Communication Matters — Inclusivity
Communication Matters is a research project commissioned by The Communications Network, designed to identify the foundations for effective strategic communications in the social sector. The model for successful organizations incorporates brand, strategy, culture, and action. Inclusivity is an attribute of Culture.
Inclusive organizations are diverse at all levels. The decisions they make incorporate a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives, which promotes responsiveness and adaptability.
The Gill Foundation, like many others, has worked hard to embrace inclusivity in a deep way. They describe this quality as follows: “Inclusive organizations not only have diverse individuals involved; more importantly, they are learning-centered organizations that value the perspectives and contributions of all people, and strive to incorporate the needs and viewpoints of diverse communities into the design and implementation of universal and inclusive programs.”
Inclusive thinking benefits more than just programs, however. Communication also becomes more effective when inclusivity becomes an organizational value. That’s because strategic communications requires talking and listening; an outbound behavior and an inbound one.
Inclusivity appears in many forms, ranging from diversity and cultural competency trainings to providing opportunities for partners, peers and grantees to share feedback on your organization’s performance. When organizations invest in growing the skills and systems required to truly solicit, hear and embrace a diverse set of internal and external opinions, they also expand their communication capacity.
Believers in top-down, command-and-control communications sometimes fear that too much inclusivity may dilute message potency or make an organization risk averse, but our research suggests otherwise. Time and again we see that organizations whose communication strategy is shaped by a multitude of opinions tend to be more precise, honed and focused at telling their story.
The result: greater clarity and impact.