But how do you do that, make your organisation more inclusive and future-proof? In this article we share a concrete tip with you!
Tip: with this conversation exercise you will make your company more inclusive.
Step 1: collect all opinions.
The moderator poses the question to the team and listens to the answers with a neutral attitude. This means that he or she does not enter into discussion with team members who may have contributed an idea, which the leader does not agree with at all, or who are sensitive - the leader does not respond to the content, but simply nods, listens carefully, and waits until everyone who wanted to say something has been able to contribute an idea.
Step 2: the discussion leader explicitly seeks friction
Although it may seem as if everyone has had their say now, it very often happens that certain people did not feel safe enough to give their opinion. For example, because they feel that they do not agree with the dominant opinion. Therefore, in step 2, the moderator explicitly invites the friction by asking questions like this: Does anyone have a completely different idea? Is there anything else that hasn't been said yet? Who would like to comment on this?
As soon as an employee answers, the discussion leader listens actively again - even if he does not agree with the answer at all.
Suppose, for example, that the answers in step 1 were: it's going to be a lot of fun and fun to work in that office garden; I've heard that flexplaces are very good for creativity; I think it's going to benefit social cohesion; we have to make sure that everyone tidies up their desks at night.
Then it seems as if the opinions are positive about the new workplace.
But now, in step 2, all of a sudden someone shares a completely different opinion. I'm actually up against it', says an employee, 'I don't think it's going to work out at all, in such an open office garden, it seems far too noisy and restless to me'.
Step 3: check whether that opinion is recognised in the group
It is important to take that opinion into account as well. If only because someone has an idea in a company, there are probably more people who have similar ideas - only they might not dare to express it. That's why, in step 3, the moderator will actively ask whether people recognise this opinion, the minority opinion: 'I now hear the point that an open workspace might cause more unrest and noise. Does anyone recognise this concern?
If people nod, or remain silent, the moderator can give them the floor: 'Can you tell them a bit more about it?
Chances are somebody will say: 'Yeah, well, I just have to call clients a lot and I know I'm easily distracted by others, so I just don't know how to concentrate when people are walking around me all the time or when I hear buzz everywhere'.
Ask if people recognize this concern until minority opinions are no longer expressed.
Step 4: take the concerns into account in the decision
Now it is time to examine whether the concerns expressed can be included in the decision. This way, the decision will become stronger, and will be supported by more people - if all goes well, by the whole group. This can be done by asking:
Well, there are advantages to the office garden, such as the conviviality and mutual inspiration, but there are also disadvantages, because talking without walls in between can distract people in their work. How can we ensure that people can stay focused?'
The moderator does not come up with answers himself, but lets the team come up with the answers. For example, they can say: someone who needs to make a phone call can sit in a separate quiet spot; if you want to work in a concentrated way, you can put on headphones and then we will agree together that someone like that may not be disturbed; two hours a day we all work in silence.
Step 5: take the decision, democratic
The moderator summarises the proposed solutions and adds them to the majority decision, and asks whether the team is in agreement, or if there is still something to be done? For example, 'we will be working in the office garden, at flexplaces next month, to stimulate interaction and mutual inspiration. In addition, we will ensure that everyone, at least for a few hours a day or in situations where it is necessary, can concentrate well and work in silence and tranquillity'.
This exercise offers a good start to a more inclusive form of decision making. Would you like to know more about how you can make your business more inclusive, or would you like us to help you? We are happy to do that, so please contact us!