Tough Truths: The Ten Leadership Lessons We Dont Talk About

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Publisher's Summary

These personas range from those who are deeply committed to those who can act as saboteurs figure 6. Against that backdrop, one size will not fit all with respect to the way that information is delivered, experiences shaped, and boundaries set.

A Culture of Candor

Training is the most popular solution to increase workforce diversity. Research shows that nearly one-half of the midsize companies in the United States mandate diversity training, as do nearly all the Fortune Diversity training programs come in many shapes and sizes: educational vs. At its best voluntary, experiential, inspiring, and practical , training raises awareness, surfaces previously unspoken beliefs, and creates a shared language to discuss diversity and inclusion on a day-to-day basis.

These objectives are a positive and important first step in the change journey. However, when it comes to behavior change, training is often only a scene-setter. First, biases can only be reduced rather than completely eliminated, and it is difficult to control biases that are unconscious. Second, biases can be embedded into the system of work itself, causing suboptimal diversity outcomes.

Strategies to rewire the system make it easier to tackle biases and create a more comprehensive and sustainable solution. When the BMO Financial Group, 32 one of the 10 largest banks in North America, introduced an initiative based on these steps along with a communications and education campaign, it achieved significant impact. First, a record In addition, the hiring rates of minority group candidates increased by 3 percent in 12 months. When it comes to diversity and inclusion, nothing ignites greater debate than goals, targets, and quotas.

On the other hand, contentious arguments about targets vs. Our view is that tangible goals are important. By goals, we mean measurable objectives set by an organization at its own discretion, 34 as distinct from dogmatic quotas. However, their impact is tied to four conditions: communication , coverage , accountability , and reinforcement.

First, leaders should be capable of communicating confidently about what tangible goals do and do not mean. What they do is to increase the probability that a talented woman will be considered alongside a talented man. Second, tangible goals should incorporate measures of inclusion, not just diversity.

Any Thoughts?

If diversity is the only metric, the organization misses half the story. Leading organizations know this. Third, tangible goals can only work when key decision-makers are accountable.


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Finally, tangible goals are most effective when combined with broader acts of recognition and reward. Our view is that tangible goals have often been bluntly crafted and poorly communicated. There has been an overemphasis on diversity and an underemphasis on inclusion, as well as on the broader ecosystem of accountability, recognition, and rewards. The truth is, without appropriately crafted tangible goals, ambitions are merely ephemeral wishes. Each of these commercials went viral: 19 million views for Samsung, 4.

The question of why they were like cups of water spilled on dry earth underscores two compelling points. As a consequence, services and products often reflect a stereotypical view of the customer. Second, customers are becoming, and starting to lean into, a sense of empowerment; they communicate what they stand for with their wallets and social media shares, and messages of equality have a pervasive appeal.

The purchasers did not come only from the groups directly targeted by the message such as the hearing-impaired in the Samsung campaign ; they included anyone who felt that the message of equality had spoken to their personal values. The truth is that while many organizations have prioritized workplace diversity over customer diversity, both are equally important to business success. Moreover, customers are often more ready to support diversity and inclusion than organizations perhaps realize.

But a word of caution: This is not about vacuous marketing. Commercials that lack authenticity will be shamed by the very customers they seek to attract. Our final truth is the most sweeping and underpins all seven truths above: Most organizations will need to transform their cultures to become fully inclusive.

What prevents the translation of these intentions into meaningful progress? Our experience suggests that organizations frequently underestimate the depth of the change required, adopting a compliance-oriented or programmatic approach to diversity and inclusion. This is no simple task. Cultural change is challenging irrespective of the objective, but it is perhaps even more so when the objective is an inclusive culture. Resistance is common: Those who are currently successful are likely to believe the system is based on merit, 50 and change to the status quo feels threatening.

Consequently, change toward greater inclusion probably requires more effort than many other business priorities. And yet it usually receives much less. Deloitte research identifies four levels of diversity and inclusion maturity: 1 compliance, 2 programmatic, 3 leader-led, and 4 integrated figure 8. At level 2, the value of diversity starts to be recognized, with this stage often characterized by grassroots initiatives such as employee resource groups , a calendar of events, and other HR-led activities such as mentoring or unconscious bias training.

At levels 1 and 2, progress beyond awareness-raising is typically limited. More substantial cultural change begins at level 3—a true transition point—when the CEO and other influential business leaders step up, challenge the status quo, and address barriers to inclusion. By role-modeling inclusive behaviors and aligning and adapting organizational systems for example, by tying rewards and recognition to inclusive behavior , they create the conditions that influence employee behaviors and mind-sets. Communications are transparent, visible, and reinforced.

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Why Your Attitude Is Everything

And at level 4, diversity and inclusion are fully integrated into employee and other business processes such as innovation, customer experience, and workplace design. The truth is, significant change will not happen until organizations go beyond tick-the-box programs and invest the appropriate level of effort and resourcing in creating diverse and inclusive cultures. To borrow from Charles Dickens, 52 this is the best of times and the worst of times to be advocating for diversity and inclusion.

On the one hand, there is a groundswell of global energy directed toward the creation of workplaces that are more inclusive: 38 percent of leaders now report that the CEO is the primary sponsor of the diversity and inclusion agenda, 53 and the formation of global initiatives speaks to the importance of these issues for the broader business community.

On the other hand, some communities have become mired in divisive debates about equality for instance, around issues related to sexuality, race, and religion. Workplaces have emerged as a venue in which these disparate pressures have manifested and become much discussed. Caught in the middle, workplace leaders around the world tell us that they feel ill-equipped to navigate these swirling waters.

Believing in the business case, but feeling time-poor and uncertain, leaders question what to say and what not to say as well as what to do and what not to do. The truths we have presented challenge current practices, which are heavily weighted toward diversity metrics, events, and training. Our view is that the end goal should be redefined, cultures reset, and behaviors reshaped. Leaders should step up and own that change. To ask other readers questions about Tough Truths , please sign up. Lists with This Book.

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews.

Showing Rating details. Sort order. Oct 08, Alain Burrese rated it really liked it. It's a small book, both in size and length, and that's why I refer to it as a mini-book. The author also refers to it as a mini-book too. But don't let the size fool you.

Packed into these small pages are some very important lessons. The book contains 10 of these lessons plus a bonus lesson, so really 11 , or what the author calls truths, and for each Maloney tells it, explains it, and provides an example.

A Culture of Candor

Lessons include wisdom such as politics are everywhere, nobody will find you as interesting as you do, someone is always watching, great leaders never ever talk trash, and others. Some of these lessons you may have heard before. Others might seem common sense. But that does not negate the fact that these lessons are important. And it is not enough to read this simple book and say, oh yeah, I know that.

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