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The Effectiveness-Lab

Diversity not a mere tick-box exercise – corporate optics 2 of 2

As per last week’s blog, there is quite a bit of practicing diversity for diversity’s sake going on. The so-called diversity for optics narrative.

Apparently, there are two schools of thought that influence, plus determine the impact of diversity in organizations.

The choice of diversity philosophy the organization deploys, determines the extent diversity and inclusion practices result in signature value-creation for the organization.

The power base behind diversity and inclusion situations:

The first school of thought is dominated by the authentic diversity and inclusion practitioners – people that don’t do it for optics. People that don’t practice diversity to get away with harsh judgment by the public. The supporters of this school of thought deeply understand the value-addition and extremely positive outcomes of authentic inclusion and participation at work and other places where they interface with other human beings.

When authentic diversity and inclusion are practiced: there is a clear understanding that the seamless cohabitation of space on earth and respect for the other’s differences bad or good, is premised on the principles below:

  • The acceptance that power monopoly and its hoarders are drivers of imbalanced power relations in organizations. Hoarding power whether professional or domestic leads to a situation where one side, be it, individuals or groups, dominate the other. Such dominance creates organizational discord
  • Giving up power by its hoarders is fundamental to creating authentic participation and inclusion – good neighbourliness in society and in professional environments is built on a strong foundation of being at ease with human-dissimilarity and the fact that individual-diversity is more-than the sum of its parts
  • Giving up power equates to accepting that people that are different from you (individual or group) have to gain some of the power you hoard and makes you powerful over them
  • When power hoarders and the opposing side both enjoy potent power – and are comfortable to engage in dissimilar dialogue, in safe spaces – allowing for diverse-thought processing, reflection and the acceptance of the actions that result from such a process – the assumption that authentic diversity and inclusion are happening at the organisation can be made

The second school of thought is dominated by the inauthentic diversity and inclusion practitioners. Such individuals or groups, even as we, submit, that their views have to be respected, are insincere in their participation and inclusion actions.

They don’t believe that diversity creates ‘people-health’ in organisations and the resulting signature value created by the people selling their labour to the entity.  Their diversity and inclusion actions are for window-dressing.  They want observers to perceive them as individuals/groups/ organizations that value diversity and inclusion but behind continue to keep the status quo

It’s all optics.  Diversity, intentional or not, is for purposes of political correctness. They don’t mean it.

This group also aligns to its own diversity and inclusion principles:

  • Diversity is not intended to derive ‘power-surrender’ outcomes. This type of practitioner is not about to give up the power they hoard without a fight
  • However – the authentic diversity and inclusion movement has gained so much traction and attention in the last few decades that it’s organisationally dangerous to disregard the movement. Diversity and inclusion PR disasters have nearly toppled even the biggest of organizations. It’s an OD reality that organizations on the opposite side of the authentic diversity debate can’t disregard
  • To mitigate the above – such organizations engage in fake diversity and inclusion initiatives. They present to the public an image of authenticity in ‘diversity and inclusion’. Yet, all they are after is to escape the wrath of those on the other side

Diversity, inclusion and signature value at firms:

So – what is the big deal about diversity?

Why should we not preach what the inauthentic diversity school does? After all, they are doing well – and in many instances, better than the authentic practitioners when measured against the bottom line


The simple concept of inclusive decision making can bring about faster change — and contribute directly to the bottom line.

The pluses of practicing authentic diversity and inclusion:

• Inclusive teams make better business decisions up to 87% of the time
• Teams that follow an inclusive process make decisions 2X faster with 1/2 the meetings.
• Decisions made and executed by diverse teams deliver 60% better results.

We hope that via these two blogs, we have put a case strong enough, for you to believe that genuine diversity and inclusion practice bring good to your company and society.

Learn to share power and discourse space with others in your organization’s eco-system


One response to “Diversity not a mere tick-box exercise – corporate optics 2 of 2”


    Diversity is vital in organizations that opt for excellent outcomes.

    Liked by 1 person

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About Me

Apollo B. Gabazira is an Ugandan OD. junkie fascinated by matters that render organisations/individuals effective or not. He blogs on effective leadership and management. He is a devoted green-farmer and breeds the Ayrshire cow at Nakabugu, Luuka district, Uganda. Apollo is quite effective at what he chooses to do.


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