Mo: Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to this week’s everyday inclusion and belonging where we talk about everything under the sun when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging and Kevin and I were introduced maybe about a month, two months ago.

It was right when his phenomenal book is coming out and you will see me plug this probably 12 different times in the conversation Kevin and I are about to have.

My background is org dev and a lot of change management and I see everything that we’re doing around creating inclusive cultures as one big transformational daily culture change. Kevin, I’m going to let you introduce yourself and then we’re going to dig in because I gave him a preview of like the thousand questions I want to ask him today and I will get through it. Kevin, the amazing work that you and the I4CP team are doing, tell us all about it.

Kevin: Thanks Mo, appreciate it. Well yeah, it’s great to be here today. I’m thrilled with the reception of the book that just came out a couple months ago, but I’ll give you a little bit of background. I’m the CEO and co-founder of I4 CP, which stands for the Institute for Corporate Productivity.

And we’re doing more HR research than just about anybody on the planet, always with a business lens of what our high-performance organizations doing differently with their people practices versus low performance organizations.

Inclusive Culture Next Practices

And so, we have a team of analysts that goes out and researches a variety of different HR topics and while we come up with a lot of best practices, what we really hang our hat on are next practices and we define those as practices where we see a very strong correlation to market performance or bottom-line business impact.

Yet not a lot of companies have yet implemented that practice and a couple of years ago we did one of the biggest research studies I’ve seen on culture and how to change culture, and that’s really the basis of the book which is now in its third printing.

It’s been the number one new release on Amazon and a dozen different categories. It’s the bestseller list in several other categories today, and I’ve been really excited by the reception that it’s had.

Mo: Well and I and I love it because it really is truly a blueprint and then the stories that you weave in in terms of you know, here’s what’s actually happened in some of these next practice companies.

So, let’s talk about this idea of just first and foremost that healthy cultures embrace change. I know that you say, and sometimes they actually instigate change, and that has certainly if you look at the past 16 months it’s really served companies well, hasn’t it.

Kevin: Yeah, if there’s anything that’s brought out, the necessity to be agile and embrace change, it’s the pandemic. Our research has shown this for years. We did a research study a few years ago called the 3A’s of organizational agility.

And in that study, it was very clear that companies where employees say they hate change, or you know they hope things don’t change they typically are in low performing organizations.

And companies where the employee base will say they not only feel change is normal, but they almost enjoy it and they take advantage of change. Those are high performing organizations and I think most CEOs would like to have a workforce that embraces agility with passion and uh, like you said, even intentionally shakes things up.

I’ve seen several companies who do that on a regular basis, by moving people on a regular basis, reorganizing on a regular basis, they’re just constantly in motion, and I think those tend to be healthier companies frankly, even though there are some people out there that don’t want that, they don’t want the change. That change keeps you agile and also is more well-rounded for the whole organization.

There are so many benefits to the individual from talent mobility and I talk about that at the end of the book, but also to the organization itself just from a communication collaboration standpoint.

You know, making sure that the organization is never at a standstill I think is always a good thing.

Mo: You know, we really talk about inclusion being woven into daily culture and this idea that you’re never, ever done and it’s always changing when it comes to what you’re doing around those everyday inclusive behaviors.

And this whole growth mindset and having a growth mindset is absolutely about embracing change.

Oh, I learn something new, I hit this, I’m learning something like how to do this better or how to…

And so, when we’re talking about inclusive behaviors, those are what make up inclusive cultures right, that every day. I want to dig in to the blueprint, so let’s talk about the first step, which you talk about developing and deploying a comprehensive listening strategy.

Kevin: Yeah, and before we get into that, let me give a little bit of baseline here for how the book came about.

Most people will use the term culture transformation when they talk about culture change. If you Google that, you’ll get over a million hits. And we were using that term originally as well when we did the research study.

Inclusive Culture Renovation

But as we got into it, I realized that many of the companies that were very successful at culture change they weren’t transforming their culture, they weren’t starting from scratch and making it something completely different. Instead, they were renovating their culture and keeping what made them great originally going forward.

That’s where the name came about, but the basis of the research study was trying to figure out, is there a commonality in the companies that succeed that we could draw out and you know, help other companies who were trying to change their culture with more of that blueprint. Our research and frankly every other study I’ve ever read on this says the same thing.

Only 15% of companies that try to change their cultures actually succeed. So, we honed in on that 15% and from it created the blueprint and the 18 action steps that make up the book that companies can follow in order to successfully ch