Maxims from Mike - 3 Rules for Making Diversity & Inclusion a Competitive Advantage.

Hello Leaders,

Welcome to Today. This week's Leadership and Personal Development tip embraces Diversity & Inclusion.

Maxim: Make a significant contribution to the overall success of your organization by being uniquely you.

Many organizations have already embraced diversity and inclusion. Some did it early because they thought it was the right thing to do. It was part of being a good corporate citizen. Others did it because they saw the internal benefits of creating a culture that reduced turnover and attracted new employees. Many are embracing D&I now because it is good for business. It affects both the top and bottom lines. Finally, government and other large customers have made supplier diversity a condition of business. It pays to be a diverse and inclusive entity.

A few stats

McKinsey reported, "Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Boston Consulting Group wrote, "Companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams also reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity - 45% of total revenue versus just 26%.

A Harvard Business School survey of 250 businesses found that those companies with greater diversity made between 18 to 69 percent more when it came to net income and operating revenue than those with a more homogeneous team. Of those same companies, 91% with a diverse workforce reported greater customer satisfaction. Businesses with a gender-diverse board, meanwhile, saw a 42% higher return in sales, 66% greater return on invested capital, and a 53% higher return on equity.

I think you get the picture. So how can your organization take advantage of diversity and inclusion and use it as a competitive advantage in the marketplace? I offer three rules written for the organization but addressed to the diverse individuals.

Three Rules

1. Be Uniquely You. Share your opinions. Realize your sharing may be in the form of questions. John Maxwell quipped, "Good leaders ask great questions." Oft times, knowing what questions to ask is more important than offering suggestions. It is imperative to ensure the team is solving the right problem. Each has a unique perspective. Your particular thoughts and experiences, based upon your diverse background, can contribute significantly to discovering that elusive solution. Your different perspective may hold the key that unlocks the door to inspiration and revelation.

With your uniqueness, work on your character (ethics, trustworthiness, honesty, etc.), competence (continuously learning, hard working, persistent, etc.), and courage (decision making, responsible, accountable, etc.) Speaking of courage, organizations need people who are not afraid to take calculated risks. They took a risk in hiring you. Do not be afraid of making mistakes. Do not let the risk of failure hold you back.

If you never fail, you are not taking risks. If you are not taking risks, you are not stretching yourself. If you are not stretching yourself, you are not growing. Growth means learning new things. There is a lot to learn even in - and perhaps especially in - failure. It's a failure only if you do not learn from it. So learn, grow, and watch your potential and influence increase as you take calculated risks. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Be uniquely you, take the risks, and share the learning.