Back in 2017, well before the pandemic, we wrote a post on the big benefits of being inclusive leaders in disruptive markets. Fast forward to 2021 and that’s more evident than ever!
Disruption is Everywhere
Being a well-established organization can be a double-edged sword. While name recognition and a firmly-entrenched reputation are attributes desired by many organizations, it also means it can be difficult to adapt company culture and brands to changing markets. These firms are often on the lookout for market disruptors – companies that shatter the paradigm of how things have traditionally been done in an industry. Think, desktop computer, iPhone, Uber, etc.
But even established companies can adapt and disrupt their markets to gain an advantage. And they’ve had to during the pandemic.
The business world has changed around the world. Never before have so many companies had so much in common. Never before have so many companies been faced with the unknown and forced to take action or fail!
Who can they turn to during these times? Their staff members, their customers, their communities.
Big Benefits from DEI
Being a disruptor and adapting and capitalizing on changing cultural and market trends requires being aware of and in tune to such trends in the first place. This is another area where diversity, equity—and, we would say most importantly, inclusion—are so important to businesses.
An organization that is too homogeneous in terms of generation, race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic background, geographic diversity, etc. risks becoming stiff and static in the face of a constantly changing business environment.
For example, a company that fails to take an inclusive approach to its Generation Z employees is potentially missing out on great insights these cohorts may have into the importance of new technologies or new ways of marketing to their peers.
But You Have to Listen!
Achieving benefits from diversity is impossible if you’re not seeking out and, most importantly, listening to diverse voices. This is especially important when you’re seeking to serve a diverse audience of any kind.
- If your board of directors is all male, but your target audience is primarily female, you don’t have the right people at the time.
- If your senior leadership team is largely comprised of white Americans and you’re trying to engage and retain LatinX customers, you’re likely to fail.
- If the new people you’re hiring into your organization don’t reflect the diverse markets you’re trying to serve, you’ll never be able to glean the advantage of insights you can’t possibly understand.
All three of the bullets above are focused on building diversity—and that’s important. But, most important, is leveraging that diversity in strategic ways through inclusion.
Inclusion drives big ideas, innovation, and business growth. But you must take a mindful approach to seeking input. Be inclusive!