Whether you are the Chief Diversity Officer for your company, a top notch consultant in the D & I space, a CEO whose name is on the Corporate D & I vision statement, or someone who never normally thinks about this “stuff”, we are all infected by the same mind viruses.  Here are some underlying assumptions I almost unconsciously factor in when I think about the journey towards inclusion.  I like to use a systems level approach, so I have divided the list into individual, group and organizational assumptions.


  1. We are not perfect human beings
  2.  We will make mistakes across differences (Race, culture, gender etc.)
  3. We generally prefer to avoid issues that make us uncomfortable
  4. We all have unconscious biases – no exceptions
  5. We all do little things on a daily basis to exclude others
  6. We don’t know what we don’t know
  7.   We are not always aware of the impact we have on others


  1. There are groups we favor and groups we are uncomfortable with
  2. We try to be politically correct to hide our real feelings
  3. We assimilate and cover our true selves to fit in
  4. We talk to our “friends” about diversity and inclusion in ways that are not always congruent with the organizational goals on inclusion
  5. There is sometimes a disconnect between what we say and what we are thinking


  1. We roll our eyes at the thought of yet another diversity and inclusion program
  2. We are not always convinced that Diversity & Inclusion are business imperatives
  3. No one is an expert on all aspects of diversity
  4. There is much still to learn and no end in sight
  5. We believe if it cannot be measured it is not worth doing

In wrapping up this chapter, it would be safe to conclude that our deep need to feel included is playing a much larger part in our working relationships than we perhaps realize.  This is an opportunity gap in our approach to team building, productivity efforts, creativity, innovation and attracting and retaining top talent.  If people are to bring their best selves to work, they need to feel included.  However, achieving inclusion is not quite as easy as it sounds. There are a myriad of ways in which we can contribute to people not feeling included, and indeed we can even play a part in not feeling included ourselves.  What do you do on a daily basis to be inclusive? Can you catch yourself behaving in ways that exclude others?

Inclusion invites Engagement

Exclusion encourages Indifference


This article was excerpted from The Illusion of Inclusion – Global Inclusion, Unconscious Bias, and the Bottom Line by Dr. Helen Turnbull.

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