Rina Goldberg Lynch: 10 ways to leverage diversity as a business opportunity

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Talk of the benefits of diversity is everywhere.  Gender in particular.  So much so that people are starting to look at it cynically.  Yet the benefits of getting more women (and other minorities) suitably represented within each layer of the organisation are significant.  Report after report, measure after measure prove to us that (1) the financial benefits of balanced company boards cannot be underestimated (2) the demand for what is often referred to as ‘feminine leadership’ is growing louder and clearer, and (3) talk of business survival in the future appears to hinge on that business’ ability to adapt to a more flexible, more collaborative style of management. [1]

So if your company is considering diversity for the sake of diversity, for the sake of appearances or for the sake of complying with client demands, it is missing a trick!  There are really no if’s or but’s about it:  embracing diversity & inclusion – the traits which we refer to as 21st century leadership – must become central to any leadership strategy of a company that wants to continue to thrive in the future.  Leading with this in mind will not only future-proof your business, it is in fact an opportunity to get ahead of the competition and reap the benefits of smart thinking.  While everyone else is still talking about it, your company can start acting on it!

In this series, I will show you how your business can do that.  These are the 10 steps that will need to be achieved in order to implement a successful transition to the 21st century leadership blueprint:

  1. Copy your client
  2. Capture the creativity of each individual team member
  3. Are you a manager? Learn how to listen
  4. Know what you don’t know
  5. Switch on your Unconscious Bias Radar
  6. Adopt a “Disrupt” approach
  7. Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
  8. 21st century skills ahead!
  9. How many women on your board?
  10. Your competitive edge!

 

In each blog, I feature one of them.  Be sure to read all my blogs over the next several weeks to get all 10.

Let’s get started:

  1. Copy your client

 

We all know what our clients look like: what they like to do, how they assess transactions, where their pressure points are.  We also know what their teams look like, the composition of their decision-making bodies, and those who are likely to make the deciding call on any new deal.

Yet increasingly so, clients are starting to challenge service providers to show them that your services will heed relevant diversity requirements:  a certain percentage of women on the team delivering the services, a certain number of other minorities represented in the business.  I’ve encountered a number of businesses whose pitches for new business failed because they couldn’t evidence the requisite diversity required by the client.

If your company has been in this situation before, the best way to ensure it doesn’t happen again is to be very clear on the composition of the client’s teams – not only today but their aspirations for that composition tomorrow.  Many clients will have targets that they will want to meet reflecting certain percentages on their teams and on their promotion lists.  Find out what they are and reflect them in your own business.  You may not get there tomorrow but you will have taken the first step to show the client that you are as serious about diversity as they are; that you are not simply assembling a team to meet their requirements but are genuinely interested in reflecting the client’s own attempts to become more diverse.

Next time, we will look at Step 2: Capture the creativity of each individual team member.

To find out more, please contact me on [email protected].

[1] Email us to receive relevant reports and resources

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