Just finished reading The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan. It is a well written commentary about the history and contemporary aspects of diversity and inclusion (DI) from a human resources and organizational perspective. I highly recommend it to all of us who care about DI in general … especially the chapter on Unconscious and Unintentional Bias. I’ve been on both the receiving and delivering spectrum of this bias, and the book helped remind me that you will never know what it is like to walk in another person’s shoes unless you ask them, with a sincere desire to hear their answer, what it is like for them. I think this book has the potential to open fruitful discussions in a wide variety of organizations, work places and — with great hope — procurement processes. I was so impressed, that I expect we’ll write several blog posts over the next couple of months informed by the book’s content but with thoughts on how this content might apply to supplier diversity; and, how that content might apply to us as SDMWVBE (Small, Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Veteran Business Enterprise) businesses.
“Very simply put, diversity is the presence of difference. It can be measured, tracked, and recorded.” (page 9) The SDMWVBE certified businesses in this audience is very familiar with being tracked and recorded — just look at the emails from corporate supplier diversity web sites reminding you to update your profiles and/or upload a more current copy of a particular certification that you might hold. But, how many of us actually measure, track and record the diversity within our own businesses? If you need to acquire something new, how do you find a supplier? Do you use your networking within other certified businesses to add difference to your own supplier base? Do you check your state’s certified business websites to see if you can find a supplier who is not like you? For us, that would mean finding a veteran-owned or minority owned business in addition to other WBEs. And, yes, we currently have suppliers in both those categories — but we could always expand on that base and give another SDMWVBE an opportunity to quote. According to The Inclusion Dividend, this will help us strengthen our own business by being open to new ideas in building a better business.