Dess Wood’s top thoughts on the benefits of inclusive
workplace discussions

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365 days. 26 exchanges. 1,300 thoughts rated 30,000 times. Over the past year, Dessalen Wood has used Thoughtexchange a lot. The Cineplex VP of Talent Development has launched unfiltered company conversations on topics ranging from corporate learning to leadership development and company culture.

In our Thoughtexchange Virtual Event earlier this week, Dess shared what she’s learned from inclusive workplace discussions in her organization. Here are some key thoughts from her talk. We hope they’re helpful when planning your next company or team conversation.

Join the conversation

If you hadn’t asked the question, nobody would have thought it. Right? Wrong, says Dess: “You’re not starting a conversation, you’re joining a conversation We didn’t start a conversation by asking our teams questions. We just joined a conversation they were having without us.”

Create authentic connection

“There’s a vulnerability in asking the question. There’s also a tremendous amount of courage initially, until you realized that you’re able to answer—even by answering that you can’t do anything about it right now. People feel that authentic sense of connection.”

Access the BEST ideas

Extroverts and people who are most connected to the leader often dominate discussions. However, Dess notes: “When you’re using something like Thoughtexchange, you’re actually getting everybody’s thoughts. Someone who has maybe not spoken up for months because they’re just not sure this is the time and the place, their opinion can really be the groundbreaking one.”

Act fast

“I think prioritization is one of the biggest challenges we’re facing. It’s not that we don’t want to act on things. It’s just that we can’t decide on what to act on because there’s too much. And in that swamp of information, we almost just want to run for our lives. (With Thoughtexchange) you get the prioritization, you don’t have a lot of data to manage, and it happens in real time.”

Increase credibility & trust

“I think the end result of Thoughtexchange is you will probably have more dialogues that are open and safe because you’ll have created a climate where leaders are demonstrating their ability to be mature in the face of unpopular feelings. That maturity wins them a lot of credibility and trust.”

Accelerate change

“When you have high credibility and high trust, you can make some pretty risky changes to the organization and some difficult decisions, and you’ll have the support of your team. I think this is a great tool for leaders to gain a higher level of trust.”