… is that they are not “nice to haves”.’ So writes Michael Bertolino from EY in a recent Forbes article about leadership in organisations, which you can read here. He lays out convincingly why this is the case, he refers to research which proves it, and he summarises succinctly what companies can do to become more diverse and inclusive. Take time to read it!
Why is it so important for us to embrace this understanding? Well, put simply, diverse perspectives around the table are more likely to provide a 360 degree view of an issue, and are more likely to lead to well-balanced decisions; if we surround ourselves by people like us, our view of the world will of necessity be limited. For these diverse perspectives to flourish, they need to feel valued and actively included, and this is not as straightforward as you might imagine; each one of us has been exposed to numerous biases over our lifetime, which are now firmly embedded as assumptions or unconscious bias. We often cannot help it – no matter how hard we try to educate ourselves, we are still likely to rate some characteristics (including but not limited to age, gender, socio-economic background, job title) as more important or worthy than others.
And yet, we need these varied perspectives if we are going to tackle the issues and challenges which face us; as Bertolino comments,
“Now, more than ever before, companies need an agile and diverse workforce”
This workforce will need to be at their best, able to draw on their diverse perspectives on the world; in other words, as Bertolino says, they will be
“guided by inclusive leaders who can draw out their people’s fullest potential, … [and] … nurture workforces that reflect the communities in which their people live.”
Diversity and inclusion: the means to helping people make the most of themselves, for the greater good. This is a short blog this week … because it has a really clear and straightforward message: let us actively embrace diversity and inclusion in our organisations!
Onwards and upwards!
Dr Helen Wright supports and coaches Boards and senior leaders in their drive towards better governance. She is also a former Trustee of Changing the Chemistry, which is committed to more diversity on Boards.