Diversity Is Key To A Winning Strategy

“Diversity is part of an overall equation that allows your organization to be successful in today’s market, as well as in the future.”

--Cynthia Hardy Young, CEO & Founder, Pivot Global Partners

Cynthia, in her own words, explains why it’s imperative for organizations to have diversity as part of the bedrock of their strategies -- to identify customer needs, ensure products and services meet those needs, and enable an organization to go after its fair share of the market as customer demographics continue to shift.

These excerpts of Cynthia’s podcast interview with Maribeth Kuzmeski of The Female Red Zone show how Cynthia draws upon her years of experience leading organizations where she successfully wove diversity into the fabric of the organizations to be positioned to win.

The Importance of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion

You can have the best strategy in the world, but if you don’t have the best people aligned with the right responsibilities suited to their skills, ensuring that everyone is going in the same direction, then nothing good will happen.

Start with an understanding of the business imperative. Look at the demographics in any sector of the buying public. It’s rapidly changing:

  • Women are more than 50% of consumer 
  • People of various ethnicities constitute a large and growing part of the marketplace

Your business needs varied experience. This is needed to recognize and understand the filters that people have, which influence purchasing decisions.

Companies need to know about these changes in the consuming public and understand the implications for their future.”

How Do You Ensure Your Company Gets Its Fair Share of This Evolving Market?

“[Y]ou should ask: How is our company aligned vis-à-vis the marketplace?

  • To whom are we selling?
  • What does this market look like now and what will it look like in 10 years?
  • How are we positioned to go after this?

Diversity is fundamentally embedded in this conversation.”

The Importance of Diversity As a Business Imperative

How do we get our fair share of the market? Ideally, all the relevant constituencies need to be cognizant of the realities of your market.

  • Are our products and services positioned as they should be?
  • Do our employees have perspectives, insights, and skills, as needed, to serve the current and future populations of the market?
  • Do our suppliers and vendors have the perspectives, skills, and experience needed in our market?

The reality, however, is that your organization will never be perfect. What you can do is be laser-focused on the position you’re seeking in the market.  Be clear on how you’re going to stake this position and go after it.

Companies that do diversity well have this fundamental understanding of the business imperative. Framing diversity as [only] a ‘social good’ initiative misses the point.

When they don’t recognize the business imperative, companies dabble in diversity programs when, instead, a comprehensive approach is needed.”

Putting Teeth behind Your Diversity Focus

“Accountability is important and to achieve this you need to focus on outcomes rather than inputs.

For example, ‘the number of minorities interviewed’ is a false metric and will not result in a successful diversity program. Companies need to go out and find talent with a broader set of skills and experiences.  This will directly translate into the products and services your company creates, how they are positioned through marketing, and what you do in the community.

With this approach to diversity, the outcomes are different and superior.”

When You Are Fixing, Strengthening, Repositioning and Building Your Business, It’s People – Talent – Who Are the Platform on Which You Achieve Excellence

“[Y]ou cannot alienate leaders in your business. Instead, you must engage them with straight talk about the business imperative -- where the company is and where it needs to be.

Through advocacy, championing, and mentoring, people in positions of power and responsibility in your company will have a critical role. They must encourage the talent that will be able to strengthen your business’ market position both today and in the future.

In the context of a changing consumer market, the talent in your business can’t just look like you. They must look like the market you intend to serve AND understand those markets.

This is a fundamental strategy in moving your company from A to B. Who do you need to reach out to and engage in order to better align your business?

[Also,] celebrate achievements along the way so that people in your business see themselves as part of the change equation. For example, celebrate the changing composition of your C-Suite team or that entry and mid-level positions are inclusive in a way they haven’t been before.

Diversity is part of an overall equation that allows your organization to be successful in today’s market, as well as in the future.”

Listen to the interview below or on the Red Zone website.