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The Diversity Index by Susan E. REED

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4 The Reality of Change Must Accompany the Rhetoric of Change

COMPANIES GET INTO TROUBLE WHEN THEY PROFESS ONE idea but act in a contradictory manner. Lockheed’s black employees knew the company had signed an equal opportunity employment agreement with the U.S. government and did not like being denied equal opportunity. Merck’s employees, shareholders, and members of the community rose up in the late 1990s to tell the firm that they did not believe the company, which professed to behaving ethically, had been fair to African American employees. Congruence—when leaders make their actions consistent with their words—is very important to the credibility and success of any program or organization.

Contradictory messages also threatened the very existence ...

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