When is the Right time to Start?
When is the right time to start? This question applies to many areas of life and work. It's a question that rests on the lips of so many leaders I work with. In the context of Diversity and Inclusion, the question is often along the lines of "When is the right time to start our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives?" In response to this question, I often respond with another question. Something along the lines of "How important is it for you to future-proof your organisation?" Or "When do you need to start thinking about the future success of your organisation in an increasingly globalised business environment?"
I suspect that one of the main reasons this question is asked is because there is a widely held belief that D and I is a discrete project which, while important for our organisations, is not a priority for our organisations. Rather, right now, when we're dealing with the challenges of COVD 19 and Brexit and the other countless numbers of challenges we're facing, the matter of how Diverse and Inclusive we are in our organisations comes a close 3rd, 4th even 5th. In fact, there may be some who might say, we've succeeded so far with the makeup of our leadership, so if it's not broken, why fix it?
However, therein lies the erroneous thinking. It is an error to think of D and I as just another problem to solve and to disconnect the agenda from the wider business of our organisation. The time is now for us to see that in order for our to business remain relevant and sustainable we need to be more Diverse and Inclusive.
In a 2013 article published by the Harvard Business Review it was reported that senior teams that have at least 3 acquired diversity traits, out-innovate and out-perform their like for like counterparts. In fact companies with this degree of representation were 45% more likely to report a measurable increase in market share in comparison with their counterparts.
So when is the right time to start your Diversity and Inclusion initiative? Surely it's at the same time you recognise the necessity of building an organisation that will remain relevant and responsive to the prevailing winds of change.