Jul 17 2011
How can you demonstrate your commitment to diversity? Wherever possible and at every stage of your career seek to work with more diverse teams, not just demographically, but also in terms of the backgrounds, competencies and interests of their members. Encourage turnover, not only by weeding out underperformers, but also by encouraging rotation to adjacent areas, other geographies, different roles.
A true belief in the value of diversity actually goes far beyond merely including representatives of designated categories (i.e. bringing together individuals from various cultures, ethnic groups, gender or languages). What you want is to work for an organization that embraces individuals with different views and experiences, that brings in new, fresh and challenging perspectives. If you want innovation and creativity to flourish you must have a diversity of viewpoints. This is the basis of rich and thoughtful discussion, of identifying new ways to grapple with familiar problems, and of enriching an organization's leadership capabilities.
At the top, it should be the duty of every CEO assisted by the HR function to recruit and retain individuals who challenge traditional thinking and offer fresh approaches to solving business problems. As a senior executive within any organization, you will be equally expected to embrace diversity in demonstrating your ability to work with individuals who are independent and creative but who also understand the importance of teamwork.
Broad cultural experience is extremely desirable – especially living and working abroad, as well as fluency in multiple languages. Additionally, retained executive search consultants point out that the leaders of tomorrow need to be forward-looking and have creative thinking. Most top-end recruiters I have met indeed seem to agree that while selective skills can be taught, innovation is a key quality of raw talent that sets a candidate apart.
This article was written by Christophe de Callatay, Managing Director for Europe at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
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