Advocacy increases inclusion. Being an advocate makes a difference and you can increase inclusion by using your voice within your network…
Small acts of advocacy are all it takes to make a social movement. The #metoo movement was for the 12 years prior to last year’s Harvey Weinstein scandal a very small force for change. It wasn’t one single event that caused the social explosion. But it was when sufficient people acted in concert that it became a social movement.
And it certainly isn’t just about hashtags. With the current US President’s finger firmly on the Twitter trigger, you might think It is. There are so many more voices advocating publicly for their position. That makes it even more important to make your advocacy effective, not just noisy. I’m not ruling out social media as a tool for advocating, but it’s a means, not a message. I’m going to rely instead on a Gandhian approach – ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.
Advocacy increases inclusion. You can increase inclusion by using your voice within your network. By speaking out more about the importance of inclusion, you can create more inclusion. More people will feel included and more people will join you to advocate for inclusion. If you raise your voice with confidence you will be a social force for change. People will feel included and experience a greater sense of belonging.
Being an advocate makes a difference, yet many leaders don’t feel comfortable advocating.
Some people don’t advocate because they think that saying it once is enough. If you say it once, everyone will get it. If you’ve got or work with kids, you’ll see through that one straight away! It’s not that different if you work with adults.
Another reason we don’t advocate is because we believe others are advocating, their efforts will be enough for the message to get through. It won’t make any difference whether or not I do.
Still others don’t advocate because they don’t think their single voice has much weight; it doesn’t seem worth it.
The harder thing that stops people advocating is that they don’t believe they can be powerful enough to make change: a social movement seems to take a lot of effort to organise without a guaranteed outcome; it all seems too much.
Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette is an example of using your own story to advocate for change. Not all advocacy needs this degree of personal disclosure to be effective.
Advocacy that resonates with those around you is like a swarm of starlings, a murmuration. When the individual birds come together they create a powerful and amazing sight. The magic of it is that this happens because each bird pays attention to just seven of their neighbours. Starlings are ordinary birds, all it takes is for seven of them to pay attention to each other, to get in sync, and they create something extraordinary.
Just like the starlings don’t have to influence the whole flock, don’t try to influence a crowd. Focus on seven key people around you, and magically, you too will influence a social movement.
“Molly, the reason you got less than Thomas, is because you are a girl.” We take a look at some of the highlights of this year’s International Women’s Day…
The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have triggered an intensely powerful outpouring of testimony and solidarity among people around the world.
But this is only the beginning of the story.
The broader issues of systemic workplace sexism and the fight for meaningful inclusion undeniably stretch far beyond the entertainment world.
We need look no further than our own procurement backyard where women account for just 20-35 per cent of procurement association memberships, represent just 30 per cent of attendees and 20 per cent of speakers, and earn up to 31 per cent less than their male counterparts.
Time is most definitely up for our own profession to tackle this issue and celebrate more fully the dynamite contributions made by talented women to their businesses and to the profession.
In Pakistan’s capital Islamabad, its largest city Karachi, and the cultural capital of Lahore, campaigners denounced violence against women in Pakistan, where nearly 1,000 women are killed by close relatives each year in so-called honour killings
People tweeted about the global #WikiGap event, organised in partnership with the Swedish foreign ministry, which aimed to get more women contributing to the Wikipedia website to address the gender imbalance on the world’s largest online and user-generated encyclopaedia
“Molly, the reason you got less than Thomas, is because you are a girl.”
Stark pay gaps between men and women prevail across the world, which is why one Norwegian financial trade union, Finansforbundet, launched one of our favourite campaigns for this year’s International Women’s Day.
In the video, a group of children are asked to fill two vases with blue and pink balls.
Once they’ve completed the task they are rewarded with jars of sweets.
But the boys get more.
As you might predict, the confused children are quick to condemn the explanation they are given that boys get more simply because they are boys.
Unequal pay is unacceptable in the eyes of children.
