The mood of Britain, especially in the corridors of power, is to somehow brush diversity under the carpet. Create a head of Diversity post if necessary, ensure there is little power or resources behind it, tick some boxes, and hope the subject will go away. The hard reality is that most organisations do not want to see or acknowledge difference, but instead to create and promote sameness. In this way, not the organisation, but the powerful people are sustained. Everyone then is encouraged to align with the culture and values of the powerful or leave. This is why the club is so exclusive. Also there is a fear in the boardroom - a fear that power may fade away, and with it control. It is actually insecurity that drives people to power, and the more power they have the more insecure they become.
This article has been inspired by a recent dialogue I had organised by the excellent Change for Good network established by Corporate Culture. To join this network or find out more, visit:
What are they losting by doing this? Many things.
1. The huge potential for creativity which people from different cultures can bring to the organisation.
2. Potential new products and markets which the organisation has not even thought of. This has a direct financial impact in terms of profits lost.
3. A wide talent pool which also has a lot of energy and dynamism and a hunger to do well and move beyond any ceilings - even to create new pathways.
4. An inclusive organisation where differing identities are allowed to be and passion is encouraged and sustained.
5. The huge brand embarassment and cost of breaking the law and discriminating against job applicants and employees.
6. The potential to operate in a really sustainable way, by changing the structure of the organisations and devolving power and responsibility - so that there is no longer a pyramid structure but an open, inclusive organisation.
7. The arrogance of one culture and its way of working as being superior fades away and we get a truly multi-cultural organisation which takes the best of different ethical approaches and creates something that is leading edge and robust.
I welcome your thoughts on this.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
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