In the day when Tim Crook, Apple’s CEO, had to send a note to everybody in the company reminding them that without diversity the company would not exist, and doing so on the back of his government’s ban on immigration and religion, it is good to reflect on what diversity means and, above all, how we can achieve it.
Facing of the dramatic daily events in the US, a cultural war and coup d’etat as seen on TV, an unclassifiable system takeover made by one executive order at a time, some of us may wonder if what we see has any form of preventive measure even if a slow cooking way. It may turn up that the organization, the firm, establishes itself, and remains as a laboratory of critical thinking, an unlikely sanctuary of sanity. Maybe.
Let’s start with labels: Diversity and Inclusion. Do not restrict ‘diversity and inclusion’ to diversity of gender and inclusion of minorities. The best way to inject those is to inject diversity, period. The best way to inject diversity-period it is to practice it. The best way to practice it is to adopt business process norms that, far from controversial, are directly connected with business needs. And they look unsuspicious and healthy in their own merits.
The following is a modest attempt to ‘practice diversity’, and, warning, it will look simple, small and procedural. Worse, you may say ‘we are doing that already’. And if the latter, I beg you to find out the real truth. Just check it out,will you?
Rule 1: Key positions (strategic proposals, for example) always accompanied by a least three concurrent, parallel, or divergent, from people alien to the system: anybody from a different ‘alien’ department to external world. [This is what we propose. Marketing agrees. Opinion Leaders A and B were not in favour.Manufacturing do not understand it]
Rule 2: When recommendation made, as above, still three diverse (operational, implementation) options, one recommendation and full explanation why the other plausible two have been discarded. [What we recommend has also an option B and C. This is why we have discarded after evaluating them in their own merits]
Rule 3: Generic, strategic decision or not, everybody in a key team structure compelled to bring in specific (costumer, for example) insights gathered from people other than themselves. At every meeting. No kidding.
When the organization is used to several views, several positions, several inputs, several possibly contradictory options on many of their routine processes, it will be much easier to integrate a broader diversity and inclusion such gender, minorities etc.
If being diverse in thinking is the norm, not as a theory, a policy, a dictation form the top, but day to day DNA practice, then the organization is vaccinated against tunnel vision, groupthink and individualistic alpha male and female liner thinking. Diversity of anything is the oxygen of the organization. It is now the time to buy extra oxygen cylinders for every corner of the room
Practicing diversity, as opposed to preaching it, will spread those behavioiurs that will then be entrenched in HR hiring policies (recruitment for example) and management practices. If all this diversity is embraced behaviourally, and at internal epidemic level, and you manage to align everybody, then you have true employee engagement at its best.
Crook quoted Luther King: ‘We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now’. Employee engagement pioneer?