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An Inclusive Mindset

Like many organizations, InteraWorks is exploring how to build inclusion into our culture and make it an inherent part of all we do. Rather than making inclusion an independent focus, we are exploring how to develop it as a way of being.

A core principle we practice and share with clients is that our beliefs drive what we do, and those actions create our results. So, where a new or different outcome is desired, it pays to explore your beliefs to gain insight into whether those beliefs will limit your results or direct you towards success.

As it relates to inclusion, one mindset that author Rick Hanson suggests is, “Extend the circle of “us” to include as much of the world as you possibly can.” This seems such an easy and obvious approach, so what gets in the way? Our clients have shared that when they experience the separation of “me” and “them”, it’s a result of focusing on differences. When you find yourself differing in opinions, ideas, or philosophies here are three simple tactics that will encourage a shift towards a more inclusive mindset:

Listen to Understand

Be aware of how you are listening. If you are listening to argue, defend, or persuade your point, you can rest assured you are not listening to understand (and likely not really listening at all…). Practice listening to others’ interests, what’s important to them, and what are they passionate about. Try hearing what they have to say as though you want to learn something new – perhaps you will.

Be Curious

People see the world through their lens of experiences. Be curious and seek to understand what occurred that led that person to their perspective. “Tell me more…”, “I’m curious about…” and “What led you to…” are curiosity starters clients have used with success.

Note: For “be curious” to be successful, it will require that you listen to understand. Imagine how it would feel to have someone arguing with you about your experiences.

Assume You Share Something in Common

On this one topic, perhaps you do not see things the same as others. However, if you took the time, I guarantee you could find something you have in common. It might be related to sports, parenting, books, philosophy, travel, service, the outdoors, dining, and/or movies. If you don’t have the time at this moment to uncover what it is you do share, assume that in some way, yet to be realized, they most certainly are a part of your circle of “us”. Then, later, invite a conversation to discover what you do have in common.

According to research, “the pain of social rejection is not so different from the pain of physical injury” while being included brings out the best in people. If you practice these tips, you can use what could have been a difficult conversation as an opportunity to let go of judgment and differences and instead broaden your context of a situation, protect your relationships and expand the circle of your “us”.


Author – Jennifer Wilmoth

Relationship Lead & Facilitator


About InteraWorks

InteraWorks is a global learning company on a mission to elevate the human experience at work. Specializing in professional development and performance enablement, we offer top-rated learning programs based on four defined conditions that must exist for individuals, teams including Effective Edge, Best Year Yet, and the Essentials series. Our integrated learning framework and online tools generate immediate and sustainable breakthroughs in performance. Through decades of working at all levels in enterprise companies across many industries, we’ve built a reputation for helping people and organizations harness their focus, mindset, talent and energy to produce results that matter most. 


We’ve defined four conditions that must exist for an individual, team or organization to be effective within the arena of performance and development; Accountability, Focus, Alignment, and Integrity. We’ll continue to explore these and more in our blog and look forward to your engagement and interaction with us. Stay tuned as we engage the edges.