Category: Pro-Opinion, inclusion, culture, progress, Leadership, Women on boards, talent, objective
When was the last time you heard your Board talk about the importance of culture change and how they want the most talented people to progress?
You can't remember? Well how about more general goals & objectives, such as, "We have a focus on getting women onto the Board". Memory still failing you?
When you ask about ethnic minority board representation, that doesn't seem to be on the immediate agenda. Last time I checked, some women belong to ethnic minorities or belong to the LGBT community, so who are we really talking about getting onto the board?
If you're anything like me, you will have heard the same importance placed on culture change and diversity at nearly every organisation I have ever worked with, normally on the same 2-5 year cycle as the corporate restructuring takes place.
If so much focus on culture change and diversity has taken place over the last 20 years, (and ask any consultant who's been in the game for around 20 years) then why, oh why, has so little progress been made?
Yes, I can hear some among you shouting "Little progress??!!...It was only 50 years ago we had blatant discrimination, sexual harassment for women at work was acceptable, and signs stated that blacks and Irish were not welcome! Things might not be perfect, but they are better than they were!" Forgive me for being underwhelmed, but within the workplace, so much more progress could have been made. And why hasn't it?
Because turkeys aren't going to vote for Christmas!
Diversity in UK organisations is always encouraged at the lower ranks of the organisation, but when it comes to senior management, positions of authority and decision making roles, suddenly all that seems to disappear and the overwhelming urge for mini-me recruitment & promotion takes over. An organisation with a CEO committed to diversity is rare - lots of people will talk about it, a few of them can manage to spell it, but ask about tackling disproportionality in recruitment, talent, redundancy and grievance patterns and then it all gets a bit difficult.
Its corporate restructure time again now - let's get rid of that pesky diversity team and start again. Signal the board's collective sigh of relief, "We nearly had to do something about us!"
Turkey's will not vote for Christmas anytime soon.
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