Engagement requires inclusion.

selective focus photo of DJ mixer

But what is inclusion? I can tell you, in this context, it has nothing to do with different races, genders, creeds, or religious persuasions, it has to do with involvement.

Have you ever worked in or are you currently working in a place where your leadership doesn’t involve anyone but themselves in anything. In other words, no ideas from anyone other than leaders are moved forward. No innovations are made unless the leaders have input. No one but leaders really own anything and everyone else is just a drone to do and never think. Ever experienced that?

How about customers? Are they involved or do they just buy stuff? Are your customers part of the conversation? Do they have input on quality of service and quality of product? Does your organization have channels for customers to communicate with the company as well as each other? Do you make it possible for your customers to love your products and your company? Have you created a way for a community to develop?

Input, participation, and community, this is inclusion, and this inclusion gives people a sense that they are vital cogs in the lifeblood of the enterprise. So if you want your organization to thrive, you must pump this lifeblood by including people (employees and customers) as valuable members of the conversation.

But you may not like that. You may want to keep the club exclusive. But exclusivity means less. Less ideas, less innovation, less productivity, less understanding, less learning, less interest, less buying, and just less of almost everything. So like it or not, if you want more from your business, inclusion is necessary if not mandatory.

To be blunt, if you want to thrive, you need to include employees and customers continuously. Ask more and listen more. Empower more and encourage more. Get people involved, get them to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. If you want more engagement, you must lead the inclusion evolution.

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