“20 years after everybody else, we finally discovered the politically correct…”

by Didier Marlier on Friday June 1st, 2018

“Twenty years after everybody else, we finally discovered the politically correct…” This was the ironic comment of a employee, showing me the predictable and emotionless clip produced by their Chief Diversity Officer (or a title like this) to promote diversity in the organization… an endless suite of good intentions, buzzword bingo and promises of promoting more women and non-Americans (the company is headquartered in the US) in the future…

When will business understand that Diversity is not the point?

Diversity is hardly a result. What matters is a profound mindset change. I found this clip on my LinkedIn today… THAT is what Diversity is about, not gender, nationalities or other useless and misleading data points. Diversity is a waste of time! Inclusion and mindset are the game changers!

My new companion and hopefully future wife is… a woman, born in Cameroon. For the “Diversity Purists” she is African descent and, to make the “Diversity Freaks” even happier she has Asian DNA. It doesn’t matter if we are not diverse at all! We are both MBTI ENFP types, both Aquarian (idealists, generous, rebellious and non conformists) and our Neurocolours are sky-high on Estrogen/Dopamine and almost non existent on Serotonin/Testosterone, we think very much alike, love the same places, cultures, restaurants, food, leisure, people… But for the “Diversity tick box Maniacs” we have passed the test: Thank God we are a diverse couple! Do we get a promotion?

Are you really serious about being diverse? I have a reservoir of Diverse people for you!!!

Two years ago, I was asked to provide… two women consultants from our team for a work outside of Europe… My colleagues flatly refused. This sort of positive segregation was intolerable to them. Their reply was: “Take us because we are competent and not for being women. There is no merit to that and we feel deeply insulted!” When challenged one day, by another “Diversity Terrorist” about the fact that The Enablers Network wasn’t really diverse (28 men/11 women), that the Management team (5 men) are males and that Europeans are double the amount of African, American and Asian associates (Oh we have one Australian though)… I thought he was joking (I used to hold him for an intelligent person). But he was serious! So I asked: “You are aware of my charity work, taking people out of the prostitution nightmare! As you know, we pay their studies and ensure they graduate for whichever work they want… Nevertheless, many of them can’t find a job because of their past! So how many of them will you hire in your company, in the name of Diversity? They are competent, they quit the profession years ago and their education is certified!” Needless to say, we aren’t friends anymore, as he mumbled something, turned his eyes down, found some courageous excuses (I am not in a position to hire anyone at the moment… You need to understand… these people blablabla). And that came from someone advocating diversity through PowerPoint, video clips, posters, Diversity days and statistics!

Advocating diversity has become a sign of laziness, incompetence and imposture.

It is taking the easy way out to adopt the new “management fad” with the hope of leaving everything as it was before! And things won’t seriously change by advocating diversity.

If we are serious about the benefits of diversity (richer creativity, higher agility, happier work place, increased capacity to become global, faster integration of acquired organizations and, ultimately as all research points, far better business results), it is not by counting the number of men vs women (and what about the transgender?) or other meaningless data that we will reap them. Go for Inclusion!

Inclusion is a mindset. Inclusion is visible through behaviours. Inclusion creates Culture.

In a 2016 article, Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon, two Deloitte Australia managers, attempted to describe the “six signatures” that a leader needs to show in order to create an Inclusive Culture. It may not be perfect but it is a solid base from which to start:

  • Curiosity: There can’t be inclusion if I believe that I am the “owner of the Truth”. Leaders who explore instead of advocating, ask questions instead of making closed statement, leaders who lead on the context rather than impose their expertise are those who create an Inclusion Culture. As the XXth century mathematician and philosopher, Betrand Russell once said: “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”
  • Cultural Intelligence: The management team of Enablers is made of three nationalities. We have known each other for more than 15 years and… we keep on misunderstanding each other due to our different cultures. This is my gift: Go and check the site of Cross Cultural Guru, Geert Hofstede and his amazing comparative tool between the countries on six dimensions which he deems fundamental in the definition of a culture.
  • Unconditional Collaboration: I took the freedom to add “unconditional” as it changes everything. A lack of trust and unconditionality is why matrixed organizations don’t work. Inclusive leaders are unconditional. They clarify the boundaries (remember the Waterline model) then are unconditional with their people.
  • Commitment: Because preaching divergence, exclusion and division, in other terms inspiring a bounding culture (defining my group “against” another) is always easier than creating a generous, inclusive and collective “bridging” culture (“Bad is stronger than Good” study by Baumeister/see my blogpost), inclusive leader fight for inclusion everyday.
  • Courage: Because it is easier to join the crowd of the conformists, than take a stand in favour of Inclusion… My family rose against the unacceptable during the Wars. They paid it very dearly. When I see the “heroes” here below parading a woman because she has had a child from an “enemy officer” I wonder how many would have been as courageous when my grandfather was taken away or my grand uncle executed…
  • Cognizance: I guess they use this word as a 6th “C” which means in fact awareness and recognition that we may be biased.

Inclusion is too fundamental to the Future of your Business and to the Future of this World to be left in the hands of people who see it as a statistical matter. It is a fundamental Transformation that has to be undertaken. Plagiarizing Dave Packard, “Inclusion is too important to be left in the hands of Diversity Officers”!

Look at how TV2 Denmark talks about Inclusion. They know how to use the three levers of engagement: Logos, Ethos and Pathos. One of the best clips I have seen on the subject! (click here if the box below doesnt work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh-xdZzyjVI&feature=player_embedded

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2 Responses to ““20 years after everybody else, we finally discovered the politically correct…””

  1. Hi Didier, I loved the vídeo and had not seen it before.
    But the exercise as such I have experienced once. It was used in a group of around 100 people working for the same company, that had never met before – by way of first introduction. It really worked as an ice breaker for the rest of the event. I only now realized it was about diversity or mind setting or avoiding in-crowd thinking or whatever. At the time, I just thought it was huge fun to get to be introduced to others in a different way.
    So: if one needs to organize an event of a certain size and needs an ice breaker – here’s something that could work!

    Reply
    • Thank you dear Ingrid, I never thought of using it as an exercise and frankly regret that I never did… It would create a very different spirit in a team. Thank you for the hint.

      Reply

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