The Darryl Mobley Show: Your Life Coach On The Radio PODCAST

14 Reasons Why Your Organization’s Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Will Continue To Fail. Epi 18

July 22, 2020 Darryl L. Mobley, Life Coach Season 1 Episode 18
The Darryl Mobley Show: Your Life Coach On The Radio PODCAST
14 Reasons Why Your Organization’s Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Will Continue To Fail. Epi 18
Show Notes Transcript

A Client Asked Coach Mobley How To Fix Diversity Problems At Her Companies. He Went All "Coach Mobley" On Her And Broke It Down!

In this episode #18 of The Darryl Mobley Show: Your Life Coach On The Radio, America's #1 Life Coach – Darryl Mobley – breaks his silence on issues concerning diversity problems across America in response to a request from a client who is one of America's Most Accomplished Business Leaders.


Coach Mobley pulled no punches as he addressed the 14 reasons why America's "diversity problems" have not been fixed. He discussed:

  • Corporate leadership?
  • Research that determined the exact benefits of diversity
  • The history of diversity, or lack thereof
  • The effort companies put into fixing their diversity problem
  • The first and most important step to take in order to fix diversity problems
  • The long history of Affirmative Action as the country was being built and throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries
  • The role of human nature
  • The everyday impact of Conscious and Unconscious Bias
  • Advantageous connections
  • The blinding impact of Hubris
  • Foolish, nonsensical Performance Art as a way to not actually fix diversity problems
  • "Virtue signaling" in place of results
  • Psychological conflicts
  • Why fixing diversity problems is hard
  • The role anger plays
  • and a whole lot more!

“If it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.”  ~ Kahlil Gibran

Identify the true causes. Then fix the problems. 

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14 Reasons Why Your Organization’s Diversity & Inclusion Efforts Will Continue To Fail

by Darryl L. Mobley, Life Coach

A client who sits on a few boards recently sent me an email asking for input on how her organizations could fix their “diversity problems.” I’m getting this request more often these days so, with her agreement, I am sharing my response to her.

Research by McKinsey & Company shows that companies with more culturally and ethnically diverse management teams and boards were 33% and 43% more likely to see better-than-average profits, respectively. There is a very significant correlation between diversity and an organization’s performance. Why do more diverse organizations outperform their less diverse counterparts? It’s simple – diverse workplaces, management teams and boards are more innovative, make more complete business decisions, make better hiring decisions, and solve problems faster. 

The impact of diversity is also clear when you look at U.S. industries that historically limited the participation of minorities – particularly Black people. Consider the many innovations, successes  and advancements that have occurred in the entertainment, science, music, math, sports, and military industries as a result of the contributions of Black people once they were no longer officially prohibited from participating. 

Despite data that presents clear benefits for more inclusivity, most organizations make little to no real effort when it comes to attracting, retaining, developing, and advancing diverse talent. These organizations are leaving revenue, profits, market share, and employee satisfaction on the table. And, increasingly, citizens, consumers, and customers are holding organizations accountable for their discrimination.

“How” to fix an organization’s diversity problems begins with acknowledgement of “why” (causes) there are diversity problems.

Based on my work with, and analysis of, more than 200 organizations, here’s why most fail at diversity and inclusion.

1.        The organization’s actions in addressing diversity problems are not driven by a coherent set of principles which guide leadership and corporate decision-making and behavior.

2.       Fixing the diversity problem is not really important to the organization’s leadership or board.

3.       The organization’s diversity problems are sustained by unchecked human nature. I’ve long known that fire burns, water runs downhill, and people tend to hire and promote those who look like them. 

I still chuckle at the time a junior manager at a company with which I was affiliated was given a second in-a-row poor job performance evaluation by his well-regarded boss. Even as a casual observer, one could see that this junior manager was simply not meeting basic job requirements. This is normally the death knell, and it would be expected that the junior manager would be required to quickly leave the company, branded as a failure. 

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a very senior manager who was not in the junior manager’s chain of command swooped in and suggested that he would take the junior manager into his division and make sure that the junior manager got good training. The move was made and the junior manager was transferred. 

