Diversifying the Workforce
There are many conversations and initiatives by companies large and small to diversify their leadership and overall workforce. What does that really mean? Well, it means someone glanced around at the leadership team and noticed everyone on it resembled each other (physically and mentally).
Why is this bad? For many reasons, first ask yourself how can the business you support understand your needs when they don’t understand you? A businesses leadership team should reflect the communities they serve, period!
All in all, the idea of diversity means the company and its leadership team should reflect the population. If you have a global company you should have multiple races, religions, ethnicities, age groups across your leadership team that represent the global economy you serve.
Why is this beneficial? Well I never thought you’d ask…
This is beneficial to your business because internal leadership can represent wants, needs and expectations of their respective group. Moreover, there is less opportunity for companies to fail at their strategy because there is diverse thought and experience to assist with guiding strategic direction of a company. Different types of people will ask different types of questions; likely questions the company should ask to determine products and services.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say all the senior leaders went to the hmmmm Harvard University. It is likely they all grew up in similar households with similar average incomes that were probably higher than the average consumer. Moreover these neighborhoods probably had other similarities such as, higher than average home ownership and higher than average graduation rates. This means there likely were many thriving stores and businesses competing for consumers and great price points (I will explain more on that in a separate blog). Ultimately, though these leaders are smart and highly educated it will be difficult for them to all understand lower income families and household needs. So if you are wondering how they have been doing it successfully all this time. Well, they do through statistical market analysis but (and this is a really big BUT) analysis will not tell the observers about culture. Culture is where this leadership team gets lost sometimes. There are many examples of companies making bad decisions to expand into new markets (new cultures) and failing miserably.
Why people choose to spend their money and how they value items cannot always be known through a survey. Moreover, small things like slogans and brand names do not always translate the same in every culture. If no one can represent that to the leadership team it is likely a very small mistake that will turn a venture into a pitfall. It takes a person who lives within that culture to understand the expectation and values of the people who will consume the product. This is why diversity within leadership roles and all other roles is so important.
Over the next few weeks I will deliver what I believe are true changes organizations should focus on to have a truly diverse leadership team.