The social ills that plague our country and world are alive and well within our organizations. Contrary to what some would like to believe, people’s preconceptions come with them to work. In fact, almost 30 years after the Department of Labor published The Glass Ceiling Initiative, organizations are grappling with hiring, promoting and retaining minorities & women at management, senior and executive levels. Ironically, during that same 30 years we experienced immense advances in technology. Socially, we continue to struggle with issues related to sexism, racism, just about everything that makes us different. The organization impact is so profound that women and minorities are virtually invisible beyond management levels. Making the glass ceiling more like a padded cell.
Conscious and unconscious bias affects quality decision-making. A leader making people decisions related to: hiring, developing, retaining, promoting, compensating, engaging… talent are influenced by their preconceptions whether they are aware of them or not. Can this be overcome? Absolutely, with self-awareness and self-imposed accountability practices. As well, we must emulate the same determination used to tackle other critical initiatives. Unfortunately, what currently exists is a diversity and inclusion narrative that reads like the definition of insanity: repeatedly doing the same things and expecting a different result.
There are a myriad of reasons for the lack of sustainable progress related to diversity and inclusion. Noted below are “13”. I believe that at the core of this failure are two human conditions: scarcity mentality and ego. But that’s not the point of this discussion. This discussion is to call attention to the opportunities that continue to exist because of leadership and talent management deficiencies. My hope is that a little self-reflection will inspire the kind of action that creates meaningful results.
- Diversity & Inclusion is viewed as a compliance initiative versus a critical aspect of business strategy.
- Board & C-Suite Members with limited exposure and relationships beyond people who look, think, and live like themselves. These constituents are unable to appropriately challenge & guide due to their own biases and inexperience.
- Executive sponsors and leaders lack the skill and emotional fortitude required to coach and confront counter-culture behaviors like exclusion, bias & discrimination.
- Leaders are consistently rewarded for valuing group think versus radical candor where diversity in thinking & innovation thrive.
- Organization systems are stuck on win/loose versus win/win employee practices.
- Talent management & development systems lack the discipline & rigor required to be effective.
- Talent assessment tools & processes quietly enable bias in the name of “fit”.
- Ill-conceived talent acquisition efforts that consistently target the same segments of a talent population under the misguided notion that they’ve tapped into the best talent in the market.
- Unrelatable and poorly skilled managers who miss opportunities to connect and influence engagement, appreciation & trust.
- Technical experts elevated to leader roles with underdeveloped emotional intelligence.
- Job assignments requiring relocations to communities that are not welcoming to minorities (and others) or have underdeveloped networks and support systems.
- Organization cultures with value systems deeply rooted in exclusivity.
- Diversity & Inclusion initiatives aren’t a component of compensation and incentive targets.
Deloitte’s 2014 Global Human Capital Trends study does a good job of clarifying why diversity and inclusion is more than a marketing or recruiting campaign. Being able to leverage diverse perspectives are the only means of solving complex and challenging organizational issues. It is incomprehensible that during a time when the world is so technically connected that homogenous Boards, Executive and Management Teams is the norm. It’s an affront to every employee, investor and stakeholder that any organization could boast to be forward thinking, industry leaders, or even poised for growth. Yet there are no formal plans for developing successors; leaders aren’t held accountable for developing, leveraging & retaining talent; and there are huge gender, ethnic and other representation gaps in the talent pipeline.
We are responsible for positioning our organizations to perpetually thrive. When we get it right, a strategic focus on diversity and inclusion enables successful outcomes related to organization capability as well as, talent development and retention. Let’s get off of this roller coaster, lean in and create talent rich inclusive organizations with sustainable business models that win.
Process is essential to keeping diversity and inclusion strategies on purpose: PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT.
Check out our Success Partner-Coach Program©. It’s a proven process that operationalizes your talent development & retention goals.
Leadership Must Read: Why Smart Leaders Surround Themselves With Adversaries
Leaders have to embrace and value radical candor. Too many times, teams are distracted with performing the ceremonial dance because the leader hasn’t developed the emotional fortitude to regularly seek, hear, and manage contrary points of view. However, GREAT leaders push their teams to avoid groupthink and to exchange in the healthy discourse that comes with radical candor.
In addition to producing great products, services and financial results, you get the appreciation of your team. Employees appreciate when diverse thinking and thinking styles is valued by their leadership. Talking about a win/win!???? #leadersleading
Sometimes we get distracted with going thru the motions of living life and become disconnected with how we are living. If we aren’t careful, we end up in places that we never intended. It’s something that I’ve experienced and had to address in my own life. As an Executive Coach, this is something I’m challenged to help people change with very specific outcomes in mind. Fundamental to our success, is being cognizant of what we are nurturing in our lives. Why? Because what we feed is what grows. It’s the Spiritual Law of Sowing and Reaping. It’s also the Universal Law of Cause and Effect. There’s simply no escaping it. If you want to be treated kindly, you have to treat people well. If you offer negativity and criticism, you will receive the same. If you are loving, you will receive love. It certainly sounds simple. Yet for many, it is a constant struggle. We tend to “want” what we don’t “give”. Subsequently, we make decisions and develop beliefs and attitudes, based on a set of experiences without understanding how we contributed to the outcome. Here’s what I know for sure: When we are clear about the outcomes we want for our lives and are unwavering, persistent, and fearless in how we nurture those outcomes, we truly get to live our hearts desires.
This is the work of champions. It takes extreme courage to confront oneself and be disciplined about changing your thoughts, beliefs and actions. There will be times when you’ll want to give up. It will seem as if the outcome(s) you seek isn’t possible. But don’t stop and don’t dare turn back. A complete change in you is required. You must make the investment in order to get the return. Do the work. Release expectations of when you will begin to see the fruits of your labor without letting go of the expectation that you will see the fruits of your labor. The outcome you envision is assured. Remember, there’s no escaping it! Greatness and living well is the result of nurturing the right outcomes in your life.
Here are a few thought starters on what to feed for outcomes related to love, commitment, patience, financial success and peace. If you really want to improve your return on investment, change your investment strategy.
|OUTCOME||FEED IT WITH|
|Patience||Active Listening, Empathy, Compassion, Kindness, Self-Awareness, Maturity, Acceptance, Understanding, Selflessness, Humility, Service, Respect for Otherness, Mercy, Forgiveness, Discernment, Patience, Thoughtfulness, Relationship|
|Peace||Honest Self-Confrontation, Organization, Cleanliness, Laughter, Quiet, Connections with Nature, Meaning, Balance, Rest, Prayer, Meditation Lovingness, Guarded Tongue, Forgiveness, Kindness, Integrity, Spirituality, Compassion, Grace, Mercy, Accountability, Wisdom
|Commitment||Integrity, Love, Self-Awareness, Kindness, Honest Self-Confrontation, Transparency, Affection, Ethical Conduct, Supportive Action, Fidelity, Faithfulness, Sacrifice, Service, Relationship
|Financial Success||Discipline, Giving (time, talent, treasure), Wisdom, Financial Acumen, Integrity, Abundance Mentality, Practitioner of Excellence, Continuous Learner, Service, Respect for Money
|Love||Service, Integrity, Compassion, Kindness, Self-Love, Self-Respect, Trust, Courage, Honesty, Sensitivity, Respect, Dignity, Self-Awareness, Trust, Joy, Peace, Self-Fulfillment, Humility, Courageousness, Choices to honor others needs & wants, Virtue, Self-Control, Affirming Energy, Self-Confrontation, Spirituality, Relationships
Want to know more about the principles of Sowing & Reaping or Cause & Effect? Check it out: