Earlier this summer, we talked a bit about The Inclusion Dividend: Why Investing in Diversity & Inclusion Pays Off by Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan, with the intent of relating its concepts to supplier diversity; and, how it might apply to us as SDMWVBE (Small, Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Veteran Business Enterprise) businesses.  Chapter three is dedicated to understanding how diversity and inclusion impacts our daily lives — in and outside the business environment.  This chapter discusses four key concepts:

  • Intent and impact
  • Unconscious bias
  • Insider-outsider dynamics
  • Levels of systems

and walks us through the day of a typical senior manager.  Virtually any small business owner can appreciate the complexities, conflict juggling, time management and periodic mind-numbing exhaustion senior managers in large corporations experience.  And, we add to that, bottom line responsibility for everything that goes on in our own SDMWVBE organizations. It is easy to understand how despite our commitment, diversity and inclusion in our work places can get buried under the pressures of running our businesses.   We need to take a step back and look at our internal environments with a critical eye  — what kind of diversity do we reflect?  I underlined a sentence on page 67, because it is profound when you seriously consider its meaning: “Our group memberships frequently have more impact on our perspectives, experiences and behavior than does our individuality.”  To effectively evaluate ourselves we should look at the group(s) we have chosen as our business associates … are we all: graduates of a particular institution; women; of a narrow age group; people of color; men; white; or some other self-limiting group?  Chapter three gives us a foundation to identify and correct these limitations in preparation for learning to use diversity and inclusion as a leadership tool that will help our organizations flourish in unexpected ways.