Diversity Goals and Vision


Vision: To be an inclusive workplace
Goal: At least x% diversity

Diversity (all types) has become a goal for organizations, but my experience shows that 'the goal' becomes the vision, rather than the vision becoming the goal. What can be done?

Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity Strategy
Culture Change
Khalid Raza
21 months ago

3 answers


Successful Embrace of Diversity as a Social Goal in Employment requires at least a few things, among them, (1) Aspiration, (2) Culture incl Social Value and (3) Process. Whether it includes (4) Goals, in this era of Political Correctness (PC), has a lightning rod quality of controversy attached.
Let me explain, and take the easy one first. In terms of (3) Process, NFL and other major sports have the Rooney Rule, which requires that in interviews to fill a significant role in coaching / management, at least one minority candidate must be included and interviewed. Net result of this is to better identify and develop minority candidates.
In terms of (2) Culture, I’m fond of the saying, “Culture trumps Strategy,” and it’s true. It’s culture that changes organizations and helps propel them to success. No one approach to culture needs to be identified, except to say that leaders need to impact Culture so that all own it.
That brings us to (1) Aspiration, which really is a role for not only Strategic Communication but “walking the talk” by Leadership. As a graying white male (OK, I’ve had white hair for years now!), 71, I’ve been involved in the Civil Rights struggle since college. Even today, I serve every day, and, for the last several years, I’ve been the only white guy on the Board of our African American Empowerment Fund of Delaware. (I’m also the “token Protestant” on the Board of the Little Sisters of the Poor Delaware!) Each of us need to find ways to commit to such social values, and that’s one way I commit and serve. Many such opportunities exist.
(4) Goals are a bit more problematic, I’d admit as a Social Progressive who is more of a political moderate. Once you establish Goals, they almost require some rigid approach to conformity, including “a hammer” for those who don’t, and that tends to create not only internal stress but reputational consequences for most organizations, given the volatile perception of goals.
For those doing work in this space, a big part of my career is “Change Leadership” and “Change Management,” and I’m always happy to talk about it, and work in it.

Sam Waltz
21 months ago

Just examine the diversity of senior management in order two see how committed they are to making their company more inclusive.

David Cottrell
21 months ago
Totally David - Khalid 21 months ago

Hi Khalid-- nice to see you on a currnt board again.....
I think what you are asking is whether companies are doing the right thing by just focusing on hiring a certain number of people that fit a given demographic (race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, age, differently abled etc.).

I want to point you to an interesting article that opines we are approaching this all wrong. It suggests that if we are aiming for diversity and inclusion,(D&I) we should focus on the inclusion aspects first. This brings greater changes that "stick". Moreover an inclusive workforce, that allows for different types of thinking is more innovative and often more profitable.

Ellen Raim
21 months ago
Hey Ellen, glad to see you too. I have read that article earlier and it does make a lot of sense. I am not surprised you feel the same. - Khalid 21 months ago

Have some input?