That junior manager was apparently trained very well because he got promoted relatively quickly – twice – before getting offered a much bigger job by a competing company. He accepted. Due to LinkedIn, I am able to see that he has continued to parlay that series of events into high-status jobs at a series of companies. Again, due to the magic of LinkedIn, I see that which was neither obvious nor announced when this junior manager was rescued – the former senior manager likely swooped in to salvage this person’s career because they had attended the same private prep school (a generation apart), were members of the same college fraternity, and had several familial connections. 

My point here is that the uneven playing field, created and sustained by both unconscious & conscious bias in actions and decisions – big & small – by those making hiring and promotion decisions, represents an enormous advantage that distorts careers. Diverse talent is far less likely to have these advantageous connections.

4.       The organization’s efforts at addressing its diversity issues are often doomed to fail because underlying their recruiting & retention efforts is a false belief that the “talent isn’t out there” in the diverse population. 

This incredibly flawed thinking is driven by hubris which allows that one’s own upbringing, schooling, community, drive, and intelligence is unquestionably superior to those “others” and should be the model used in efforts to find, recruit, train, and develop talent. This is discrimination.

During a meeting early in my corporate career, I was told by my bosses that, “It’s tough. We just can’t find other qualified Black candidates.” While I did not work in HR, I was perplexed by their statement and replied – admittedly with a bit of impertinence – “You want different fish, you have to change where you fish. You won’t catch different people by only looking for them in the same places you’ve always looked for the people who look just like you. Why don’t you do some recruiting at…” 

5.       The organization’s efforts to address its diversity problems are guided by the PR or HR departments and not driven by business leaders with specific goals and a bottom-line, results-driven focus with a clear mandate to make it happen.

6.      The organization’s mid-level managers are not evaluated and rewarded based on achieving carefully designed goals regarding the training & development of diverse employees. It’s not news that middle management will not do what they are not rewarded for.

7.       The organization’s energy to address its diversity problems is oriented towards performance art (with slogans, T-shirts, multi-colored flags, tearful actors professing their guilt, “allies” and the like) and not meaningful results. Nothing is so vacuous and ineffectual as virtue-signaling masquerading as real change. Talk has always been cheap. Deeds not words.

8.      The organization is psychologically conflicted as it does brisk business with state-run companies from openly and outrageously racist countries even while the organization publicly thumps its chest over its belief in equality and diversity. This behavior versus assertion cannot well coexist. It is as author Kahlil Gibran said: If it is a despot you would dethrone, see first that his throne erected within you is destroyed.”

9.      The organization’s effort to fix its diversity problems is hampered by a failure to acknowledge that the greatest affirmative action is the one that for hundreds of years has insanely valued one group over another based on the provably false use of color of skin as a proxy for ability.  

10.    The organization fails to understand that addressing its diversity problem will be really hard because it is the organization that needs to change.  Real change is hard and uncomfortable. Remember, our country went to war to address the slavery issue. It was the right thing to do. The organization must consciously choose to do the right thing – even when it’s difficult.

11.     The organization’s effort to address its diversity problems is mostly propelled by the unguided anger of the mob as opposed to being driven by the steely-eyed resolve of the organization’s leadership.

12.    There is failure to accept that the diversity problems are due to flaws in the organization’s overall system and not due to a lack of talent among the diverse population. The harmed are not the problem.

13.    The organization’s efforts to address its diversity problems do not comprehensively and strategically address recruitment, training & development, retention, and advancement of diverse entry, mid-level, and senior employees.

14.    The organization’s failure to solve its diversity problems is due to a lack of the following: accountability, overt connection to business growth, financial investment, strong leadership, and on-strategy programs.

Next Steps

Let’s discuss these causes as they apply to each of your organizations. Then, I’ll be happy to put together a comprehensive plan tailored for “how” each organization can solve its diversity problem.
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That's the message I sent to one of my clients. Now...


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As Coach Mobley says, "No negativity allowed," and "Enjoy Life!"