I work within an incredible business. Agilisys is a wonderful place because of the people that make it a thing. The collective thought, creativity, drive, passion, dedication, pride, effort, resilience, care, compassion, empathy, kindness, love and friendship that are central to the stories of this incredible business make it something, somewhere, special.
Over the last week I have been immensely proud of the launch of a new strategy badged “Belonging”. Not proud because I had anything to do with the creation or direction of it, but proud because the passion of the people within the business is to create an environment where diversity and inclusion are not trendy terms, or the title of unread files or unopened documents. As a collective, the people who work here want everyone to feel that they work within a company where they belong. A place where irrespective of who they are, they can bring the whole of themselves to work, hiding nothing and being completely free to be themselves.
As a leader within the business, and as a gregarious and sometimes overly loud individual I have paused to reflect several times during the development, promotion and launch of this initiative. I wanted to be transparent and authentic about the reflection I have undertaken because I don’t want to sign up to the strategy and make pledges lightly.
I know that I have said and done things in the past that may have caused others to feel that they could not be themselves, or to feel as though they do not belong. In this video which I watched last week, Carlton Cole talks about his regret at being part of an environment in which a football player, who we all now know to be a proudly, openly gay man and leader in the sport, could not be himself.
The video has made me reflect on the environment I have helped create in the past and even more importantly ask myself, “how will I create an inclusive environment in the future”. Whether I have or have not actually left anybody feeling this way, I may never know. However as I look back I do know that if I haven’t, it is more luck than judgement and so as we launch this strategy, I want to be more intentional about creating a positive and inclusive environment which celebrates diversity and allows everybody to feel as though they truly belong.
I want to use the influence I have today to create a safe environment in which the organisation’s leaders of tomorrow, can rise up from any background, circumstance, religion, belief, gender, race or live with any disability. In order to do this we need to be willing to discuss and challenge and learn how to create an environment where diversity is celebrated and everyone is included.
It won’t all be plain sailing, we (especially me!) will get some things wrong. But I am confident that the launch of this strategy continues us on a journey of inclusivity and diversity where people from all walks of life can find a home and write an exciting new chapter in their stories, and in the story of our business.