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How to Work With and Lead People Not Like You by Kelly McDonald

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CHAPTER 10Navigating the Waters of Promotions and Professional Development

Okay, so you've built a diverse team. You're proud of your hiring efforts and you've seen firsthand how well a diverse team can perform: they're solving problems and thinking in broader and more creative ways. They—and your business—are flourishing.

You want to reward your top performers with promotions and professional advancement. You want to see your diverse talent rise through the organization. But you don't want to find yourself in a situation like the one I described in the last chapter with Barbara. You know it's crucial to promote the right people for the right reasons.

Here's a rather weird fact: only two in five American workers believe merit counts for most job advancement. The other factors that are named as affecting promotions at work are: connections, seniority, and luck. Each one of those can be viewed as pretty depressing and demoralizing. Let's look at why:

  • Connections. What if you don't have any? What if the circle of people in your social or professional network aren't that influential? Or they're not that well connected themselves? Or wealthy? A company in Texas that owns assisted living communities for the elderly had tremendous difficulty adding people of color to their board of directors. They valued diversity and tried mightily to find diverse talent for their board, but without much success. Why? Because one of the criteria for being on their board was the board member's ability ...

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