, here’s to being kind as we shape the world, work and our very lives in a way that might actually work for all. And, according to the research, happiness may then come our way too.

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