October 25, 2009

One way to live out the value "diversity"

Reading this blog posting by Gary Hamel, I noticed this extract:
"What’s true in nature is true in business - a lack of diversity limits the ability of a species to adapt and change. Problem is, the gene pool at the top of many companies is a stagnant pond. The executive committee is usually comprised of long serving veterans whose experiences and attitudes are more alike than different. Homogeneity has its virtues - it facilitates communication and speeds decision-making - but it also limits a company’s ability respond to unconventional threats and opportunities."

In Norway, they’re doing something about diversity – not least when it comes to the share of executives that are women. In the introduction to this 9 minute video, I read that the private sector in Norway must now ensure that 40% of their executives are women. Watching the video, I noticed these comments by Mr. Ansgar Gabrielsen, the former conservative minister of trade and commerce, who implemented the controversial act:
"It was first and foremost for creating value in the company, to use all our resources. It was not an equality question first of all."

"If I would have asked, the answer would have been no. So I did it without asking anyone. Not the Prime Minister, not my party leader, not the parliament group, noone."

Watching the video, I also learned that the proportion of women on Austrian management boards is about 7%. In the neighbouring country, Switzerland, the proportion of women on management boards of the 100 largest Swiss companies increased from 4% to 5% between 2008 and 2009. Source.

Do any of the companies, you work for, have diversity as a core value? If yes, how do you live out this value?
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