SUCCESS DEPENDS ON INCLUSION, NOT EXCLUSION.
By Jason Richmond, CEO and Chief Culture Officer at Ideal Outcomes, Inc.
Think of it this way: Success depends on inclusion, not exclusion. When growing small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), multi-national corporations, groups, and organizations embrace the contrasting perspectives of various work and life experiences, amazing things happens. No one ever thought of the next big thing with a bunch of like-minded cohorts yelling “yes” all the time. But beyond the next big thing, there are three other real-life benefits that accrue from workforce diversity.
IMPROVED BOTTOM LINE
In spite of such compelling financial results, most companies are lagging when it comes to diversity within their leadership. At the end of 2017, only 6.4 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs were women. There were only four black chief executives—all men. There was one Asian woman, and one Hispanic woman. The number of women holding Fortune 500 board seats actually declined by two percent between 2015 and 2016, while 197 of the top S&P 500 companies had no black directors, according to Black Enterprise magazine.
One encouraging sign is that a study by the Institutional Shareholder Services showed that in the first five months of 2018, women accounted for 31 percent of new board directors among the US’s three thousand biggest publicly-traded companies. That’s a positive development because women previously occupied only 18 percent of such seats. As Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock told a conference, “If we are not a mirror of who our clients are, we’re going to fail.”
Energy giant Exelon Corporation is putting financial muscle into diversity and in 2017 became the first energy company to join the Billion Dollar Roundtable for Excellence in Supplier Diversity, a non-profit organization that recognizes companies that spend at least $1 billion with minority and woman-owned suppliers. The year in which the company did more business with diverse and women-owned businesses was the same year it experienced its best-ever financial performance. Emmett Vaughn, Director of Diverse Business Empowerment at the $35 billion energy provider, said, “The more ways you have to expand your perspectives and attack business objectives the more likely you are to have a better outcome.”
A business that’s ahead of the pack in this area is adidas, the second largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. Adidas “designated diversity as a strategic goal and started building it into the guts of the organization.” In particular, the company focused on stepping up the number of women in management ranks, and within three years, they saw an increase from 21 percent to 30 percent.
Adidas wants to “invent the future of sport” and considers diversity its secret formula to accomplish that: “The more unique identities, backgrounds and perspectives we can assemble at adidas, the easier it is to find our way around roadblocks and change lives through the sports we love.”