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Melbourne, Australia

15 Ways to Encourage Diversity

March 19, 2019


I cannot speak on behalf of the world's women. However, I am most definitely a woman and that gives me a fair right to share some practical ways in which you can help to encourage diversity of all kinds in your workplace. But why would you? Well because you are a good person of course. If you're not and you need a more concrete reason well you can improve financial performance by 11.5%.

Here is a short list of practical ways in which you can personally change your behaviour to positively impact others. There are many more and these are things that I'd really appreciate your help with.


Get Educated

  1. Read this proof that diversity is of value: https://hbr.org/2018/07/the-other-diversity-dividend 

  2. Take this test. Learn about your unconscious bias and how it may impact your decision making and judgements, no matter what your gender, ethnicity or ability - you will have biases. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/australia/takeatest.html 

  3. Understand what diversity is. It extends beyond the obvious. Check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K5fbQ1-zps 


Take Action

Don't immediately open a meeting and take control, especially if you didn't call it. If somebody else tries to, then ensure you point out that somebody else arranged this meeting that they should lead it. 


"Thanks for starting us off there. However, Layla arranged this meeting, I'm really keen to hear her plan for the session"



Don't be the first to answer a question. Consider if you know that there is somebody in the room who is an expert in the area, and if it should be safe to ask them to share their view. Add some validation of their expertise, to help endorse their opinion.


"Hey Layla, you shared some data with me last week, could you tell us a bit more about that? I know that you've got a lot of expertise here that we could all learn from"



Don't start a meeting by talking about how the kids are doing. Ask about the latest relevant trends or something to do with the business you are in.


"Good to see you Layla, I've been wondering what you thought of the (insert interesting business issue) ..."



Never offer this advice, ever:


"I hear that you are finding it hard to be taken seriously, have you tried wearing more formal clothing or putting on some weight so that you are less, well you know..."

Say this instead:


"I find it hard to get things through sometimes too, it sucks. It isn't you. Let's figure out a way to adjust the approach to ensure that you're heard. I can help with that."



Never repeat what I just said with a few extra words, without first acknowledging my view. Instead do this:


"I agree with Layla, she said that we need to consider the long-term approach. Layla can you tell us more about your idea?"

If you see this happen, call it out.



Accept this as a fact:


"An internal report at Hewlett Packard found that men apply for a job or promotion when they meet 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them. "


Do not leave one space on your leadership team for the token woman and let them fight it out. Just don't.


Never tell me that I'm too confident.


Never, ever ask me if you think that the guys might find her intimidating, because she is very attractive.



Accept this fact:

The way I look, my empathetic nature, sense of humour and creativity does not prevent me from being very smart, good at math and strategic.



Thanks for your help! I hope you can extend it to anyone who may need it.


If you have any other ideas that could help other people to be heard, please add them into the comments.



Do note that this list is not extensive, is my own opinion and is based on observed behaviour over the past decades of work and doesn't relate to any single situation.


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