At an invite-only event in London during the Dive In Festival, 35 CEOs were welcomed by psychologist Dr John Amaechi OBE to discuss at length how to better effect change within their organisations. It was largely understood among the group that for a company to be successful in today’s environment it must reflect society, but generally large corporations don’t move at the same pace as society.
Collaboratively they pointed out that time is the biggest barrier to achieving inclusive cultures in their organisations. Though this is a challenge to overcome whether practically or in mindset, it is hopeful to see an overwhelming agreement that D&I is not merely the right thing to do, but a business imperative. CEOs agreed that hiring and retaining the best talent must be led by inclusive behaviours, giving you an edge in the global marketplace.
The group also took time to examine what diversity and inclusion meant to them. By the closing remarks, they agreed that D&I means being able to bring your whole self to work, and not hide behind a persona. Dr John Amaechi noted, “D&I is not just for minorities, but for everyone; for the introverted straight white male, for instance, who though he may hold most of the power demographically, is still overlooked for not conforming to an aggressively ‘masculine’ way of behaving.” He added that having to hide your differences builds resentment and wastes energy, both of which will negatively impact the organisation in the long term.
D&I initiatives should not take any more of your time or energy; they should just mean you are more diligent with the time and energy you have, taking this increase in awareness back into your organisation with action.