Diversity and Inclusion Solutions
In order to receive the benefits associated with diversity and inclusion in the workplace, leaders should implement proven diversity and inclusion strategies. For this reason, in this section, we suggest matter-of-fact solutions that support diversity and inclusion initiatives that can be tailored for application in most organizations. These solutions include one or more of the following strategies:
Vision, Mission and Strategies.
In order to make a difference and contribute to the success of the organization, diversity and inclusion strategies must be connected to the organization’s vision, mission and strategies. Diversity and Inclusion strategies are business initiatives for organizing and nurturing behavioral changes in the organization that requires leaders to develop an understandable vision, set comprehensible actionable mission, and evaluate the effectiveness of the diversity and inclusion strategies. Based on our experience, the vision, mission and strategies need to provide benefits to employees and shareholders, as well as enhancing corporate responsibilities. Additionally, the effectiveness of these strategies should be measured by examining individual behaviors, and consequences.
In their new book, The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career (2015), Jack and Suzy Welch discussed the alignment between mission, behaviors, and consequences. In the context of diversity and inclusion, behaviors would express the way workers should exchange ideas and perform to make the diversity and inclusion vision, mission and strategies more than platitudes. Additionally, consequences would describe the positives (promotions and or bonuses) and negatives (reassignment or removal) outcomes of embracing and advancing (or not) the vision, mission and strategies.
- Diversity and Inclusion need to be embraced by Front Line Leaders as well as the executive leadership. Josh Greenberg explained that diversity referred to the variety of differences between people in an organization. He explained that diversity encompassed race, gender, ethnic group, age, personality, cognitive style, tenure, organizational function, education, background and more. Inclusion, on the other hand, means to exhibit proactive behaviors for the express purpose of making employees be part of the organization and feel welcome. Diversity to be successful needs to be about developing an inclusive organization. A company can be diverse. However, diversity by itself does not signify that the company has produced an inclusive workplace. An inclusive workplace recognizes differences in its work population and works to construct a tolerant culture that respects the unique talents and skills of others.
- Contributing to Company’s Success. Katherine Connolly, a research associate in the organizational behavior unit at Harvard Business School, explained that CEOs defined an inclusive culture as one in which “employees can contribute to the success of the company as their authentic selves, while the organization respects and leverages their talents and gives them a sense of connectedness.” Consequently, Front Line Leaders should be engaged in providing resources and measuring employees’ contribution to the success of the company. The success of diversity and inclusion programs should be a measurement of the Diversity and Inclusion Leaders’ and Front Line Leaders’ success based on behaviors and consequences outcomes.
- Competitive Advantage. At the macro-level, successful leaders treat human capital as a special source of sustained competitive advantage. Hiring seasoned diversity and inclusion leaders, college internships and summer hiring are a ways to hire quality diverse candidates. However, seasoned Front Line Leader or subject-matter-expert experienced in one or more of the different groups described in this writing are the best ways to hire or promote quality diverse organizational leaders.
- Leaders need to be adamant that teamwork and team learning is to include training elements to raise understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion.
- Communicate with Multi-Culture Groups. One objective is to include multicultural groups in developing plans to achieve the company vision and mission. Leaders cannot or should not articulate with customers in a single voice and expect to reach them. As you are developing ideas and plans, use diversity and inclusion focus groups to find better solutions.
- Cultivating Customer Loyalty. Identifying diverse group of supporters, and finding new diversity and inclusion champions within the organization will help increase support for diversity initiatives.
- Benchmarking the emphasis on fairness and equality of diversity and inclusion programs can booster performance and assist in the development of successful diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- Conflict and conflict resolution are part of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Be heard without shouting. There is a difference between elevating your tone of voice to be heard and shouting. Leader’s new paradigm is for every voice to be heard. As a member of a diverse and inclusive team, your job is to raise your hand and speak your mind.
There is no “I” in teams. But, there is an “I” in Diversity and Inclusion
Albeit, there is no “I” in teams; there is an “I” in “Diversity and Inclusion.” Jack Welch theorized “the team with the best players wins.” He proffered “Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence.” In today’s environment, diversity and inclusion are two elements we look at in the work environment to help us build effective teams and examine corporate responsibilities. Therefore, leaders should upgrade their team by fostering diversity and inclusion to get every brain in the game and develop winning teams.
In recent times, leaders have been confronted with how the concepts of diversity and inclusion have evolved in the workforce. From your own perspective, if you can, think about diversity and its evolution to diversity and inclusion. The objective of this examination is to look at the workplace and noticed all the different thought processes and professional perspective. Next, you are to determine the role played by diversity and inclusion concepts and principles into winning teams. The idea is for you to formulate an opinion and show how your personal experiences and personal histories have integrated diversity of thoughts into the workplace to maximize idea generation and problem-solving. If you find gaps in your strategy, you are to determine if the solutions presented in this article can help your organization build better teams.
What we know now is that in the global environment, diversity and inclusion gives a company that extra incentive to be better, serve more and maximize their business biggest assets: its people. The challenge is to look at diversity and inclusion not from what it used to be but from the perspective of what the business is demanding.
Successful diversity and inclusion strategies need to be a winning strategy for:
- Attracting and keeping the best and brightest people,
- Maximizing corporate profits,
- Exceeding corporate responsibilities and
- Improving standing within the world business community.
The evolution of business in America has demonstrated how important it is for all us to pay attention, understand and foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In their article, “The Effective Management of Cultural Diversity,” Lee Gardenswartz and Anita Rowe supported this concept when they wrote, “Diversity is not a liberal ideological movement, to be supported or resisted. Rather, it is a reality in today’s business environment. Managed well, diversity provides benefits that increase success.”
Despite the promises and benefits associated with diversity and inclusion, there are simply no “silver bullets” to diversity and inclusion in the workplace. However, diverse and inclusive teams can provide the silver bullet Diversity and Inclusion Advocates have been searching to achieve success.
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There is no “I” in teams. But there is an “I” in Diversity and Inclusion Part 1
Dr. Victor Ramos is a Full Professor at the School of Business Jack Welch Management Institute,
Strayer University. He is a business research practitioner, entrepreneur and the founder of American Brokerage Firms (insurance, real estate, home mortgages and income tax service provider), Vice Chairman of Strategic Federal Credit Union, and Matrix Manager at a fortune 500 Corporation.
As Vice Chairman and Matrix Manager of a fortune 500 Corporation, Dr. Ramos was instrumental in streamlining investments, worldwide financial operations and integrated enterprise management systems. Additionally, I successfully negotiated and managed multi-billion dollars business arrangements.
Additionally, he has significant experiences performing marketing in support of international marketing operations. For example, while working at an international fortune 500 company, I was a member of a marketing team that marketed high technology, integrated ground commercial unmanned air vehicle systems and innovative remote maintenance operational systems in the United States and in the international marketplace. Follow him on Twitter @Dr_Ramos_V.