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It’s April. How’s your DEI program coming?

 

We’ve had Black History Month. Women’s History Month. And now, it’s April – a month tailor-made for talking about the bottom-line value of diversity in the executive suite and boardroom.

After all, April carries significant meaning for people all across the globe. This year, April includes the holidays of Easter, Passover, Ramadan, Emancipation Day – and Tax Day in the U.S. For an organization looking to understand just what diversity means, how many people fall under the umbrella, and what impact that can have on your bottom line, April is a great place to start.

The benefits of diversity and inclusion don’t derive from the color of someone’s skin or the spelling of their name, how they arrived in this country, or how they worship their God. It’s the journey they’ve been on, and the life experiences they have that can impact the group they work with. You can’t see that on first glance. By removing the traditional signals and coded language – name, school, age, gender – we can open the door wide to an exciting pool of new talent that can propel your business forward.

When people with different worldviews gather around the executive conference room table, each person brings a slightly different perspective to the situation, creating an opportunity for fresh ideas to emerge, new solutions to old problems – solutions that a more homogenous team may not ever consider.

Contrast that with the echo chamber of the typical board room, dominated by the same group of white males we see in those richly photographed annual reports. When everyone looks alike, went to the same schools, grew up in the same neighborhoods, and belong to the same country club, they all tend to think alike. This is the antithesis of innovation.

That’s why companies with the most ethnically/culturally diverse executive teams are 33% more likely to experience increased profits. At least that’s what McKinsey & Company found. And Deloitte. And Boston Consulting. And the Harvard Business Review. Over and over and over again. (Want to see the research? Drop me a line.) Think about that – one third more profitability simply from recruiting a more diverse executive leadership team.

The key, though, is to not wait for some magical future date when board seats open up, or you evolve your recruitment process to incorporate processes to create a more diverse slate of candidates. Because the longer you wait, the less the financial benefits as your competitors catch on and catch up.

So what are you going to do today? Start revising your recruiting processes, protocols, procedures? Hold your own people accountable to make HR into a profit center for your company? Or wait until next April?

The choice is yours.

Until we meet again.
Desmund Adams
CEO, Focus & Find

 

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