In this Masterclass series, leadership consultant Jennifer Brown offers concrete strategies for turning diverse talent networks into business innovation pipelines. This two-minute excerpt from Lesson 1 previews Brown’s diversity training overview for leadership and management. The full clip is available on Big Think+.
Get to know the landscape
Jennifer Brown: The minority, or what is called traditionally “minority networks,” in every company are growing in stature, they’re growing more numerous, and there’s growing interest in visibility about these networks in every company. They represent a growing customer base, and when I say customer, customer can be translated to employees who are customers and also the external market that we are selling into.
So increasingly transparency is so important and the walls between the inside of a company and the market in which it does business, of course, are falling down to a certain extent. And there’s more transparency, there’s more crossing of information, and there’s more honest feedback back and forth between the internal employees and that community and that market and the external market for selling our goods and services. So why this is important to understand is that everything you do as a leader matters and is watched by groups of employees, by all employees. They’re watching to see – do you respect me, do you understand me and have you earned my buying power and my discretionary spend?
So what’s most important is that executives get their head around and educate themselves around the diversity in their organization: what are the demographics, what are the value systems and the motivators for different kinds of talent? Which are often not reflective of the executive experience given the lack of diversity in the executive level. And really understanding how to galvanize this community that’s tremendously powerful but also powerful in terms of not buying in to what you’re selling.