As the CEO of a small or mid-sized organization, you understand the urgent need to take a significant step forward in your DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) efforts. You want to take the right approach, but resources are tight. Your instinct is to proceed slowly and thoughtfully. This critical decision revolves around selecting the right person to lead your efforts. In my first article, I offered several tips on how to go about this critical decision.
So, let us dig into this selection process even further. The person that you select and their title, yes, their title, will send a message within the company on how sincere you are along with your personal commitment level. For example, I recently worked with a new President of a large gaming company who was sincerely committed to take the right steps forward. He truly wanted his business unit to lead this multi business organization in the Diversity and Inclusion (D & I) arena.
My strong advice is to find a highly qualified person, inside or outside of the organization, while being cost conscious.
Unfortunately, many in his employee base came to a quick determination that his actions were a token not to be taken seriously. Why?? He hired a wonderfully dedicated women but brought her in at a “Manager’s” level. While she had a strong passion and desire to succeed, her background, skillset, and experience reflected this entry level title. To make matters worse, she was faced with a matrix reporting relationship which created total confusion. Predictably, the results have been minimal and frustration levels are high.
Here is the moral to this story. This very large and financially successful conglomerate could only muster a “Director” level as the company’s D & I lead. Now, here you sit as a small to mid-sized CEO trying to chart a course back to financial viability. Your organization’s resources are stretched, especially in these turbulent times. So, what is the answer??
My strong advice is to find a highly qualified person, inside or outside of the organization, while being cost conscious. Seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? This strategic move is no different than any other that you have or will make in the future. Throwing money, money you do not have, at this strategic imperative is not the answer. As I have mentioned before, a well thought out strategic plan that integrates with your current strategic plan is the way to go. So many organizations of all sizes often take a very tactical approach that focuses on entry level employee training versus a more strategic top down plan.
My next article will provide recommendations on how to focus on the right steps for your organization, once you have selected the correct person who can provide real and sustainable results for the organization, now and in the future. If you have this person who can absorb this role internally, you are very fortunate. Most likely, you will have to look outside. Consultants are a dime a dozen; a sunset “Fractional” CDO (Chief Diversity Officer) may meet the qualifications and cost criteria. Feel free to reach out to find out how this can work for you.