Image of Charles Good on Inclusion

In recent years, organizations have realized the importance of creating inclusive cultures where everyone feels respected. But while advocating diversity, equity, and inclusion through mission statements and implicit bias training programs communicates a commitment to these values, research suggests this is not enough.

After all, culture is not defined by beliefs alone but by how people interact daily. That is why we need to move beyond mindsets and measure inclusive behaviors. Viewing inclusion as a tangible practice, with specific behaviors and actions, makes it more attainable and measurable than just an abstract aspiration or well-meaning sentiment.

IMS educator, 2023 IMS Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and best-selling author Sally Helgesen, uses this approach, which differs from the current emphasis on mindsets, assumptions, and the search for unconscious biases that has dominated organizational diversity efforts. As Sally mentions in her latest book Rising Together, while these programs have some merit and provide valuable insights, they often fail to create a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging.


Inclusion is more than just about having a diverse workforce. It involves creating a culture that values and leverages the differences within an organization. As such, promoting diversity alone is not enough to foster inclusion. Research shows that inclusion is better measured when focusing on specific behaviors contributing to an inclusive culture.

For instance, employees can be asked how frequently they observe their colleagues listening to diverse perspectives, sharing opportunities equitably, and giving credit to team members for their contributions. This helps managers and leaders understand the degree of inclusion in their organizations and communicate specific expectations for behaviors that contribute to building inclusive cultures.


Measuring inclusion behaviors is an effective way to make them visible and measurable. When inclusion behaviors are visible through feedback platforms, employees are more likely to be aware of how their actions contribute to an inclusive culture. Furthermore, measuring and tracking inclusive behaviors similarly to financial metrics can help hold leaders accountable for creating an inclusive workplace.

Measuring inclusion behaviors sends a clear message that this is a priority for the organization, and it’s something that everyone has a responsibility to contribute to. Making inclusion behaviors more visible and measurable gives employees a tangible sense of what they need to do to contribute to an inclusive culture. This facilitates greater awareness and ownership of inclusion by both employees and leadership.


Measuring inclusion behaviors can also help track organizational progress toward greater inclusion. By monitoring employees’ perceptions of how effective the organization is in promoting inclusion behaviors, leaders can identify areas where they need to improve. This data can be used to develop targeted interventions and initiatives that address challenges and foster the development of inclusive cultures.

As inclusion behaviors are tracked over time, leaders can assess the effectiveness of their initiatives and benchmark them against industry standards. This data can provide motivational insights into areas where the organization is progressing or areas where more attention is needed.

The critical need for inclusion in organizations has gained increasing traction in the past decade. While organizations have made significant strides in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, focusing solely on employees’ mindsets is not enough. Measuring inclusion behaviors can provide a tangible way to move from talk to action and create inclusive cultures where all individuals feel respected. By focusing on specific behaviors and making them visible and measurable, inclusion can be better tracked, and progress can be made over time.

For more insights on leadership and inclusivity listen to my interview with Sally Helgesen, ‘Creating an Inclusive Workplace with Sally Helgesen.’ You can also find more in my previous article on leadership, ‘The Habits Holding Female Leaders Back.’


Charles Good is the president of The Institute for Management Studies, which provides transformational learning experiences that drive behavioral change and develop exceptional leaders. Charles is an innovative and resourceful leader who specializes in bringing people together to develop creative organizational and talent strategies that enable business results. His areas of expertise include assessing organizational skill gaps and leading the design, creation and delivery of high impact, innovative learning solutions that achieve business goals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *