Workday Podcast: How Inclusion Spurs Innovation

When teams build upon each other's diverse ideas, the results can be powerful. Frans Johansson, author and CEO of The Medici Group, reflects on why it’s so vital for business leaders to embrace diversity and inclusion.

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Audio also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

In the corporate world, inclusion is about creating a workplace that nurtures a sense of belonging and psychological safety where all people can do their best work. Unfortunately, according to a 2020 McKinsey report, almost half of the survey respondents did not feel very included in their organizations. That same report found that most employees, regardless of gender, generation, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, said they encountered barriers to a sense of inclusion. 

I spoke with Frans Johansson, CEO of The Medici Group and author of “The Medici Effect,” about how inclusion fuels innovation and how truly successful companies cultivate a sense of belonging. Below are highlights from our conversation, edited for clarity. You can find more Workday Podcast episodes here.

  • “The conversations I'm having now [about diversity and inclusion] are deeper and more serious, and there is a distinct desire to make real progress for at least two reasons. One is because we should. And the second is because there's acute awareness that [protests for social justice are] going to happen again. And when it does, people will hold this company or leadership to account. ‘Were we able to move the needle between last time and this? Has there been progress?’ And the answer must be yes.”

  • “What I'm seeing at C-suite levels is an immense desire to make this into an overall part of business. How can I, as the CEO, speak with authenticity and genuineness about diversity, equity, and inclusion, but also make sure that I’m speaking to the business success of the company I’m running? I've never had more conversations about that than I have over the past six months.”

  • “What is going to move the needle is experience. I believe leaders make decisions based off of a simple heuristic. ‘Has what I'm trying to do now worked in the past or hasn't it? Whatever's worked in the past, I'm going to do more of. And whatever didn't, well, I'm going to try to stay away from that.’ It's not completely black or white, but it's a fairly simple way of understanding decision making. We need leaders to experience the positive business benefits of diversity and inclusion.”

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