December 2017

What you don't know about diversity is costing you.


By Kyleanne Hunter, PhD

One cannot watch the news today without hearing of the fallout from sexual harassment accusations against prominent men. From Harvey Weinstein to Roger Ailes to Matt Lauer, men are losing their jobs and paying out large settlements, for creating inappropriate work environments. And the accusations aren't just in the entertainment world. A recent report found that Congress paid out over $17 million in settlement fees, and Bridgewater CEO Greg Jenson paid more than $1 million recently after allegations of misconduct surfaced. Bottom line: create a hostile work environment and pay the price.

The cost doesn't stop with settlements. Most likely, when an employee raises an accusation, she is not going to stay at the company, creating a critical vacancy. Think about that. How much do you spend on recruiting and training new talent? How long until they are capable of performing the task of the previous employee? How much did you lose in the meantime?

Additionally, what are the repercussions for the bad publicity you may receive? How many customers or clients will you lose? How much will you pay to try and redeem your reputation?

The typical response to allegations, or fear of increased allegations, is to beef up training by incorporating mandatory sensitivity training for all employees or institute a "zero tolerance" policy for harassment. While such programs provide a short-term spike in awareness of what is considered "acceptable behavior," evidence suggests that there is little long-term behavior change. In short, while training may seem like an appropriate reactionary response, it isn't going to solve your long-term problems.

So, how do you fix the problem?

As hinted at above, the root of the problem is behavior, not policies. Behavior begins with our understanding of diversity. Indeed, we all seem to know that diversity is a good thing (and the data support diversity making us smarter and better equipped to handle complex problems). However, if I asked you to define diversity, what would you say?

Would you talk about having a wide range of ethnicities, races, religions, or genders represented in your organization? The answer is probably "yes," and that would be the norm. As a society, we've grown to measure diversity by external characteristics: skin color, biology, religious adornments, or cultural dress. "Diversity hire" has become to mean hiring someone that looks different than the majority of employees.

What if I told you that diversity has nothing to do with appearance and that the positive benefits — the improvements to your bottom line — are in the diversity that you can't see. Today's problems, whether determining the best place to dig a ditch or attempting to bring the internet back to a post-disaster area – require a complex set of cognitive and physical skills. No matter what you do, you and your employees need to navigate a myriad of culture and policies and engage in dynamic problem-solving. Diversity will make you better at this. But it is the diversity of thought, experience, and background that matter, not appearance. While outward appearance is often a meaningful way of quickly operationalizing the different and unique perspectives that individuals bring to positively contribute to your organization, focusing solely on visible differences won't help make you stronger.

Focusing on the visible differences is the reason that hostile environments are created. Because they are visible, they are an easy target for resentment, harassment, and abuse. In this traditional view of diversity, efforts at improving its focus on raising sensitivity towards those that appear different. This breeds resentment from members of the majority; and when they act on those resentments, you're left with the bill.

But what if rather than focusing on the differences of your diversity hires, you focused on their value-adds? When you frame diversity as a positive and emphasize how it is impacting your ability to achieve your goals and improve your bottom line successfully, you foster an environment of productivity and a group of individuals focused on mission accomplishment. Not only will this save you in potential settlements and lost productivity, but the possibilities for growth are infinite.

© Kyleanne Hunter, 2017


Dr. Kyleanne Hunter, Marine

What you need to know...

Kyleanne Hunter is an expert in outcome driven diversity. As the first female Cobra pilot in her squadron, she lived through diversifying one of the Marine Corps elite fighting units. As a result of her unit's actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq, they had the most individual awards for combat achievement and two Presidential Unit Citations.

In her post-Marine Corps career, she has earned a Ph.D. in political science and international security. Her research focused on how proper diversity strengthens effectiveness and security. Her work on military effectiveness driven by diversity has resulted in scalable models that can make your business more innovative and efficient, resulting in saved expenses, increased profits, and introduction to new markets.

I have had the great pleasure of working with Kyleanne for a few years now. I am hoping to add her expertise to Fortitude Consulting's Leadership practice. She is without doubt one of the leading experts on diversity as a value-add.

If you would like to contact Dr. Hunter send me an email at [email protected] and I will make the introduction. She is selective with the whom she works and her calendar fills rapidly.

The Hits Keep on Coming!

Everyone, reread Dr. Kyleanne Hunter' article featured above in this month's newsletter. It speaks to the cost of stupidity and abuse of power. It speaks to the potential cost benefit of diversity.

The most significant asset in an organization is its diversity. The strength and power of having women in vital roles in any organization can prove to be a financial windfall. Abuse is proving to be financially devastating.

Choose to be successful do what's right because its right and prosper.

Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Merry Christmas and Plan for that New Year

I am often asked for leadership advice based on my Marine Corps experience for use in business. This section is providing short leadership tips you can use to become an Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

The leadership advice this month is simple—enjoy the holiday season. Take time to recharge the batteries. Take time to plan for 2018. Do this first—plan in the time you will take for you and your family. Treat that time as sacrosanct. Time off, even if you work for yourself, is essential to your success. It will keep you fresh and less stressed.

Tired leaders make mistakes. How many mistakes can you afford?

Enjoy the season.

Current Happenings

My new book "Developing Business Leadership Skills—The Practical Guide to Effectively Being In-Charge" is available on Amazon, Kindle, and iBooks. Check it out and leave a review!

My book "Leading With Fortitude: The Essentials" is still free, go to my website to download it.

The "21st Century Community Policing and Cultural Competency Online Course" is open for enrollment.

Although the course is intended for Law Enforcement Professionals, anyone in a leadership position will benefit from the course. Particularly the third module "Cultural Competency." That module goes into the significance of cultures and how to effectively work across culture, race and gender.

The feedback has been superb. We have had over a hundred comments and over 95% of the comments have indicated the course is "spot-on" and "timely."

Special pricing and considerations are offered for Department-wide course enrollment.

January

Fortitude Consulting, teaming with BAF Security Solutions will be standing up a Law Enforcement Leadership Academy. Stay tuned.

February

We, Col Byron Freeman U.S. Army (Ret.) President of BAF Security Solutions and I have been invited back for a third year to give the 21st Century Community Policing and Cultural Competency Course at Delta College in Michigan.

Enroll now on the website.

 
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