Duncan Smith, ADC Associates – InnovaBuzz 189
Duncan Smith, ADC Associates
In this episode, I’m really excited to have on the InnovaBuzz podcast as my guest, Duncan Smith who is an organisational consultant and one of the leading practitioners in the area of Diversity and Inclusion.
Duncan’s core business is helping leaders work more effectively and make better decisions, helping leaders increase their capacity to build trust, hold open and honest conversations, make more inclusive decisions, build high functioning teams, use the power of diversity to solve problems and build stronger working relationships across lines of difference. Duncan has worked in 24 countries on 4 continents (North America, Europe, Australia, Asia, and the Pacific), and through ADC Associates works with a global network of D&I practitioners in 19 countries (in South America, Europe, the UK, North America South Asia, East Asia, and Africa).
On his website, Duncan states succinctly that he helps people work together, better.
In our discussion, Duncan talked to me about
- The Five Foundations of Diversity and why diversity is important
- How a focus on self-awareness – of your own culture, situation or privilege can help you embrace diversity
- The Why/Who/How framework for diversity and how it applies to innovation
Dr. Tom Verghese on episode 176 introduced us to Duncan.
Listen to the podcast to find out more.
Listen to the PodcastDiversity is how we bring people together to solve problems and make progress on the issues facing both the organisation and the world at large. – Duncan Smith, ADC Associates on #InnovaBuzz podcast Click To Tweet
Show Notes from this episode with Duncan Smith, Founder of ADC Associates
Key points and take-aways from this episode include:
- Diversity is not only how people work together effectively as teams but also how we bring people together to solve problems and make progress on the issues facing both the organisation and the world at large.
- We all carry deeply held assumptions, prejudices, and biases that have an enormous impact on our ability to work together effectively.
- The 5 Foundations of Diversity
- Similarities and Differences – noticing who is like me and who is not like me, as well as looking for commonalities.
- Majority and Minority – understanding our own perspective and how it allows us to see the situation and experience it.
- Assumptions and Biases – unpacking the assumptions we make about people on the basis of gender.
- Inclusion and Exclusion – understanding who’s included, who’s excluded, how does that work, and how do we create a more inclusive culture.
- Power and Privilege – the automatic privilege that comes with being a part of a majority and how that is expressed.
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion enable people to work together better.
- Stay open, curious, and be willing to allow yourself to make mistakes but then have the capacity to reflect on what is happening and be able to engage with people and other cultures to understand more how they are coming at things.
- Just because someone is from another culture doesn’t mean that they consciously understand what their own cultural programming is.
- For us to be able to work effectively around the world, we need to recognise that we have differences but we also need to look for commonalities and similarities.
- Leadership teams should have a clear understanding, commitment, and accountability for an inclusive culture.
- Global Diversity Inclusion Benchmarks – a group of 95 expert panelists from organisations around the world who collaborates and helps organisations determine and measure what works in terms of creating an inclusive culture.
- Diversity training can be effective but not by itself. You need a systemic approach to change the culture of an organisation and for that, you need the leadership to be behind it.
- Identity and diversity affect good management and good leadership.
- Flexibility doesn’t necessarily mean working less. It is how you manage and how you integrate your work and your life in a way that makes sense.
The Buzz – Our Innovation Round
Here are Duncan’s answers to the questions of our Innovation round. Listen to the interview to get the full scoop.
- #1 thing to be more innovative – 3 Questions – Why are you doing this? Who is it for? How are you going to do it? Be grounded and be very clear about what it is you are doing and where you are coming from.
- Best thing for new ideas – Allow them to appear rather than forcing them. Be persistent in finding new ways to realise your idea. Be persistent in being open to different ways of doing things.
- Favourite tool for innovation – Meditation, getting out into nature, and exercise.
- Keep project / client on track – Know how you work and how your clients work, and accept your natural style of working.
- Differentiate – Be yourself. Be very clear about what it is you are trying to achieve and just be authentic.
To Be a Leader
Be true to your own values. Know what it is that you want to achieve in the world and stay true to that. Stay grounded and clear about what it is that you are trying to do. We make more progress in the future when we are kept grounded in the present.
Duncan suggested I interview Bec Lloyd of Rowboat. So Bec, keep an eye on your inbox for an invitation from us to the InnovaBuzz podcast, courtesy of Duncan Smith.
Cool things about Duncan
- He is a member of the Expert Panel for the Global Inclusion and Diversity Benchmarks.
- He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Trinity College (USA) and a Master of Education from Harvard University.
- He is an accredited administrator of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.