Diversity 2014 and Beyond. Here Today – Here Tomorrow
By Treste Loving
Diversity…the state or art of being different. Diversity… sets one apart from another using distinctive characteristics. Diversity…the link that unites us all.
Diversity has caught many organizations unprepared to handle its awesome power and what it brings to a work environment. Diversity is a proactive approach to transform your organization to reach levels of success beyond your wildest imagination. CEOs and Business Owners that are not well versed in diversity might be missing the link between diversity and an organization’s goals.
In our global market an organization cannot afford to be kind of into diversity or fully immersed in their diversity inside the organization but can’t seem to take it outside their organizations. There is probably some doubt that diversity can have such an extraordinary impact on your business but it can I guarantee it.
To demonstrate how powerful diversity is, let’s do one of the most critical parts of building a strong, diverse organization, using you as an example. Grab a pen and paper, and for the next 5 minutes list your abilities, skills, talents, knowledge, and unique perspectives about your profession. Some examples of these attributes will include communication styles, analytical abilities, creative talents, intellectual abilities and more.
You’ll discover that each major category leads to more specific ones. Now imagine carrying out this same process for each employee. Inventories of employee attributes identify strengths and weaknesses leading to targeted training, precise recruiting, and accurate succession planning, all key to the overall success of your organization. Using the inventory method totally changes your work environment and it saves precious dollars.
In the competitive global market, forward-thinking leaders are aware that each decision concerning suppliers, employees, customers, and clients sets their organization or business apart. Progressive organizations will not try to “wait this one out.” They will transform their organization into a diversity leader in their industry. Imagine what that can do for your organization.
Evidence has proven diversity’s incredible positive influence on an organization and how it builds a solid bridge between suppliers, employees, customers, and clients. A great way to build your bridge is to celebrate the diversity you have by using a Cultural Heritage Festival. I’m providing the first four steps to have a successful festival. When we held ours we received phenomenal feedback, the employees started working together, and increased their productivity. Here is the plan:
- First, you must ensure there are many different cultures represented in the festival. Your employees should be encouraged to be participate. This way their creating a way for their co-workers to begin understanding each other.
- Next, the festival is to educate and entertain. So those participating should include their culture, traditions, and much more. This will help build the bridge between suppliers, employees, customers, and clients.
- Third, find a venue that allows plenty of space for easy movement and the participants can really express their cultures.
- Finally, ensure that you invite your suppliers, customers, clients, especially the community. This will show that your organization promotes diversity and inclusion. This can also attract talent, and more customers or clients.
The rest of the plan must be completed. For example choosing the right date and tantalizing advertisement. Remember you’re celebrating cultures like Italian Americans, German Americans, or Native Americans. So encourage employees to celebrate their culture.
A CEO or Business Owner who really gets diversity knows the impact of positive professional relationships built on the rock solid foundation of diversity and inclusion. It doesn’t matter the size of an organization because every business or organization deals with diversity every day. This brings to mind my experience with one white male who didn’t realize his organization is diverse. Here’s the story:
- I was working with a videographer who was a Caucasian male. He said he didn’t know anything about diversity and he was looking forward to learn. After the video was complete he said he understands diversity but his organization is not diverse because there were only Caucasian males. So I asked him some questions about their organization. First I asked him if everyone was the same age. I next asked him if everyone was from the same city or state. My final question was does everyone have the same skills and talents. His response was no for every question. He actually said WOW. Now he said the he truly understands diversity
Another reason for understanding diversity is because it’s estimated that by 2050 Latinos will be the majority ethnic group in our country. So a CEO or business owner must plan their business and diversity strategies for the change in our demographics. That plan should be long range. Yet the plan must be viable with short range goals.
It should include plans for how they will attract customers or clients, talent, increasing market share, and ensure their products or services are what the customer or client needs and wants. When I was in the Italy for the Navy I discovered that our store on base was not meeting the needs of Black American females.
Why wouldn’t they recognize their market needs? They did not reach out to their customers so they did not meet their needs. It took a while but we finally got what Black American females needed.
This information is a must have as a CEO or business owner. One take away is that a diversity and inclusion strategy will help you with your business execution. Additionally, a diversity and inclusion strategy will help your organization become flexible to keep up with the changing markets.
Remember diversity is the link that unites us all.
Tresté’s passion is being a trusted adviser to CEO’s/Business Owners. She earned her B.S. in International Business. A decorated U.S. Navy veteran with 26 years of service. She worked in six countries while being responsible for 76,000 people globally. Tresté has over 24 years of experience in Diversity and Inclusion.