We promise to donate £1 to Action Aid – a charity committed to ending the inequality that keeps women and girls locked in poverty – for every person that joins Bravo before 12th March 2018 – that’s the end of the day today!
In other procurement news this week…
KFC: Back to Bidvest
It hasn’t been a (finger-licking) good month for KFC WHO experienced widespread distribution problems after it decided to switch its logistics contract from Bidvest to DHL, resulting in the closure hundreds of outlets and disappointment of thousands of fried-chicken fans
Last week, it was reported that KFC would be returning, in part, to its ex-distributor Bidvest, who will supply up to 350 of its 900 restaurants
Bidvest has pledged “a seamless return” and a KFC spokesperson said “our focus remains on ensuring our customers can enjoy our chicken without further disruption.” Let’s hope they don’t cluck it up this time!
Lego has started using polymer from plants in some of its toys as part of a move away from oil-based plastics.
The Danish firm’s first bioplastic offering is made from sugarcane and will be used in “botanical” elements including leaves, bushes and trees
The bioplastics are set to appear in stores later this year as Lego moves towards sustainable raw materials in all its products by 2030
Tim Brooks, vice president of environmental responsibility at Lego said: “We are proud that the first Lego elements made from sustainably sourced plastic are in production and will be in Lego boxes later this year. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable materials.”
Business Leaders are tired of hearing about the “D” word. Tired of hearing about diversity initiatives, forums, unconscious bias training, statistics. We get it; leaders are probably tired because all of the hype is on the problem.
As D&I (Diversity and Inclusion) Practitioners we are tired also of the “fluffy” responses to inclusion that are labelled as solutions. We’ve all participated in some of the fluff: Cultural Diversity Week, Harmony Day, International Women’s Day, Gay Pride Marches, coin collections for paralympians!
The reality is that by and large Australian businesses already have diverse workforces. Walk into most workplaces, and you will see some form of workforce diversity: age, gender, physical ability, sexuality, culture, thought. Although these staff members are “celebrated” with seasonal activities like Harmony Day, we are just not including these diversities where and when it counts in business.
Australian leaders who hold the power are not from diverse groups
There is no real business motivation to drive inclusion
There is a lack of know-how on launching and driving sustainable change to move the needle on inclusion.
AUSTRALIAN LEADERS & DIVERSE TEAM MEMBERS: “Feeling like an onlooker at work”
Inclusion can’t happen if we continue to have a distance in structure and relatability between Australian leaders and diverse team members. Figure 1 shows the distance in structure – Australian businesses are still run by Anglo-Celtic men who may have little relatability to people from diverse backgrounds.
Figure 1: Australia’s Anglo Celtic Men still hold the power
How do people from diverse backgrounds feel? It is ‘feeling like an onlooker at work, or more like an invisible spectator than part of a team’. This is the experience of ‘otherness’, or exclusion in the workplace, that might be subtle but is pervasive (Research by Catalyst).
My experiences … have made me far more aware of my “Blackness” than ever before. I have found that … no matter how liberal and open-minded some [people] try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor … as if I really don’t belong. – Michelle Obama
The impact of exclusion can affect everything from morale to career advancement. Diverse individuals report being more likely to withdraw from full participation and contribution (engagement) to the business. At a business level, this typically means lowered productivity or at the very least, less discretionary effort. The problem is Anglo-Celtic male leaders may not even be aware that this is happening.
How do we get the attention of Anglo-Celtic male business leaders?
Unfortunately, we will get their attention mostly with business statistics that link to financials. So here are some compelling statistics:
Gender diverse and ethnically diverse companies return 15% and 35% better financial performance than their competitors.
Sounds like a no brainer to get motivated to do something, right? However, Australia has got to have the diversity represented first and in the right senior roles. At present, every diversity category you pick is under-represented and our lagging shows on a world-stage, especially with women: Australia is only at 14th place worldwide for women on large, publicly listed companies; and 17th place for women in parliament. Once we improve this, then we can talk about leveraging inclusion to get Fig. 2’s financial success stories.
