The Silver Lining in the Corona Virus Cloud

The Silver Lining in the Corona Virus Cloud
By Jiten Patel (2020)

The current Covid-19 lockdown has provided a great opportunity for us to read more, update our skills and to refresh ourselves with old favourites. One of mine is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by the late Stephen Covey. Originally published in 1989, it has been a constant bedside companion of mine. Covey elucidates the concept of ‘Universal Principles’ going beyond what we might call ‘subjective values’.  Here below, I provide my analysis of how Covey’s 7 Habits (or ‘principles’) are great sign-posts for Inclusive Leaders:

1.      Be Proactive
Inclusive Leaders are proactive. They make effective use of data to better understand the demographics of their workforce and their customer base/service users. They take appropriate action to close any identified gaps.

2.      Begin with the End in Mind
Inclusive Leaders create a vision of their organisation that permits everyone to achieve their full potential. They build this vision into their strategic planning and operational implementation to make it a reality.

3.      Put First Things First
Inclusive leaders recognise that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’; culture change takes time and effort. They seek to address urgent inequalities first and plan to introduce important measures that contribute to required longer term culture change.

4.      Think Win-Win
Inclusive Leaders know that, when all staff and customers/service users feel a sense of belonging, it is truly a recipe for business success.  It is not satisfactory for only one or two segments of their workforce to be successful; this limits the upside potential of the whole organisation.

5.      Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Inclusive leaders know that, as the people who hold the power, they need to inquire into the paradigms from which their team members operate. This, then allows them, then, to establish and embed a truly inclusive culture that stresses the importance of a one organisation culture rather than a one culture organisation.

6.      Synergize
Inclusive Leaders recognise the value inherent in the diversity of their organisation, which, when empowered, leads to higher performance through greater innovation and creativity. McKinsey’s 2015 Diversity Report indicated up to 35% better performance from diverse executive boards.

7.      Sharpen the Saw
Inclusive Leaders understand that, just as we need to constantly re-visit our business plans and strategies for success, the same is true of maximising the benefits derived from their diverse workforces and customer bases/service users. They therefore regularly reflect on and maximise the value of the Dynamic Diversity Matrix (see “Demystifying Diversity, a handbook to navigate equality, diversity and inclusion”, by Jiten Patel and Gamiel Yafai).


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