I felt thoroughly inspired by the speakers and awards at the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) conference last Thursday 10th November 2016.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the WISE organisation, they are having really important conversations around the increasing gender diversity within the predominantly male STEM job sector (science, tech, engineering and maths).

Trudy Norris-Grey (MD , Worldwide Business Development, Worldwide Public Sector, Microsoft) began the evening awards with some staggering insights into the impact automation will have on the number of jobs that traditionally held by women.  

Who you have inside an organisation or a profession will reflect how you impact those on the outside. As the adage goes, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”.

Not only is diversity and inclusion the right thing to do as a moral employer, but from the bottom line too. If your customer base is made up of a mix of people from diverse backgrounds, then it makes logical sense that the people behind the scenes designing the products and the people front of house serving the customer need to reflect this diversity.

A jury is selected to reflect society in order to make a sound judgement; this logic should be extended to the workplace. The most resilient organisations bring diversity into their workplace and work hard to reduce the impact of unconscious bias on their decision-making.

Who you have around the table will influence the discussions and decisions; two things we humans are pretty good at.  (Democracy and voting? Perhaps less so…!) The debating of ideas and resolving conflicts of opinion are often the sparks behind the most creative insights within a team. Embrace your crazy…

Applying my robot lens, diversity also mitigates the risk of creating a clone culture:  If you look out across your workplace right now, how much diversity is there? If it reminds you of the robot warehouse scene in the film I, Robot then it could be time to mix it up a little. And if everyone looks as lifeless as that sea of robots, then it could be time to engage a little.

In my experience, people can only genuinely express outward the service to their customer that they genuinely experience inward from their employer. Had your boss repeatedly cancel your 1-1? This could be the final straw that means you snap at a customer today…

Managing a team down

As Einstein said ‘we can only be what we see’.  If you want to uplift your customer happiness this week, role model it inward with your team first. The resting face of a boss probably does more to radiate or drain energy than any other factor in that moment when we glance up and scan across our workplace horizon. Just ask The White House.

Check out my discussion with the inspirational Tom Idle with his Better Business Show podcast. We chat about this concept of inside/outside and the impact that robots and AI will have on business:

The robots are coming…get your game face on.

Laura x