Chapter 5Inclusion and the Bottom LineA Broken Structure

Inclusiveness, coupled with a respectful curiosity about our differences, allows for valuable learning opportunities and opens doors to the exploration of different perspectives. These days, all or nearly all corporations repeat the mantra that diversity is “the right thing to do.” But words without deeds will not make real progress.

Without clear strategies and goals, business leaders lack the foundation for success. True inclusion in the senior management ranks, as well as at the pipeline recruitment level, requires commitment and a willingness to actually do the work. Unfortunately, many companies still maintain a limited view of what true representation looks like. But firms with a track record of authentic inclusion will reap economic benefits.

In 2020, the world saw what Black Americans long knew about continued violence and lack of respect for Black life and liberty with the horrendous deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, among others. Corporations responded as they always do, with rhetoric about “standing with Black Americans.” So-called black-outs, where brands replaced their logos with black boxes as a visual display of solidarity, overtook businesses' social media pages. Publicity departments released carefully crafted statements about their firms' “commitments to change.”

But it was different this time. Words were no longer sufficient. People demanded accountability.

The killings of Arbery, ...

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