Viewing Posts by Lily Woi
By Lily Woi
It was a pleasure presenting at PMI's Virtual Experience Series: PMXPO on 24 March, a global event attracting more than 60,000 attendees.
I presented on the topic Leading in the New Normal: Hybrid Inclusive Teams, focusing on the three key conditions needed to foster greater inclusion and more meaningful work in the workplace, all the while having fun!
Diversity is NOT the same as inclusion. Just because you have a diverse team, it doesn’t mean you have an inclusive work environment. Diversity is about recognizing and celebrating our differences. Inclusion is about belonging and valuing our differences. Leaders must have the skills to create environments where their teams thrive and talents shine! This is no longer a nice-to-have; it is a must-have, especially in the hybrid virtual work environment where change is constant.
I shared practical actions that individuals can start doing immediately to nurture psychological safety within teams, promote open feedback, and use key coaching skills to create a shared responsibility to nurture inclusive environments.
During my presentation, I received a lot of great questions and I am responding to them below.
1. How is the definition of inclusion changing?
The definition of inclusion hasn’t changed, rather it is our understanding, appreciation and ability to foster a truly inclusive environment that has evolved and will continue to evolve. Inclusion is about continually challenging our biases and misconception, developing greater awareness and understanding of diverse lived experiences and needs, and adjusting our ways of working and communicating to maintain an environment where everyone feels like they belong.
2. In cross-functional teams, how do you get all team members aligned?
Team alignment happens when everyone within your team understands and agrees on how they individually and collectively work towards a shared purpose or goals. It takes constant attention and engagement to ensure alignment, especially in large cross-functional teams as there are more degrees of complexity to consider.
I invite you to consider if you have the below three elements in place.
If you’re ever in doubt, ask your team members to share their understanding. Make it a two-way communication. It is as much on you as it is on them to achieve alignment.
3. How difficult is it to “train” being curious? How do you shift a company’s culture to one of curiosity?
It is not so much about “training” individuals to be curious. It is more about how we are fostering an environment where we are encouraged to be curious. As we advance in our careers and field of expertise, we tend to lose curiosity because we believe we know all the answers and/or feel a need or pressure to be seen as the expert. When you’re expected to constantly have the answers, you stop learning and start telling.
To promote curiosity, create safe and contained spaces where people are encouraged to unleash their creativity, try new things, have permission to fail and be supported to learn when things don’t work out. Start small and slowly expand to create a bigger space to do this.
4. How do we foster a culture where feedback can be viewed as an opportunity for curiosity and growth as opposed to a negative form of communication?
Lay a clear foundation and understanding of the purpose of feedback, that it is used for growth and development, not judgement.
Offering and receiving feedback is also a skill. Consider providing training and development to improve the ways individuals can offer and receive quality feedback. The few ways I highlighted in my presentation are:
Make offering and accepting feedback a common part of your day-to-day work activities so it feels relevant, digestible and easily actionable. Avoid piling up a list of feedback to be given later where it is no longer relevant, and it risks overwhelming the individual receiving the feedback. In those instances, feedback can be easily perceived as negative and criticism. Also, feedback can be used for both strengths-based and corrective development. Focus on how they can keep using and expanding their strengths, as well as, on areas they can further develop.
Lastly, hold individuals who misuse feedback accountable. Feedback is not criticism and should never be delivered with ill intention.
I had a great time presenting, and the full presentation will be available on-demand through 31 January 2023. Visit PMI Virtual Experience Series 2022 for more details.