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                                          IDC’s Monthly Best Practice: June 2012

Driving performance by being a Diversity & Inclusion Champion

A global client that IDC has been working with recently developed 10 Diversity & Inclusion Champion key behaviours on the lines described below. Prof Ed Schein’s research (Sloan Management School) has demonstrated that 80% to 90% of the behaviour in any organisation is influenced by the example of its leaders. Hence, behaviours like these are really powerful for a Diversity & Inclusion Champion to practise. They are:

1.      Make a point of openly challenging exclusionary behaviour, practices or policies.

a.      Seek regular staff feedback.

b.      Zero-tolerance messages on racism, sexism, ageism, etc.

c.       Ensure fair and transparent access to opportunities and facilities for all staff.

2.      Note your behaviour and that of others during meetings. Is there broad participation, or do the same people do all the talking?

3.      Take a few minutes to think about the last time you were in a conversation that you weren’t really interested in. What kind of signals did you give out (your tone of voice, body language, etc). What kind of messages do you think the recipient got from you? Be conscious of the signals for your next conversation/meeting.

4.      Take some time to self-reflect on your own leadership behaviour, beliefs and impact of your own management style/pace on others:

a.      Take a 360 degree feedback and analyse the feedback. Share it with your team.

b.      Is a particular event/discussion paper absolutely critical to your operation achieving its plan? As a matter of good management practice and effective allocation of your people resources, consistently challenge/push-back against non-priority requests.

5.      Has everyone in your operation completed the current diversity e-learning module, including yourself? Assign someone to track progress.

6.      Consider the use of unique English idioms in conversations and communications. Would they be understood locally? Count their usage in your next team meeting. Language can unintentionally exclude.

7.      Think about how often you have non-work conversations with your colleagues. How often are those with people different from yourself, e.g. gender, ethnicity, etc? Stop by someone’s desk for an informal chat; or consider randomly inviting 5 people for morning coffee. It will be noticed and valued.

8.      Have a conversation with your team about what inclusive or exclusive behaviour looks or feels like. Collectively agree a few inclusive behaviours that will be “the way we work here”. Get team members to do the same.

9.      Consider shadowing and/or assessing at a selection/promotion event in order to fully understand the challenges that potential diverse candidates in your operation face. Feedback your impressions and recommendations to them as part of your responsibility in preparing them.

10.  Send a clear message about promoting a flexible and inclusive workplace, with clear accountability across your operation:

a.      Frequently seek feedback from your team. Does your team feel listened to/able to challenge your decisions or your work-style?

b.      Ensure diversity actions are in your own personal objectives and in those of your direct reports.

c.       Mentor staff who are from a different diversity background to yourself. Alternatively, consider being reverse-mentored by a junior staff member – a great opportunity to hear the pulse of your operation from a different perspective. Encourage all staff to mentor and/or be mentored.


Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more about being a Diversity and Inclusion Champion.


Dr Ian Dodds, 29 May 2012, iandodds@iandoddsconsulting.com

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