Building inclusive leadership behaviours by collaborating on issues of systemic inequality

ServiceNow: Immersive Learning Experience – Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (DIBs) Leadership Summit

Building inclusive leadership behaviours by collaborating on issues of systemic inequality


ServiceNow’s annual DIBS summit’s immersive learning experience for senior leaders immersed participants in the challenges facing organizations addressing systemic inequalities around the worked while at the same time developing their inclusive leadership behaviours and collaborative problem-solving skills. The experience was a total of 5 hours in length.


In the highly competitive war for talent in the tech sector, ServiceNow appreciated that they needed a culture that not only attracted talent from diverse backgrounds but also retained them by creating a genuine sense of belonging. A flagship initiative to promote this culture is the annual DIBS Leadership Summit which brings together the 200 most senior leader leaders of the company together to focus on this issue.

ServiceNow needed a compelling and meaningful experience for this summit that aligned to the broader theme of ‘Leading Inclusively with Empathy’ and enabled participants to develop inclusive leadership behaviours such as openness and assumption testing. As a global company, they were keen to bring everyone together at the same time and therefore had carved out 2 sessions of 2.5 hours on consecutive days to host the experience virtually.


We created an experience in which participants would have the opportunity to work with the leadership of social impact organizations addressing issues of systemic inequality around the world to tackle challenges they were facing.

The cohort of 200 people was split into small groups, each of which worked in parallel on a different challenge faced by different social impact leaders. A coach supported each group, helping the participants explore the root cause of the challenge and co-create an action plan to tackle it moving forward. The coach employed an Action Learning process to help group members explore how they collaborated while they worked on the problem. Participants were also able to receive feedback from their peers in terms of how they showed up on 7 pre-identified inclusive leadership behaviours such as ‘active listening’ and ‘challenging assumptions’. Plenary sessions bookended the small group experiences to set context, explain the working methodologies, share experiences and reflection on what comes next. In total 200 participants supported 25 different organisations on 29 different challenges.


By rolling up their sleeves to actually support the organs they were partners with on their challenges, participants got a much deeper appreciation for the issues of systemic inequality that they would normally. They were also able to explore how their inclusive leadership behaviours showed up in action gathering valuable feedback from their peers that helped them to improve. The programme was highly rated by participants who appreciated the opportunity to apply their experience to address these challenges in a relatively short time.

95% of the partners that participated had more clarity on the actions they needed to take to address their challenge as a result of the experience. 94% felt confident in taking forward the actions required.

The programme won the World Institute of Action learning (WIAL) Innovation award for the way in which it applied Action Learning virtually and at scale to achieve massively positive social and business outcomes.

Emerging World winner of the WIAL Innovation Award

“Partnering with Emerging World really enabled us to push the boundaries of traditional DIBs programs. We are empowering our leaders to become agents of change to dismantle injustice in every form and to co-create an equitable world while empowering others to do so as well.”

– Megan Kollar Dwyer, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging at ServiceNow