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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: Feb 2013

Diversity and inclusion proficiency is about adding business value and profitability

Forbes Magazine stated in a recent article that: “Diversity management is about business strategy, brand management, product development, creating leaders, recruiting talent, and discovering active thought-leaders whose voices can educate and inspire business growth and opportunity within industries. “

Regular readers of these best practices will know that this is exactly the emphasis that IDC has been promoting since its formation 8 years ago. In fact I’ve just today been discussing this with the Executive Committee of a well-known global company. They wanted me to let them know how effort on diversity and inclusion (D&I) would add value to their business which was performing well anyway. Note that I combined diversity with inclusion; because organisations only get the benefits from having a diverse workforce when they build an inclusive work environment.

We discussed how the global economic headwinds were generating both big challenges for them; but also creating opportunities. I explained the Diversity Trumps Ability Theorem (read IDC’s October 2012 Best Practice) and that it demonstrated that a diverse group of people would consistently outperform a bright group of experts, providing that they listened actively to each other. This hit a chord with them because a lot of their work is performed in teams and they realised that they could enhance the problem solving of these teams by helping them build excellent skills in interactive management (read IDC’s January 2013 Best Practice). Moreover, two of their key strategic priorities are better customer service and improved operational effectiveness and they realised that building an inclusive culture in which people listened to each other and explored different ideas and opinions and differing points of view would help to power the delivery of these two objectives.

We talked about the concept of distributive leadership. This is from the work of Helen Timperley which shows that the idea of leadership as distributed across multiple people and situations has proven to be a useful framework for understanding and leading strategic formulation and delivery. Having an excellent capability in interactive management is also the key to effective distributive leadership. Hence this helps create and build leadership throughout the organisation.

I also explained how clients that I had worked with, who had successfully built inclusive cultures, had found that this was also the key to strengthening their ability to recruit the best available talent from the diverse communities in which they operated. This is because it strengthens the Employer Brand and attracts a wider spectrum of talent.

These executives also bought into the notion that to build an inclusive culture their leadership example in inclusive behaviour was going to be a critical change driver. Their example would need to include proficiency in all of the interactive behaviours; particularly those concerned with exploring and respecting differing ideas and opinions and points of view.

Diversity and inclusion proficiency is about adding business value and profitability. IDC has considerable experience in working with clients to enable them to achieve this. You know it makes business sense and we would be pleased to discuss this with you.

 Dr Ian Dodds,

28 Jan 2013,


Related articles             

·      Innovative, high quality, problem solving requires teams which are skilled in interactive behaviour


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