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IWD 2024: The power of shared values
Fri, 8th Mar 2024

Building a culture of inclusivity where everyone feels valued, heard and empowered to participate goes beyond simply treating everyone with respect. It requires intentional action and discipline to achieve it.  

Throughout my career in tech, the most effective way I’ve seen this achieved is through shared values. Not just something written on a page on a website, but through repeated use and embodiment of them throughout every level of an organisation.  When used considerately, values are at the heart of a healthy and productive work environment. They define how we treat each other, approach challenges and make decisions. When everyone understands and embraces the same core values, everyone benefits.

After spending over two decades in tech, here are the top value themes I've seen in action to encourage a more inclusive environment:

Be Authentic 
When people are encouraged to be their true selves, instead of fitting into a mould, they can do their best work.  Embrace your unique strengths and perspectives and let them shine through in your interactions and decisions. 

Confidently lead with your individual voice and build authentic connections with your team. By doing so, you will inspire others by being your genuine self. 

Model Behaviors
Behaviour modelling is the process of demonstrating desired actions so others can learn and replicate them. Be an active listener, celebrate differences, use inclusive language and encourage everyone to contribute their ideas and perspectives - this is particularly important when someone is naturally introverted - to ensure diverse perspectives are heard and infused into every decision. 

By consistently modelling these behaviours, you become a role model for others, fostering a more inclusive and equitable environment for everyone.

Empower others through mentorship
Mentorship is a powerful tool for supporting women. By sharing your hard-earned insights and experiences, you can help them navigate their careers and advocate for themselves. By providing guidance, encouragement, and a safe space for open dialogue on both personal and professional situations, you can equip your mentees with the tools and confidence they need to thrive in their careers.

And remember, mentorship isn't just a one-way door. It's a collaborative journey of learning and growth, fostering a sense of community and ultimately enriching both the mentor and the mentee. Through this powerful exchange, you can not only empower individual women but also contribute to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment for all.

Strong values act as a compass, guiding behaviour, building trust, and creating an environment where everyone can thrive. By showing up authentically, modelling inclusive behaviours, and mentoring others, you can create a ripple effect of positive change. This International Women's Day, let's commit to building workplaces where shared values empower women and everyone to reach their full potential.