You would never say the Vice President of Quality for McDonalds is responsible for quality outcomes. You would never think the Vice President of Customer Service for Costco is responsible for the actual service delivered (good or bad) in every store. And no one expects the Vice President of Safety to be held accountable for the actual execution of every safety procedure.
In all three instances we recognize the individual with the title (or the department taking the lead) is responsible for ensuring there are guidelines and policies in place. They are responsible for implementing education, systems and best practices that support high standards. But the actual achievement of quality, customer service and safety relies on the behaviors of people enterprise-wide.
The success of inclusion initiatives is exactly the same. There might be a VP for Diversity and Inclusion; or the Inclusion Initiative might be coordinated by the VP of Human Resources. But the actual responsibility for breathing life into the organization’s commitment to be inclusive is distributed throughout the organization.
Each manager and supervisor is responsible for communicating the company’s expectations and modeling appropriate behavior. Every individual employee either helps, or hinders, the creation of an inclusive work environment based on what they do and say on a daily basis. Every one of us contributes daily to whether or not our organizations meet the standards that have been established.
So, this week … look for opportunities to set a good example. This week, remember that inclusion is an enterprise-wide initiative and you have a vital role to play.