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Diversity is the New Currency for Growth

06/03/2015 12:00AM

By Glenn Llopis, July 2013 – Costco Connection

BY 2050, MINORITIES will represent 54 percent of America, yet most American business leaders remain uninformed about what diversity means to business, leaving them unable to inspire innovation in their diverse workforce and multiply the equity of their brands. So says Irvine, California, Costco member Glenn Llopis, an author, business consultant and executive coach, who advocates for a new cultural paradigm.

“Those uncomfortable with the new role that diversity management plays in the workplace and the marketplace must recognize that it is no longer a choice,” he says. “The demographic shift in America demands it.” Llopis offers these tips for drawing the best results from a more diverse workforce and customer base.

Become more culturally intelligent.

Cultural intelligence is critically important for business, leadership and the advancement of humanity. Don’t guess. Know the cultural sensitivities of your target audience.

Get comfortable talking about diversity.

Approach diversity management not only as an ethical responsibility, but also as a business strategy. Allow diversity to enable new marketplace opportunities, more innovation, recruitment of top talent and leadership, and unprecedented growth and profitability. Always be aware of how diversity affects your business.

Talent and business development must become interdependent.

Companies that recruit and retain employees from the diverse talent pool must now translate those efforts into the design of new business models to authentically serve changing demographics and diverse populations. Start by shifting your focus and managing diversity not as a cost center, but to generate new revenue opportunities.

Create a best-place-to-work environment.

When workplace values are aligned with the diverse representation of cultures in the workforce, loyalty, retention, engagement and productivity increase. Begin to manage the workplace as a cultural mosaic versus a disconnected melting pot of talent.

Promote authentic best practices versus inauthentic initiatives.

Diversity initiatives have historically been all about the representation of employee statistics. Instead, define diversity best practices based on shared values that continuously strengthen the workplace culture and empower individuality to support company goals.

Think profit center, not cost center.

When you view diversity as your new business growth enabler, opportunities will multiply as talent productivity increases and market share grows. When leaders begin to see the real value of diversity as a growth enabler, it will shift from being a traditional cost center to a critical time-sensitive profit center.

Focus on significance, not just success.

Leaders who are successful at sustaining a diverse culture in the workplace and earning culturally relevant relationships with diverse consumers are the ones who focus on the long-term impact for their business, not just the short-term success stories that quickly lose momentum. Define the narrative for the role diversity will play in helping you grow your business. Define a measurable matrix and closely monitor and manage the outcomes.

It takes time and effort, but soon you will be defining the diversity business case study for success and significance in your business and industry.

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The cultural demographic shift™ in the United States is about the workplace and marketplace telling us that it is becoming less about the business defining the individual and more about the individual defining the business. This is exactly why Hispanics – both entering the workplace in search of the right employer who will allow them to be their authentic selves as well as those professionals who have been battling the gulf between assimilation and authenticity – are now ready to advance as 21st century leaders by activating their immigrant perspective; that is, the influence their cultural values have on the natural ways they think, act and are motivated to perform at work.