Creating an inclusive workplace doesn’t require inviting everyone to every meeting. If, however, I work in a culture where people:
- Rush decisions without following established processes,
- Blame poor performance on the party that’s not present,
- Claim credit for successes that aren’t theirs,
- Promote data that suits their cause (and hides their flaws)…
…then it’s in my best interest to attend every meeting that is related to my responsibilities.
Which brings us to this point: There’s a difference between meeting participants – and auditors. Participants join meetings seeking opportunities to add value. Meeting auditors multitask during meetings while screening the discussion for conversations or decisions that could cause them or their team harm. When a threat is identified, auditors speak up, eliminate the hazard, then return to auditing.
Before anyone blames the auditors for their ways, it’s wise to ask: Have we created a culture where people are compelled to only audit meetings?
In work cultures where inclusion is a part of process and a matter of principle (read: insisted upon by all employees) then employees can practice willful exclusion: they can excuse themselves from attending meetings.
It’s worth asking the team: What do we need to do so we can practice willful exclusion more frequently?