Figure 2: Diversity Matters
3 steps to cut the fluff and make inclusion matter
Do we wait to get representation first and then work at inclusion? No, start now – here is how: If you are at the top, the middle or indeed in any leadership role, here are three steps tocut the fluff on inclusion:
Understand the diversities you are dealing with (MBWA)
Listening to the unique experiences of diverse employees (MBWA: management by walking around) and adopting inclusive behaviours will reap immediate benefits for your employees and your business. Do not fall into the trap of forming a view about the current state by using data based on outdated personal experience, assumptions and anecdotes or by talking a merit approach.
Translate the potential business impact of continuing exclusion
For example, if you continue to have low levels of women or CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) women represented across your organisation, what does that mean for your reach with customers (51% of Australia’s population are women and we are one of the most multicultural nations in the world). Do you know how your engagement scores translate across diverse groups? Are your staff feeling like onlookers and are these hidden within a 70+ average engagement score?
Commit to act with transparency and accountability
At a senior level, engage the right stakeholder to develop policy, set targets and then make the right leaders accountable for communicating and embedding the policy and the targets into the organisational operating rhythm. All other levels: start with simple acts of inclusion: don’t talk over someone, learn to pronounce someone’s name, encourage an opinion and be open to listening fully – basically invite an onlooker in and keep the door open.
So, cut the fluffy celebrations, events and festivals – instead, take some concrete steps to make inclusion happen on an organisational and individual level, in ways that allow people to be valued and encourage others to step up.
This article was written by Div Pillay & Michelle Redfern, Co-founders of Culturally Diverse Women.
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Too scared to talk about workplace diversity and inclusion? Dominic Price will happily go first as he debunks the 5 most common myths about underrepresentation.
As a 6-foot-4-inch straight white guy in tech, it might seem unusual that I’m writing about diversity and inclusion. The reason is,more of us need to: write about it, talk about it, and, especially, do something about it.
Just looking at the nightly news in recent weeks, or a new report that underscores the gaps between how tech workers view diversity within their companies and the realities of the situation, it’s apparent how crucial it is to speak out on issues of equality. Speaking up can feel uncomfortable (and heck, by writing this I know I’m making myself a target for criticism), but it’s no longer an option for those of us in groups who hold the most power to stay silent.
My colleagues rightly point out that as a white guy, I’ve got quite a bit of privilege in my industry, and there’s lots of good use for it. So, here’s my boldest attempt yet to make my privilege work for everyone. Specifically, I want to clear up some major misconceptions I hear from others, and predominantly from people who look like me.
Our position of privilege means we are the most removed from the hardships others face and we need to proactively reject the myths we hear.
Myth #1: “Why should we give women and minorities a leg up? Isn’t that unfairly prioritising one group over another?”
Standard words from a fish that doesn’t know it’s in water. It’s much easier to blame others’ misfortunes on lack of intelligence or hard work than on a lack of equal opportunities. This is a protectionist strategy by the strong and wealthy to reduce the power and potential of the perceived weak. For all of the talk about being “data-driven,” many seem to believe that everyone has an equal chance to be in the workplace, despite loads of evidence to the contrary. While it would be nice to think we are all treated equally, simply being a minority can mean being treated differently by others and having fewer social and economic opportunities.
Our position of privilege means we are the most removed from the hardships others in our industry face and need to proactively reject the myths we hear.
Advocating for increased diversity in our industry doesn’t mean people from marginalised groups want an unfair advantage or hand-outs. They just want the same opportunities that others have had.
Myth #2: “You have to be a minority to be involved in diversity & inclusion (D&I).”
A wonderful way to pass the buck. The prevalence of underrepresented minorities talking about a lack of opportunities is because they feel the pain every day and are intrinsically more motivated to make it right. Just because we’re not personally guilty of creating the unequal playing field does not mean we’re not personally responsible for helping to fixing it. When your child spills milk, do you say “not my mess”? Our predecessors helped tilt the playing field, and now it’s our turn to level it out. The sooner we realise we contributed to this problem, (even if only passively through lack of action) the quicker we move from rhetoric to making a difference.
