Do you have a realistic diversity plan?
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
By Susan Bulkeley Butler
To improve diversity and gender equality in our companies, we
should do what Stephen Covey advises us to do with our personal careers and
lives: Begin with the end in mind.
After all, if we don't know where we're going, how can we
possibly expect to get there?
as every company has profit and revenue
goals, every company should have gender and multicultural diversity goals. Like any
goal, these should stretch the organization. They also should be realistic.
Leadership teams must be measured on diversity goals, just as they are measured
on financial goals. If not, those goals won't be met.
Related: "3 quick reminders for leading a diverse team"
Many advocate for
30 percent of women on
corporate boards and in executive positions by 2020. That seems like a good,
realistic goal to me. If our companies have new-hire
groups with 50 percent women, companies should be able to meet at least 30
percent at the top of the organization — but not if there aren't targets
leaders must meet.
Once the end goal is set, where do we begin? Demanding more women and multicultural executives is not enough. The CEO
must set the tone and pave the way. Leadership teams must develop a strategic
plan for the organization and measure the outcomes for developing leaders in every level of the organization. It should cover recruiting, hiring and promotion opportunities.
With an end in mind and a strategy to get there, the tactical
work can begin. Some tactics to support an equality strategy include:
- Ensure women and minorities have sponsors and mentors to help
them up the ladder. Future leaders can't just be identified; they must be
hired, developed, retained and promoted into a thriving pipeline.
- Develop a women's leadership council to provide recommendations
and advice to senior leadership and ensure goals are being met and systems are
in place for success.
- Develop or hire coaches for women and minorities. They need to
teach, provide feedback and guide personnel to be future leaders. Corporate
programs, such as workshops focused on career development, can also help
develop tomorrow's all-star team of women and minority leaders.
- Make sure to promote the right women into the right positions.
They must have the right skills and experiences to succeed.
Look at the companies with the best practices for diversity, and
you'll see these strategies and tactics in action.
You don't have to run a global conglomerate like Novartis, Coca-Cola or Kraft to
make diversity a reality. You can take responsibility for making change
happen for women and minorities in your organization today.
Ask yourself: What will you be doing in three years? What are the skills and
capabilities you need? Work with a coach and a sponsor to get the skills, roles
and responsibilities you need, so in three years you'll get the promotion you
For others in your organization, coach them, provide them with
the opportunities to get the right skills and opportunities, and be their
sponsor to get them promoted.
We can change the world for women. It is time for us to begin with the end in mind.
Susan Bulkeley Butler is founder and CEO of the SBB
Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and author of the book Become the CEO of
You Inc. This article first appeared on The Huffington Post.