As the year draws to a close ….
You might not think so when you look at your news feed, but in many aspects, the world has never been a better place. Worldwide, hunger is at a historic low. Life expectancy is higher than ever, as is literacy. The amount and extent of the world’s armed conflicts is decreasing continuously.
But despite all of this, we experience a profound unrest and foresee big troubles. The trade wars, the degree of inequality between rich and poor, the gap between the elite and the rest, climate change, possible water shortages, plastic soup… these are all important factors, and they’re frightening.
What is the basic purpose of a company as part of the society?
Many governments and individuals alike are trying to address these issues as best they can. But there is a clear responsibility for companies and institutions as well. At NGL, we see that many organizations are struggling to balance two focal points in their activities and policies: on the one hand, traditional bottom-line management (some call it performance); and on the other, defining the organization’s basic purpose as an essential part of society.
Any intention to contribute to society with monoculture organizations is wishful thinking.
Such organizations have the best of intentions, but many are missing one essential point. The resources necessary to address these problems can only be accessed, attained, included, activated and captured through a suite of well-balanced holistic solutions. And, as long as the companies themselves are not diverse and inclusive in their nature, they will continue to lack the essentials to make the necessary transformation. In other words: as long as we remain grounded in a corporate monoculture and fail to embrace diversity, all attempts to make a significant contribution to society will go no further than wishful thinking.
An inclusive society is, by nature and by necessity, a diverse society. And a truly diverse organization represents all aspects of its ecosystem in a proportionate manner, in every possible layer.
Studies have shown that diversity starts at the top, where an organization’s strategy, culture and priorities are set. I would like to take that one step further and proclaim that organizations will always miss the basics of diversity as long as they don’t have gender diversity at the top. You can’t claim to be diverse if you don’t represent a critical mass of 50% of the population.
Holistic solutions to the challenges we face require diverse and inclusive organizations.
What does this mean for you? The good news is that diversity is sector-agnostic and proven to strengthen both a company’s performance and its sense of purpose. So, whether your organization is working on climate issues, or the circular economy, or improved mobility for all, or better technology for the whole planet—you are wasting time and resources if you don’t embrace diversity and inclusion at the top.
I can’t claim that this will solve all your problems. Diversity is not a panacea: there is always work to be done. We can do better, and we should do better. But I do claim that you won’t be solving any of these problems if you don’t make diversity & inclusion the priority it should be. The world may never have been better in some aspects, but that doesn’t mean our work is finished. If anything, it should remind us that we are on the right track, that ours is the good fight, and that we are all in this together.