You can make better decisions when supported by diverse minds working together toward a common goal. That is, when they are Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive (DEI).
I know this to be true because I’ve been supporting decisions my entire (long) professional career. Nearly half of my career was in large corporate offices, which at the time were not great models of DEI.
More recently I’ve done so as a software-company CEO, a consultant, and as coach for a diverse group of leaders in a peer group.
So let’s talk about the groups you may lead, consult with, or are part of.
A couple caveats
This post is not necessarily about leaders with the greatest decision-making authority for an entire organization. However, those are the individuals I’ve worked with, and still do.
This post is specific to decision making. How specific nationalities, races, or genders “should be” treated is not what I’m going to discuss. There are so many wonderful resources if this is what interests you. Reach out to me and I’ll share with you what might fit your need.
Here’s how DEI works in this leadership peer group
In 2014 I started coaching leadership peer groups, branded “10x!” and comprised of senior-level business leaders, or those in close succession.
What I’ve chosen to do in order to ensure DEI is:
- Actively seek others who are strategic to the organization and are different in a variety of ways from other leaders in the group. “Different” includes industry, position, gender, race, ethnicity, experience, career path, and more;
- Keep the group small by being highly selective of character (not all like-minded, but all share courage, curiosity, and tenacity); and
- Do not make price a factor that excludes those who fit.
We are all leaders, we are all different in every way I’ve mentioned, and we share a commitment to confidentiality and a single-minded focus on each individual’s success.
If you look at the sample testimonials I share on my site, you’ll notice that their words are not so dissimilar. All are expressing their growth as a leader. That growth, I know, includes making better decisions. It shows up in their stronger businesses and more fulfilled lives. Attribute this in part to DEI.
Here’s how DEI might benefit your group
When I use the term “group,” that might be a team (in the same organization as you), your peers (from anywhere), or members in a club; they are all “groups.” How might DEI benefit your group?
Their decisions. Decisions are critical to brilliant execution of strategy. Leaders need all individuals to do what they say they will do, execute brilliantly, and make choices (part of decision making) that positively affect those they work with. They must be working together.
A 2017 study by Cloverpop found that diverse groups (in this study, gender diverse) made decisions that drove better performance than decisions made by homogenous groups.
It’s D+E+I. You need diversity, equity, and inclusion — together.
A group that is diverse, but not inclusive or equitable, will not be pulling together for decisions. The loudest, and often the highest position or otherwise deemed more privileged, will be making that decision even if others seem to be fine (or even asking them to do so).
Having equity but not diversity or inclusion brings you back to the traditional homogenous senior leadership teams making decisions that then need to be executed by others.
Having inclusion-only is similar to equity-only, except it gives some opportunity to include different ages, backgrounds, experience, and positions. Too many leadership peer groups, and many professional services groups, inclusivity, similar to the traditional golf club membership. This might feel safe to those on the inside, but growth will be limited. See my last article about professional services groups for an example.
Taking the time to ensure that Diversity + Equity + Inclusion exist in your group or organization, will lead to better decision making. And better decisions will lead you more swiftly and surely into a better future.