The business world knows that flexibility and agility are crucial for long-term success. To be agile, businesses must break through the inertia of their organizations and constantly look at ways to alter behavior to foster the development of a mindset. Strategies to change the culture include process improvement initiatives such as technology innovation centers and workshops that focus on design thinking that emphasize the notion of psychological security.
While these initiatives may have an effect, they are often constrained by the perspectives of the involved individuals. That is, the views of those requested to lead change are shaped by the constraints of rigid and inefficient ways of operation that require a change.
A true transformation will require the introduction of entirely new perspectives and experiences. This is why initiatives that promote diversity and equity (DEI) can help to create a feeling of belonging among an organization and also help to increase the agility of organizations and act as essential drivers for expansion and transformation.
Starting At The Top
We often think of inclusion and diversity primarily as gender and race. However, the absence of variety in the workplace is striking and well-documented.
In the time of the Fortune 500, for example, only 19 among the more than 1,800 chief executives named have been Black. Hispanic representation of the S&P 500’s chief executives is limited to 16 people. Women are similarly affected. Last year 41 of the CEOs listed on the Fortune list were female.
The difference is even more evident in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship. For 2022 the Forbes List includes Cloud 100 companies includes only eight women-led companies out of 100, up from six in the previous year.
What are the steps going to be involved in changing these dynamics? I have the answer to this concern from my personal experiences. In January 2022, I joined Sorenson, the Salt Lake City-based firm that creates communication tools specifically for people who are deaf or deaf and hard of hearing. White men traditionally took leadership positions.
If a new group of shareholders with a majority gained a controlling stake in Sorenson, They wanted to implement a brand new strategy for the business that included a greater focus on diversity and inclusivity. As CEO, one of my jobs was to assist in implementing those modifications.
When I joined Sorenson in the early days, only one person from a different race was on Sorenson’s board. Seven of the nine members of the board are of color. People of color and women currently comprise nearly 60% of our C-suite. This is compared to a lack of persons of color and just the one executive who was female at the end of last year.
In the entire staff in the whole leadership team, 50% of the Sorenson team is now comprised of people of color, as opposed to just 3% last year. The majority of change was made within 4 to 5 months.
However, the motivation behind undergoing this massive change in such a short time was not so we could cite these numbers and be proud of ourselves. The reason to increase diversity was motivated by an imperative for business: The business needed to become more flexible, adaptable, and flexible. Mainly, Sorenson had to respond to the changing global strategy and, in turn to evolving competitive demands.
The employees we chose weren’t just the most skilled in terms of their skills and experience, but they could — due to their varied experiences and backgrounds–look at issues differently and bring fresh ideas onto the scene.
Was the transition challenging? Yes. Do some employees resist? Absolutely. A few felt at risk. Some felt that changes were viewed as a defiance of long-standing principles that had led to an effective business.
To address these challenges to address these issues, we set up the office of transformation and further developed our internal capabilities by enlisting experts from outside to help manage change. We’re working together with our teams to develop an understanding of the different cultures, their histories, cultures, and experiences, and how they can aid in our success.
Although the transition was painful, the decision to make it was not difficult. The alternative — the more difficult option — would be to reinvent the company but still act and look the same way and operate in the same manner as before.
Diversity about. Inclusion
In this regard, it’s crucial to establish the difference between diversity in the literal sense and inclusion as a concept of genuine participation and acceptance. In other words, an environment could be diverse but not inclusive. At first glance, an organization where women and minorities comprise 40 percent of the team may be considered relatively different.
The same company may be characterized by a strict, narrow-minded, “boys’ club” mindset that stifles or degrades those considered outsiders by the rulers in the culture of power. In the end, the benefits of diversity, with exposure to diverse ideas and perspectives–are drastically reduced.
For a different example, Think about those who are hard of hearing and deaf hearing who are using our services and tools. A business that provides sign language interpreters to ensure employees that are hearing or hard of hearing can communicate during meetings and presentations can be considered to be making positive progress toward diversification. If those employees can seamlessly answer questions, offer feedback and engage with colleagues, they’re better prepared to contribute positively to the company.
To ensure true inclusion, Our goal as a business is to offer “functional equivalence,” or the ability to communicate on the same level as the hearing impaired. This seamless communication, in turn, can spur creativity.
Research has shown that those who are deaf and those who can hear have different learning methods in learning, processing information, seeing things, and tackling issues. Businesses facing competition need to change their operational strategies and alter customer strategies. These differences could inspire new ways of solving complex problems.
The idea of functional equivalence — and acceptance must be applied in any endeavor that promotes diversity and inclusiveness. With a clear, deliberate and deliberate approach, leaders in the business world can take action to ensure that the voices of different people and perspectives are considered and heard. Additionally, they can establish incredibly diverse “whole-brain” teams that integrate analytical minds with creative ones to develop new ideas for disruptive business models.