During last year’s strategic planing cycle, many of our clients worked to consider what a company’s relationship to diversity and inclusion should look like. There were fascinating debates – not about whether diversity and inclusion is right, but whether it requires “intentional” strategy. One of the more memorable debates was between two people of color, with one taking the position that brands should indeed define and embrace specific strategy so that diversity and inclusion occurs, with the other countering that to include such things in strategy would lead only to lip service response without meaningful impact. This second participant also added that if companies did the right thing to begin with, diversity and inclusion would be a natural outcome and wouldn’t require “strategy.”
What is the right perspective? I’m guessing both.
It has been interesting to see brands struggle with their messaging over these last few days. So many want to comment, to be a part of the dialogue. Yet so many have since found they are called to reconcile their past actions, or inactions, against their current statements of solidarity. And more still have found that their statements, when looked at in the harsh light of the moment, are tone deaf and out of touch.
In all of this I’ve been thinking about that planning session debate, and how companies (and governments) should embrace both of the views expressed by those two amazing credit union leaders. Why not establish intentional strategy, and also do the right thing in all circumstances for all people? To do so would mean strategy – strategy specific to diversity and inclusion – finds real success. Perhaps then companies, not to mention government leaders, would not struggle for words in times like these because times like these would finally be a thing of the past.
Photo by Ar Li form PxHere