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Inclusion and Diversity

Last week, I gave an internal talk to our Cisco Inclusion and Diversity Ambassadors on “How to demonstrate Inclusion in 5 Simple Steps”. I am a firm believe that Inclusion and Diversity is not what I call an “extra-curricular activity” but is an inexhaustible tool that should be woven into every aspect of our culture and all of our interactions at Cisco, both inside and out. And the things we do to weave this tighter into our company culture doesn’t have to be rocket science. We can take small, yet significant, steps to accomplish this in the way we interact with people and how we present ourselves.

  1. Take some time to get to know our colleagues. How well do you know the people you work with? Do they take their children to work early in the morning, meaning they are unavailable for early morning meetings? What religion do they follow and have you marked these religious days in your calendar? Do they work from home on some days and therefore would be unavailable for face-to-face meetings? Getting to know your colleagues and peers could have a bigger impact than you think.
  2. Management by Wandering Around. Do you reserve some time each week to simple wander around the office? This style of management has been proven to have benefits for both the manager and the employee including open dialogue, reducing stress and opportunities to deal with big problems before they become big. For more information, click here.
  3. When you send an email, list your recipient’s/recipients’ time zones. I think this is a great tip. If you are based in the U.K. and the person you are emailing lives in California, list their time zone ahead of yours. For example, “I’ve scheduled a meeting for us on Tuesday, 15th January at 9 a.m. PST”. This will have benefits for both sides – it will reduce the number of meetings set up during inconvenient times and also helps the recipient to ensure they are available.
  4. Use Outlook’s Calendar features. Did you know you can add holidays and additional time zones to your Outlook? Simply go to Outlook Options and click on the Calendar tab.
  5. Open your meeting agenda. A couple of days before a meeting reach out to the attendees and ask them what they would like to include on the agenda. This is an easy win to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to decide what should be discussed. Also, when you begin your meeting “go around the table” and make sure everyone is clear on who is present. This avoids those uncomfortable “oh hi , I didn’t realise you were on the call…”

 These are just a selection of steps we can take to become more inclusive, diverse and stronger businesses. Do you have any tips you can share with our readers? Post them in the comments box below!

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