“Diversity and Inclusion, not another add on?” asks John incredulously, as soon as you have finished speaking. “Tell me it isn’t true?”
You look up wearily into your Zoom screen and see your leadership team look back at you with disbelief.
“Look Kim, we know Black Lives Matter and that we don’t have enough diversity in our company but … you know; we have a lot on our plates at the moment. Why are you raising Diversity and Inclusion now? Don’t we have enough to do? asks the Ops Director.
You look at the leadership team, and notice just how homogeneous they are. You take a deep breath, and wonder … ‘how do I take this discussion forward?’
This is a common occurrence right now, whether you are a small or large company, private or public, profit for purpose or not for profit.
It’s a struggle that many of us face.
I also know that you are aware that diversity brings real competitive advantage. A recent Mckinsey report highlighted the following:
- Companies with more than 30% women executives outperform other companies by 10-30%
- Ethnic and culturally diverse companies in the top quartile out performed the bottom by 36%
- In fact their data set shows the performance gap widening substantially between the ethnically and culturally diverse companies and the others.
However, you’ve told them this – actually you have shared a number of facts and figures on the power of diversity, to no avail. What now?
Well, part of the problem is that Diversity and Inclusion is seen as an add on and therefore it is forced to compete for the time of the busy leader. One of the things that Maverick Leaders understand is the need to give someone a compelling reason for change.
So what’s the compelling reason for change around Diversity and Inclusion? This is something that you will need to figure out yourself, or ask someone like me to help you assess it. For some it will be a financial reason, or a moral one, for others something else.
(In the conversation above for The Maverick Paradox Podcast I speak to Woosh Raza about whether diversity is really a philosophy and we also ponder on why HR should have the uncomfortable conversation now. Have a listen to get another sense of why your customers and employees want you to have the conversation now).
Effective Maverick Leaders see Diversity and Inclusion as a facet of good leadership. Therefore they focus on the Diversity Impact that they and their company’s make.
Take Regenerate UK for example.
Regenerate UK is an amazing charity, they live inside the community and alongside the people they support.
They have a big vision and a big reach, helping individuals from 11-30 on a number of initiatives that enables them to thrive. Regenerate UK do so much, here is a small sample:
- Get leading programme 18-30 year olds
- Mentoring with local schools
- Supporting Youth Workers
- Roehampton Community Boxes – feeding 300 families a week since Covid-19 began
- Running the last Youth Centre in SW15
- Feel Good Bakery – providing jobs for NEETS
- Wellbeing events
- Trauma Counselling
So, it was no surprise to me that they see Diversity of thought and their Diversity Impact as an essential to know, understand and develop. Here is a short video of Andy Smith, CEO talking about the impact of The Diversity Impact Programme that my colleague Celia Bourne from The Change Maker Group and I designed and delivered for them.
So is Diversity and Inclusion an inconvenient add on? It shouldn’t be. Maverick Leaders understand that your Diversity Impact is something that gives you a competitive advantage and enable to support your local community and stakeholders.
Your ability to work for the greater good and meet your organisation’s objectives are greatly enhanced when you embrace the diversity of all.
If you want to find out more then …