Last week we noted that Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance and just one of two Black women to lead a Fortune 500 company, told Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies Summit that "a key indicator of a company’s ability to innovate is the diversity of its leadership." And that includes the board of directors."
I completely agree with this. Companies are best served when their leadership reflects the diversity of their customer base and their employee base. It has been my experience that making this statement often results in some level of resistance, but it usually is coming from old white guys, so I take it with a grain of salt. Change, after all, can be hard.
One MNB reader wrote:
Regarding your comments on Rosalind Brewer
I think your commentary highlights a significant barrier to the realization of truly diverse thinking and approaches. When you say that resistance is coming from "old white guys, so I take it with a grain of salt" you are immediately dismissing their alleged POV based on a very shallow and condescending stereotype. While I have read you long enough to know there was likely at least some tongue in cheek to that comment, it does point out a common flaw in the diversity and inclusion discussion.
In my experience, often it is implicitly communicated that D&I means everyone except "old white guys" and that their reason for being exposed to D&I is just to reprogram them into more correct behavior. It often falls short of the true meaning of diversity and inclusion, where different viewpoints and life experiences come together to provide better understanding and outcomes.
The barrier that is created for these "old white guys" is the same barrier that has long existed for any group. No one likes to be dismissed just because of the way they look or others perceptions of what they may or may not believe. If you feel like your viewpoint is not welcome or valued in the overall discussion, then you are more likely to resist and separate yourself.
I look forward to the day that D&I actually manifests itself in the way that truly unlocks the potential.
I get your point, but I think you miss the real point.
The reason that diversity discussions focus on everybody but old white guys is that pretty much forever, it is the old white guys who dominated the power structure, defined the rules, set the parameters for who would be successful and have opportunities and who would not, decided who would be included and who would not, and established the framework within which institutions and businesses would work.
Speaking, in fact, as an old white guy, I don't spend a helluva lot of time worrying about whether my perspective on things is being considered or valued. I find it far more useful to keep reminding myself that there are other ways to see and experience the world. I try to avoid, to use a term we often employ here on MNB, epistemic closure.
Condescending? I think not. I think I have a lot to offer, but as someone said to me this weekend, "Kevin, you're a white heterosexual male of privilege, and what you don't know would fill a library." My first reaction to that was to be defensive … but on second thought, it might be more helpful to read some of the books from that library.
On another subject, from another reader:
l have been in retail grocery business for almost 50 years. When the pandemic hit and with all the out of stocks etc. I would put any and all information I received about what was going on for my customers. They all were very appreciative of this and like you mentioned I also took names and phone numbers of customers I didn't already know and notified them when product did arrive or saved for them to pick up when they came shopping. What better way of gaining new customers by doing something so simple. On the lighter side I would also post cartoons that made the paper in whatever section of the store.
And finally, from another reader:
Speaking of baseball … Baseball has lost its allure as the national pastime... fewer stolen bases, few hit and runs, excessive time of games due to pitching changes and batter stepping out of the box after every pitch, failure to learn to hit to overcome the shift (batters can’t “go the other way” or bunt to overcome a defensive shift), the analytics obsession (exhausted at listening to a game with “launch angle”, “exit velocity”, “would have been a home run in X number of major league stadiums”, etc), the era of strikeouts and the 3-run homer, outfielders failing to throw the ball properly and “sailing” throws to the plate, etc.
Couple that with the high cost to take one’s family to the game… parking, food concessions, and ticket prices have made the game unaffordable for many families...Despite all this, I still love Trout, Ohtani, Joe Madden and my beloved Angels…. throwbacks to an earlier era.
Baseball will always be my sport of choice. It may not be the national pastime anymore, but it remains, in a way that no other sport can approximate, and in the words of Robert B. Parker, "the most important thing that doesn't matter."
A perfect example of why was on Sunday … a gorgeous afternoon at Dodger Stadium … a terrific game with lots of exciting scoring … drinking beer and eating Dodger Dogs with the girl of my dreams.
Who could ask for anything more?