Leading by example


Ethical Boardroom | February 26, 2019

Ethical Boardroom published a bylined article, “Leading by example,” authored by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant David Mills. In it, he explains that creating a truly inclusive environment begins at the top. The article is excerpted below.

The case for diversity in corporate leadership has never been stronger and steady advances towards diverse representation are becoming increasingly noticeable.

However, the pace of such progress lags too far behind the challenges that businesses and society face – a clear indicator that there remains much to be done.

“In a world that is changing at a faster rate than ever before, a variety of sensors are essential to enable businesses to effectively interpret different signals, both mitigating risk and seizing opportunity.” FTSE 100, CEO

In most countries, women occupy fewer than 20 per cent of executive roles; and ethnic minorities, even fewer. Boards fare marginally better. Increasingly clear is that simply hiring diverse employees is not enough to create business value. To fully capitalise on the opportunities that diversity presents, leaders must work to create an inclusive culture that allows employees at every level to contribute their unique perspectives and maximise their potential.

“We live in a world of exponential change, so it is absolutely critical that organisations have diverse points of view. And yet, despite the speed at which the world is moving, progress toward gender parity is incredibly slow.” FTSE 100 executive director

Research by Russell Reynolds Associates reveals that an organisation’s most senior leaders – CEOs, chairs and board members – play pivotal roles in creating inclusive cultures, irrespective of their own diversity. In our inaugural Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Pulse Survey, we polled more than 2,100 executives on their employer’s diversity and inclusion efforts and individual perceptions and experiences within the workplace. One of the most striking findings was that when senior leadership (namely, the board and executive committee) champions D&I, key human capital outcomes improve. This conclusion was matched by the 57 interviews with senior leaders in 18 countries across the world, who consistently emphasised the role that the chair and CEO can play in driving D&I.

To read the full article, click here.

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Leading by example