Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

Rick Ruiz

Corporations make claims every day that embracing Diversity is a way to improve the work environment, spawn creativity, improve efficiency and reach new markets. In parallel, it is also touted as a socially responsible behavior. Intuitively we know that Diversity practice is a people business that touches each of us in a very personal way and will ideally percolate into the realm of our customers. We know it when we see it. We feel it.

To illustrate a personal touch that can be felt… have you ever flown Southwest Airlines? I have flown hundreds of thousands of miles across the continent (mostly on major air carriers) and across continents. Southwest’s flight attendants have a way of letting you know that you are welcome and that they enjoy their job, and as a customer I feel it and like to give them my business. It makes me feel good. Why is there a buzz at this corporation? Are the employees “happy” because of the stories we have heard over the years of the CEO on the tarmac loading luggage on the plane in his shorts, engaging with the crews or defending his employees against unruly passengers? The Southwest Airlines CEO has clearly demonstrated a consistent personal touch that resonates at a human level.

When I saw this article this month on the 5 methods top CEOs use to illustrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion within their organizations* I was expecting something profound that included stories of a personal touch. Instead, I was left with more “check-the-box” remote engagement practices from top leaders that puts the onus on someone else to get the message out, hoping for the best, instead of our leaders walking-the-talk we so often expect to see after hearing their communiqués. Leading by example spreads our words & desires like wildfire amongst the ranks but it appears we would rather have everyone read what we publish (or hope that it gets read) and get some metrics in place which most do not even really appreciate.

What do you think? Are these the best methods – illustrative of the personal touch and reach that the CEOs of our top corporations can muster – to really spawn efficiency, teamwork and creativity? You be the judge.

5. Provide Annual Updates to Employees
4. Provide Yearly Updates to Board of Directors
3. Meet Regularly with Diversity Executives
2. Publish CEO Diversity Statement
1. Require Diversity Leaders to Report Metrics

Diversity Best Practices 2011 assessment and benchmarking

Enrique ‘Rick’ Ruiz, MBA, PgMP

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