How Hard Should You Push Diversity?

November 27, 2012 | Diversity & Inclusion, Employee Engagement

I highly recommend reading this recent Harvard Business Review article: How Hard Should You Push Diversity? by Martin N. Davidson.

This article exposes diversity’s dirty little secret: The idea of diversity and inclusion is great, but lip-service has replaced meaningful action in the D&I space.  The evidence can be found in most executive suites and board rooms….plenty of talk about diversity and minimal diverse representation at leadership levels.

There is also lot of talk about innovation and disruptive technologies. TMI’s theoretical paradigm Inclusion for Innovation includes a disruption of the old compliance-based organizational diversity model. First of all, an organization’s diversity initiative, if it even exists, should not be simply about quotas and have-to’s. Many companies have visible and cognitive diversity, but that diversity is frequently not inclusive of all organizational levels. Executive and board levels tend to be the least diverse, with entry level and front-line employees representing the highest levels of visible and cognitive diversity.

Even though quotas can be troublesome if isolated, allowing data to drive diversity and inclusion is a good thing. What are your diversity goals? Are you looking to have a company that reflects the diversity within the communities that you serve? Does your company’s leadership aim to support authentically equal opportunities to all people regardless of race, gender, ability, religion, sexual-orientation, or national origin? Or are you expected to deal with diversity because someone said so, without really understanding why? Unfortunately, after decades of dealing with diversity, too many companies have lost sight of why diversity is beneficial and how inclusion ideology has shifted.

Read the article and ask yourself these questions about your company’s culture and approach to diversity. Share your reflections with us or in the comments below. Let’s open the discussion on approaching diversity in authentic ways.