Just because we’re not personally guilty of creating the unequal playing field does not mean we’re not personally responsible for helping to fixing it.
There are plenty of ways to get involved: From merely drawing attention to biased behaviours you see, to getting involved in your company’s existing diversity efforts, or starting your own.
Myth #3: “We just don’t have a diverse applicant pool.”
Ah, yes. A favourite of many, especially in Silicon Valley where recruiting is particularly tough — for example by 2020, there will be nearly 1.5 million unfilled computer science roles. But have you asked yourself why you don’t have a diverse pool? Are you hiring your grads from the same tiny set of schools with very homogeneous student populations? Have you searched for underrepresented candidates, or created programs to bring more into the fold? What have you changed to attract and support them? While the talent pipeline is a common excuse, in truth discrimination, implicit and explicit, constantly blocks underrepresented minorities from entering or advancing in the field; two-thirds of predominantly white and Asian women in STEM report having to constantly prove themselves in the workplace, with black women facing even more extreme biases and challenges.
It’s also worth examining your recruiting tactics to see if you’re doing anything that could be discouraging underrepresented candidates. From gendered language in job descriptions to playing up the office pool table versus paid parental leave on your careers page, you can inadvertently send the wrong message without realising it.
Myth #4: “This is political correctness gone mad.”
Political correctness is a real thing, but it’s also irrelevant to what we’re discussing here. Can efforts to promote diversity be merely political correctness when there’s a mountain of evidence pointing to it being a real problem? Many studies also show diversity has huge benefits when it comes to business and team performance, so it’s something we should all care about.
It’s true that diversity conversations can be very nuanced, which creates fear about saying the wrong thing. But there is a pretty simple fix, which is to ask questions. Listen to and believe the stories from people from backgrounds different from yours. Educate yourself. In the same way you’d tackle a new project or product feature, gather as much information as possible so you can make better, more informed decisions. This isn’t about stifling your voice, but creating room for everyone to express themselves in a way that helps us all do our best work.
Myth #5. “I don’t see gender or race” or “I treat everyone the same.”
This is straight up empirically false. Your brain sees gender, it sees race and it sees just about every other visible category imaginable, whether you consciously pay attention to it or not. Let me say it again: It is neuroscientifically impossible for you to not see attributes like race and gender, and to keep them from affecting your decision-making. I used to think treating everyone the same was what I should strive for, but it turns out that doing so actually results in discrimination and unequal opportunity. Treating everyone the same, even when they’ve faced vastly different challenges, only serves to keep them on a tilted playing field.
Embracing and supporting diversity is something we’re all responsible for and something that, by definition, we are all a part of (a single person can’t be diverse, so diversity includes white guys like me). To move forward, we need to take the crazy myths we’ve told ourselves that attempt to justify the status quo and throw them out the door. Guys like me have benefited from this mess of inequality more than any other group, so it’s our job to actively share opportunities. We’ll all win, as a team.
With what’s happening in the world, it’s important to keep an open heart and an open mind. The choice is yours. You can either become an active part of the solution or a stoic part of the issue in need of solving. Which one sounds more exciting?
Dominic West is Head of R&D and Work Futurist at Atlassin. This article was originally published on Collective Hub.
Karen Morley realised very early on in her career that her workplace experience would be somewhat different from her male counterparts. Drawing on her wealth of knowledge she offers three key pieces of advice to procurement rising stars.
Quite early in my career, it became clear that my overarching purpose was to help leaders realise their full potential (although I may not have articulated it quite as clearly as this at the time!). I have a huge and on-going curiosity about people and their motivations. I became a psychologist to explore that further, and my studies and professional identification fed my purpose.
