How Do We Create Companies that Allow Everyone to Thrive? | Blog

How Do We Create Companies that Allow Everyone to Thrive?

In my previous role as an executive leading talent management, leadership development, and organizational development functions, I have been responsible for developing, coaching, and supporting new leaders as they transition into new roles. Individuals were often hired from outside, as well as promoted from within the company.

Over the years, I noticed that it felt a bit “hit or miss” when we hired from outside. Meaning, not everyone would live up to expectations or integrate successfully into the company or their roles. We often attributed this to a “bad hire.” It looked like we missed something important in the interview process, or they just weren't “a fit” culturally.

One hire, in particular, began to blow up those theories for me. To take our company in a new innovative direction and explore new product offerings, we knew we needed to hire someone from outside to meet the demands of an emerging market. We needed fresh thinking – someone that didn't think like us. Someone with experience outside of our usual wheelhouse and knew this new market potential in a way that no one else did within our company. We purposefully set out to find a “unicorn.”

During the hiring process, we were excited and energized by the candidates. We were thrilled to meet individuals that knew more than we did – people who thought outside of the box and brought something different to the table. We found our unicorn and could not wait to see what they would bring to our company.

This was when I noticed a flaw in our previous theories about why some new hires succeeded and others didn't.

Shortly after this executive was hired, I started to notice a buzz of discontent within the organization. People were not warming up to this new hire. There were some grunts of displeasure about his ideas and about him trying to change things. The mumblings ranged from, “He doesn't get it” to “Who does he think he is?”.

This is when it hit me. He was doing exactly what we hired him to do, yet we were resisting it as a company in general. I started to see that cultural fit might also be another way in which we ask people to conform to us. You either conform to our cultural norms, or you won't succeed. And the only way to conform is to be like us.

We say we want diversity of thought, new ideas, fresh thinking, and innovation in our companies, yet when we get diverse individuals, people who think outside the box, they often fail to thrive. Is that an indication of a bad fit or a culture that needs to do more to help diverse people thrive? 

Innovation, engagement, and job satisfaction is linked to diversity of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. Company cultures that create environments for this diversity to exist and thrive, will continue to lead the way for others. 

Over the last ten years, my work has focused on how our minds and clarity of mind have direct implications on our ability to bring fresh ideas, resilience, and fulfillment to our work.

This last year, as I've reflected on my own desire for more inclusivity and the desire many companies of all sizes have for more diversity and inclusion in their organizations, I've started to see that one of the main ingredients we may be missing is a company's ability to welcome, value and create environments where people with diverse backgrounds, ideas and experiences can actually thrive and contribute.

For businesses, inclusion is a value and a key ingredient in success and in keeping up with the times. Looking at our company cultures and our ability to examine the culture's capacity to welcome and invite new perspectives, new ways of thinking, new ideas, and ways of communicating is essential if we want more innovation and inclusivity.

Are people who look different and think differently in positions of power, shaping strategies and direction? Do we have the right systems in place that give diverse perspectives the space to have a voice, contribute, and add value?

In these times and with the need for more innovation, looking through the lens of inclusion is not only leading-edge, but a powerful way forward for organizations small and large.

As part of my new interview series, “Conversations that Transform,” I'm excited to introduce you to Donald King & Kurt Wootton, co-founders of Lift Every Voice. This is a two-part interview where Don and Kurt share their experience in helping organizations create inclusive cultures that thrive by setting up the systems and shifts from within that ultimately value and lift every voice.

Click video below to watch Part 2:



If you would also like to watch Part 1, you can do that here.

If you would like to learn more about Don & Kurt and Lift Every Voice, please check out their website and the upcoming Lift Every Voice Institute taking place in April.



“Innovation is directly linked to diversity of thoughts, ideas and perspectives. Company cultures that create environments for this diversity to exist and thrive, will continue to lead the way for others.”

Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work. -Andres Tapia

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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at 



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