Effectively Addressing the Issues of Bias Leaders – Nu Leadership Series

“ There are no warlike people – just warlike leaders.”
Ralph Bunche

As you watch the frenzy of multiculturalism around you, why should leaders even care? Who cares about these demographical shifts in America or abroad? What is forcing executive to understand diversity? I feel that it is customer pressures and employee actions have forced organizational leaders to focus inwardly.

Johnson-Reece, Developing an Inclusive Marketing Strategy, argues that companies are missing enormous opportunities if they aren’t taking a customer-focused approach to their diversity and marketing strategy.

Companies should review their organizational make-up and what messages they are sending to the marketplace in a multicultural customer base. Even rich, traditional institutions cannot hide from market influences. For example, the PGA has undergone scrutiny for its elitist attitude toward women and minorities.

Therefore, a leader’s prejudice can jeopardize an organization’s position in the market. Tom Peters, management guru and author of Trends, explains a bias perspective of leaders toward women is damaging them in the marketplace.

Peters simply portrays these leaders as ignorant. Why? Overwhelmingly men dominate the composition of top management and boards of directors yet women are the purchasers of most goods and services (women purchase about 94 percent of the products, according to Peters).

However, organizational leaders do not deliver goods and services directly aimed for women in the market. Peters declares “that women are grossly underserved in the marketplace might make sense–if it made sense. But it doesn’t. It’s absolutely insane.” Today’s leaders understand that these outright biases are clearly noticed in the marketplace and will be rewarded accordingly.

Likewise, potential employees are now analyzing senior leadership in most organizations to see if they are reflective of a diverse population and culture. This means “practicing what you preach.” Clearly, any non-action by organizations could place them at a disadvantage for getting outstanding, young recruits.

If no action is taken toward diversity given the consequences, is it then a question of a leader’s preference to stay exclusive? Can organizations afford to keep such closed minded leaders? Finally, organizations will continue to be bombarded from all sides, employees and customers, on their abilities to be responsive to a diverse population. Therefore, ignoring these culture changes in the market could be destructive to an organization’s bottom-line.

References:

Johnson-Reece, Nicole (2004). Developing an Inclusive Marketing Strategy: organizations that value diversity in their workplace and support them with a focus marketing strategy will be industry leaders, Franchising World.

Peters, T. (2005). Trends. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited.

© 2006 by Daryl D. Green