Levelling The Playing Field
As a young woman starting out my professional life, and with an ambition to succeed and achieve well, I was a keen observer of who in my organisation was given the best opportunities and who was promoted, and it didn’t take long for me to conclude that there wasn’t a level playing field for equally talented men and women. This was a big surprise to me and it was disappointing to know that equality efforts still had a long way to go.
And so my purpose has developed over time to include my passion for ensuring women are provided equal opportunity to grow and succeed, and for working with organisations to promote strategies that increase gender balance, and diversity and inclusion in general. To any procurement rising stars, I offer three key pieces of advice:
Rising Stars: What got you here won’t get you there
This phrase, which comes from Marshall Goldsmith, is a very powerful one. Continuing to do more of what you’re good at is seductive, but limiting, at least if you want to keep rising. And not all organisations are good at making this clear to their newer leaders.
While we know that new roles and increased seniority require new skills and perspectives, I also speak with the leaders I coach about what they need to give up. You need to give up a lot of what you have been recognised for and been good at, once you’re managing a team.
Create strong foundations that will serve your entire career
Notwithstanding that you need take on and give up certain skills and perspectives as your career grows, there are a couple of related foundation skills for leaders that help regardless of the size and shape of your job. I think these are some of the toughest things to manage, but worth it in terms of the payback:
Manage your attention – disciplined attention is the currency of leadership. To be successful you need to pay attention to the things that matter most, and sustain your attention on those things in the midst of many distractions.
At increasingly senior levels this intensifies and focusing strategically and productively becomes ever more challenging. How to zone out the minutiae of everyday demands and keep attention on the big picture? You’ve got to be a bit ruthless with your attention and give up any need you might have to be all things to all people, or to be the one who has the right answers. Instead, prioritise what matters most and excel at it.
Manage your perspective – being able to manage your attention helps you to manage your perspective taking. And managing your perspective taking helps with important things like enabling others to do their work, and managing complexity.
The only effective way of dealing with complexity is being able to take different perspectives. Instead of managing for certainty, we need to lead for possibility. That can be challenging, and anxiety-provoking, in organisations where the drive is towards certainty. Seeking out the perspectives of people who are different from us, irritate us, or who stretch us beyond our comfort zones, can unlock enormous creativity and power. What questions do/would they ask? Build them into your repertoire to develop greater flexibility in your thinking.
Know your story, and tell it well
How do you want the world to know you, and to understand the leader you are becoming? Spending time crafting your storylines is of critical importance firstly in gaining your own clarity: what’s your leadership purpose, your values and motivations to lead? How readily and clearly can you articulate these?
When you’re growing and developing, your stories may become a little confused, and some of them are changing. You may need to discard some, and find new ones. Working out how to articulate them clearly can help you gain clarity on what they are. Win:win!
I find that women in particular may be reluctant to tell their stories; I often hear ‘I don’t think I have anything interesting to say’. But everyone does. And a story should only take 60 to 90 seconds to tell.
No-one else will be clear about what you stand for if you’re not. Your stories serve to prime you for success. As you tell your stories people come to better connect with you, understand the authentic you, and appreciate your intentions. Help them to see you as the leader you want to be known as.
My Top Tips On Reducing Gender Disparity
To be successful in shifting the representation of women in senior roles and start to nurture those rising stars, it’s important to nail these four things:,
Sincerely champion the value of women in senior leadership, and publicly commit to change; Giam Swiegers, Global CEO of Aurecon, is a wonderful example of this
Develop an inclusive culture and supporting practices, including promoting inclusion as an organisational ideal, promoting inclusive practices such as flexible working for everyone, and changing hiring and promotional practices to make them merit-based
Collect the right data, make it transparent and hold managers to account; Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and Lara Poloni, CEO AECOM A&NZ are outstanding examples of organisations that transparently reviewed pay data, found gender-based differences, and adjusted the salaries of affected women
As a leader, recognise the impact and pervasiveness of unconscious bias, seek to understand it, and improve decision making practices to reduce its impact
Procurious has launched Bravo!, a group that seeks to celebrate and promote women working within procurement. Get involved here.