Two Heads Are Better Than One. Thousands - Even Millions - Are Infinitely Better!

Two Heads Are Better Than One. Thousands - Even Millions - Are Infinitely Better!

There are a wide range of tools that leaders can use to boost inclusion in their organizations. Some have existed for some time; others have emerged through technological advances and demographic demands. Inclusive leaders can effectively leverage these tools to ensure they are capturing inputs from all areas, and all members, of their organizations. Here’s a look at some tools you can readily implement in your organization:


Crowdsourcing is a term that has sprung up in the Web 2.0 age to refer to the process of actively soliciting ideas from a large group of people. Inclusive leaders can crowdsource by actively seeking input from employees, for instance, through the use of online forums, live chats or other technology-enabled media. The same process can be used externally. Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, for instance, turned to the public to solicit ads that competed to appear during the Super Bowl broadcast and had a long and successful run over several years. The campaign has been running for a number of years and has resulted in both PR buzz and sales.

Two heads are better than one. Thousands—even millions—are infinitely better!

Celebration of Great Ideas

Celebrating great ideas may seem obvious; however, celebrating ideas is something that needs to be actively incorporated into a company’s culture, whether these celebrations include tangible benefits such as bonuses, raises and promotions or more subtle perks like public or private recognition. Foursquare and other innovative 21st century companies are finding creative ways to engage employees through celebration and recognition. Foursquare, for example, has used what it calls “Demo Days” to allow staff to show off what they’re working on and gather fresh insights from others. Formulated like venture capital pitches, Demo Days are held almost weekly and employees are recognized for their innovations.


The IT world has popularized the concept of hackathons—events where programmers come together for intense collaboration around a particular project. These events could last anywhere from a day to a week in length. The concept has caught on. Today the concept is used by innovative leaders in many industries as a means of bringing people together to focus their efforts on a specific issue or innovation. Doubt whether the concept can work? Twitter was created via hackathon by a group of employees working at a company called Odeo, Inc., in San Francisco. The company still uses the concept to fuel innovation, as does Facebook, which believes that hackathons “serve as the foundation for some great (and not so great) ideas.” 

Internal Communities

Internal communities, often called Business Resource Groups (BRGs) or Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), are groups of employees with shared backgrounds, interests or characteristics that come together to share perspectives, and gain insights about each other and about their workplaces. But, while ERGs may by their nature seem exclusive, that is far from the case. They are a rich source of information, insight and understanding that others within the organization can benefit from on both personal and professional levels.

Related: Apple Takes a Big Bite of Diversity and Inclusion


Kaizen is a Sino-Japanese word which means good (zen) change (kai). It’s a philosophy that was picked up by companies like Toyota for use in work related to quality management and continuous improvement. For inclusive leaders, the use of Kaizen is tied directly to the value of leveraging employee insights and inputs to make positive change. These are typically not “big ideas,” but small, incremental improvements. Every employee in an organization participates in kaizen and all are encouraged to come up with small improvement suggestions.


A skunkworks project is an initiative in which a department is created or is tasked with working independently on a specialized project typically geared toward innovation. The idea is to allow the loosely organized team to escape the strictures and cumbersome bureaucracies of the larger organization in order to more efficiently and creatively innovate. Lockheed Martin takes credit for the origination of the term Skunk Works.

Inclusive Leadership Training

While some leaders certainly have a greater propensity for exhibiting inclusive leadership behaviors than others, it can’t be assumed that even these “naturally inclusive” leaders will be able to successfully lead their teams toward desired outcomes. Leadership training is required to ensure that leaders’ actions are aligned with the desired corporate culture and that they have the tools to serve effectively in their roles.

Yes, it takes time to nurture inclusive leaders. But the effort is well worth it. As the organization’s numbers of inclusive leaders grow, so do both internal and external benefits.

Shirley Engelmeier
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Shirley Engelmeier is the CEO & Founder of InclusionINC and Author of Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage & Becoming an Inclusive Leader: ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: March 19-23

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: March 19-23

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, March 19-23, 2018

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Multi-Factor or Not Multi-Factor? That Is the Question

Let’s pretend you are a US investor that wants to deploy some of your money overseas.  You think international developed market stocks are attractive relative to US stocks, and you also think the US dollar will decline over the period you intend to hold your investment.  — Chris Shuba

2. The Lies Spread by Bankers About Cryptocurrencies

I had a chat with The Financial Times the other day, and provided lots of background as to why I don’t think cryptocurrencies are the choice of criminals. The comment that was reported was the following ... — Chris Skinner

3. Alternative Investments? You May Need New Shock Absorbers!

During the tumultuous red and green gyrations of the capital markets this year have your clients anxiously called to ask: “What’s going on with my portfolio?” What do you do when the usually smooth ride in your luxury automobile becomes as bumpy as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in the Happiest Place on Earth? What does the average investor do? — Ted Parker

4. Why Fear of Inflation Is Rattling Investors

Inflation is a bad thing, right? It make things more expensive, right? For those of us of, let’s say, a certain vintage, we recall the runaway inflation of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. So why does the Federal Reserve – in charge of managing the country’s currency and value thereof – actually try to create inflation? It’s called the inflation targeting and it matters to your money. — Bill Acheson

5. The Best Retirement Investments for a Steady Stream of Income

As you near your 60’s, your prime earning and saving years will transition into a period of time where you get to enjoy the “fruits of your labor,” a.k.a retirement. We call this segueing from accumulation to decumulation, the period when you will be drawing from your accumulated nest egg. Dana Anspach

6. An Emerging Theme In Thematic Investing

Exchange traded funds (ETFs) are popular vehicles for market participants looking to engage in thematic investing. Thematic investing looks to take advantage of future growth trends, including disruptive technologies. Given that forward-looking approach, stock-picking in the thematic universe is equally as hard, if not harder, than in traditional market segments. — Tom Lydon

7. 8 Winning Questions You Should Be Asking Every Prospect

It’s not enough for your salespeople to be product experts, they also need to be capable of having the kind of conversations that position them as business experts and even strategic resources. — Lisa Rose

8. 10 Steps to Successful Strategic Alliances

Business growth doesn’t come from wishful thinking. As you know, it takes a lot of hard work. The growth of your business is not an option – it is a necessity. Coordinating the right mix of strategies to gain market share and improve client acquisition rates is essential to advance your firm in today’s economy. — Michelle Mosher​​​​​​​

9. Keep It Light: Harnessing Humor for Financial Marketing Success

It’s undoubtedly true that investors’ financial security is no laughing matter, and this is reflected in the stolid, dour, reliable imagery and branding that is, by and large, the industry standard. This is hardly surprising—investors need to believe they’re placing their hard-earned money in the hands of experienced, trustworthy professionals. — Alexandra Levis​​​​​​​

10. Do the Economics of a Move to Independence Really Add Up?

The number one question advisors ask when exploring a move to independence is how the economics compare to accepting a recruiting package from a major firm. It’s certainly a valid concern, because while the recruiting deals being offered by the wirehouses are down, it is still very possible for a top advisor to get a really attractive hard-to-pass-up offer. — Mindy Diamond

11. Four Big Reasons Why Short-Term Muni Bonds Should Excite You

Municipal bonds might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a sexy investment. They don’t typically command news headlines like the stock market or bitcoin. — Frank Holmes

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio