“Everyone wants to earn, learn and belong. These are universal human hungers.”
Great comment from Angela Blanchard, President Emerita at BakerRipley & Senior Fellow at Brown University, last week on DisrupTV. The show themed around inclusiveness, not just in business but through every aspect of our lives.
Angela works with displaced individuals brought or forced into new communities (due to natural disasters for example) and helps government entities and other organizations effectively integrate and serve them. She explained that people don’t want handouts; they just want to be part of the story.
As leaders in these types of situations or even in business, the biggest piece is empathy. Clear and simple. Be thoughtful and sensitive to what came before you and understand every new project we take on is also an end to someone else’s story, hard work or livelihood. It’s all about trust in leading through disruption.
She also explained the importance of improvisation and understanding the resources in your arena. What you did last time may not work, so be nimble and work with what you have at hand. This interview is a must-watch; I even got goosebumps!
The theme of inclusiveness continued with Tim Springer, Founder & CEO at Level Access. His organization focuses on digital inclusiveness and making technology a profound force in the lives of individuals with disabilities. We have to ask ourselves, “how can WE change the world and outcomes of people’s lives?” Again, empathy and understanding are key to making our products, organizations and world better for everyone.
The term disability seems to mean “worse” or “not normal” in our society. We need to flip the script. It’s not about solving problems but enhancing the skills they bring to the table. While each individual may have a shortcoming, they also have advanced skills that should be empowered with the right tools in place. Leaders should embrace these unique qualities in their workforce and also work with companies like Level Access to ensure their products and offerings are accessible and optimized for everyone. It’s not just the law but also an essential piece for building a stronger, more inclusive world.
Tim also shared some great advice as an entrepreneur on building a business and the process and decisions behind VC funding.
“Leadership comes from all walks of life, not just the C Suite,” explained Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. Sometimes it comes from outside with change agents or from team members fresh out of school. Be inclusive in your brainstorming, planning, and programs. The traditional hierarchy of companies is not the best way to succeed in today’s environment. With the impact of technology, digital transformation and shifting business models, our environments are changing faster than we realize, and sometimes it’s too late.
With big change, there’s certainly a high failure rate. Break things down into manageable programs and projects and be ready to shift when the window opens. Get out there quickly with what’s working and cut what’s not. Dion shared some great case studies on effective leadership and programs that are thriving in this new exponential and constantly changing business ecosystem.
This is just a small glimpse at the great advice shared during the show. Please check out the full discussions in the video replay here or the podcast. Special thanks to our guest host this week, Alan Lepofsky, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research.
Tune in every week for DisrupTV, hosted by Vala Afshar and R “Ray” Wang, on Fridays 11 AM PT/2 PM ET. Ensure inclusiveness is at the center to build a strong, rewarding environment for all of us.