This week’s virtual town hall discussed inclusive leadership, and how to leverage diversity and inclusion in your business for success. Doug Bohr, PMA’s Executive Director of Center of Growing Talent, says: “In today’s rapidly changing world, attracting and engaging talent with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and ideas is critical to a company’s success, but diversity doesn’t work to its greatest advantage without inclusion. That is why we will explore how inclusive leadership unlocks that potential and drives innovation, new business opportunities and, ultimately, company performance.” For this purpose, Bohr chatted with Nina Boone, Senior Client Partner and North America Leader of Diversity and inclusion at Korn Ferry.
To start off the conversation, Boone discussed some of the important statistics from a report drawn up by Korn Ferry on how diversity and inclusion affect business performance. “When companies have both diversity and inclusion, they are 70% more likely to capture new markets, 19% more likely to have increased innovation, and are 87% more admired than other companies. Finally, another really important number is that these companies have 36% more profitability,” Boone says.
While it is quite simple to put together a diverse team, ensuring a culture of inclusivity to bring forth the benefits of the diversity can be more difficult. “It isn’t about just bringing diverse people into the organization and nothing more. The key is understanding how to appreciate the diversity – not just accepting it, but appreciating it,” Boone says. She explains: “When you accept another person, you continue to look for commonalities with them, but when you appreciate the other person, then you are valuing your differences. This is what helps to bring forth the new ideas in the organization – just having the diversity around the table doesn’t ensure success, you have to leverage the diversity and value everyone’s input before making decisions.”
An important aspect of appreciating diversity is to believe that everyone on your team is capable. “If you believe your entire team is capable, you will be more likely to give assignments and development opportunities to each of the team members, which will help them grow. You need to be working to develop and provide opportunities to your entire team and ensure that these opportunities are individualized, giving each person what they need to become the best version of themselves they can be within the business,” says Boone.
Being an inclusive leader
According to Korn Ferry’s research, there are a few traits that will help leaders be more inclusive. “Inclusive leaders are first and foremost authentic. They are humble, and they set aside their own egos to ensure that everyone has a voice in the room. They have emotional resilience which allows them to face the difficulties that come forth out of differences. Inquisitiveness is also very important: they have to be inquisitive about the differences among the individuals on their team, about their cultures and social backgrounds so that they can understand and appreciate these differences,” says Boone.
Finally, intentionality is critical. “Think about the projects you are working on and how to make them more successful. Understand your own biases and the biases of those on your team and work to interrupt these biases – not to eliminate them, because that is impossible but to interrupt them in a courageous and empathetic way. The change to a culture of inclusivity needs to start at the top, the executives have to set the standards. The change won’t occur overnight, but it will happen, and once it does you will certainly reap the benefits,” Boone concludes.
In observance of the US Inauguration Day Ceremony scheduled for noon next Wednesday January 20th, PMA will not hold a virtual town hall. The next virtual town hall will be held on Wednesday January 27th and will focus on the new administration’s policies and how they might impact the produce industry.