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Diversity (19)

Inclusive Leaders Do These 4 Things—Do You?

If you want your organization to succeed today, then you must find ways to make inclusive leadership more than just a buzzword. But how can management teams ensure that all voices are on deck, particularly in light of challenges like this Catch-22 that an executive pointed out to me recently?

One way is to recognize that the traditional views on creating a diverse workforce based solely on creating more balance and fairness in demographic categories such as gender, age, and race are no longer sufficient—that threshold is too low. Successful inclusion now needs to go beyond the moral and legal imperative of simply integrating people with different demographics into the workplace.

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Integrated Leadership: Building on the Benefits

There are many reasons to foster an Integrated Leadership culture—one that values, leverages, and blends the strengths of both women and men—in your organization. Gender-balanced leadership perspectives can lead to a wide range of benefits at the organizational, team, and individual levels.

The latest research published at the end of 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tells us that men and women are not always different when it comes to thinking, communications, and problem-solving. However, studies have found that the diversity of strategies and approaches often seen between men and women go beyond gender and genetics.

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Strategies to Build a More Inclusive Workplace Culture

In my last post, I shared reasons why it’s important that inclusive cultures become the norm rather than the exception, both in corporations and the world. An inclusive culture, as defined by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University, involves “the full and successful integration of diverse people into a workplace or industry.”

BBI adds that while an inclusive culture encompasses a commitment to workplace diversity, it is not limited simply to basic representation. Instead, according to the Institute, “it indicates a climate in which respect, equity, and positive recognition of differences are all cultivated.” At the same time, the social and institutional response to various differences should pose no barrier to the positive employment experience of any particular group.

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Making an Inclusive Culture the Norm

If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed the topic of inclusion coming up more frequently, particularly in political circles. In a speech earlier this month on the 2015 national security strategy, National Security Advisor Susan Rice emphasized the importance of helping countries in transition become more inclusive societies, as well as promoting equality here at home.

“We believe everyone should be able to speak their minds and practice their faith freely,” said Rice. “We believe that all girls deserve the very same opportunities as boys. We believe that all humans are created equal and are worthy of the same love and respect—including our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender brothers and sisters. These beliefs are fundamental to who we are.”

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Which Tech Companies Are Ahead of the Curve in Women’s Leadership?

As we’ve seen from a flurry of media reports over the past few months, tech companies are beginning to “out” themselves for lack of diversity. Facebook, Yahoo, Google, and LinkedIn are among a growing number of tech firms whose voluntary disclosures on demographic data reveal industry trends of a workforce that’s still primarily male and white—especially at the executive levels and in actual technology jobs. (See “The Genie Is Out of the Bottle for Silicon Valley: Lack of Diversity.”)

Based on SHAMBAUGH Leadership’s research, which includes working with a number of tech organizations as well as other industries, a number of identifiable factors lie behind these concerning trends. Outdated and non-inclusive cultures, poor relationships with managers, and a lack of mentors and sponsors have all contributed to the industry’s apparent failure to appropriately recruit, advance, and retain women and minorities.

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The Genie Is Out of the Bottle for Silicon Valley: Lack of Diversity

As the U.S. technology sector has boomed, women and minorities have largely been left behind. This is what’s clear in the wake of recent disclosures on workforce demographics from a handful of tech companies.

On June 25, Facebook became the latest tech giant to publicly release its demographic data, which indicated that men represent nearly 70% of all global employees. Worse yet, of the 31% of women in the company, a mere 15% work in jobs that are actually technical. (Women hold 47% of non-technical jobs.) When it comes to the top of the pyramid, although Facebook boasts COO Sheryl Sandberg, more than three-quarters of senior-level jobs (77%) globally are held by men. Among these senior-level executives in the U.S., nearly three-quarters (74%) are white, leaving just a quarter of the pie for everyone else (19% are Asian, 4% Hispanic, 2% black, and 1% two or more races).

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Take a Deeper Dive – An Examination of Executive Conscience

After presenting at a recent conference, I found myself at lunch sitting next to a CEO who seemed anxious to talk to me. He shared that although his company had made significant investments over the past few years in diversity training, Lean Six Sigma initiatives, and team development, he still wasn’t satisfied with the speed of transformation within the company. Women leaders were advancing too slowly, silo mentality was rampant, and employees were disengaged. In short, though the CEO had dove into these important initiatives with both feet, the results were underwhelming, and he asked me what to do.

I recommended a “deeper dive”—which I call an examination of executive conscience—to break below the surface of the issues. Here’s how it works. Say that you’re trying to understand why only around 14% of women in the Fortune 500 hold executive officer positions, as confirmed by the 2013 Catalyst Census. You could look at the behaviors of those who are doing succession planning and talent development—but this won’t tell you the whole story. You could examine company policies, practices, procedures, and controls—but you probably won’t find much wrong there, since these were put in place to drive equity and fairness in hiring.

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Welcome To The New Work Environment! – Managing Across The Generations

Have you noticed lately how different our workplace is, compared to even 5 years ago? One thing is certain, each time I walk into a client organization, there are at least four unique generations represented. Each one has been shaped by the events of their times, as well as their own life experiences. My previous blog titled, “Who Are You: From the Words of a King,” focused on identity, who we think we are and who we want to be. This particular story expands on one’s identity through the lens of what each generation wants or is looking for. These generations bring unique perspectives, work ethics, communications styles, and different priorities to the workplace. This being the case, working and managing across generations has become essential for anyone wanting to build a cohesive, productive, and high performing organization.

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Are Your Employees Engaged?

A frown appeared on Jim’s face as he relayed how employee morale was down four points year-to-year. Surveyed respondents’ scores were consistently lower in the areas of inclusiveness and diversity, opportunities to improve skills with challenging assignments, and developing innovative solutions to solve pressing customer issues. What really concerned Jim was a common theme emerging from the write-in comments – a systemic lack of what’s being labeled as “Employee Engagement”.

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