Leaders can improve diversity in their organizations by making it part of the culture, widening their definition of diversity and setting the example for others, writes Arthur Woods, co-founder of Mathison. “As leaders, our personal stories, identities, and experiences bring important perspectives to advance diversity in our organizations, and every action is progress,” Woods writes.



ead Change is a leadership media destination with a unique editorial focus on driving change within organizations, teams, and individuals. Lead Change, a division of Weaving Influence, publishes twice monthly with SmartBrief. Today’s post is by Arthur Woods.

Almost every business leader now finds themselves overworked, Zoomed out and attempting a heroic balancing act — trying to regain stability following an unprecedented year of change, bracing themselves for the potential of more change with the thought of workforce departures, all while trying to keep diversity and inclusion efforts progressing after becoming an urgent focus.

Upwards of 40% of the workforce is now expected to change jobs in the next 12 months, and many teams who were already facing capacity issues are now struggling to fill gaps with qualified and available candidates, much less ones from diverse communities. In a climate where underrepresented job seekers are in high demand, and many leaving their jobs in the next year, organizations face a major risk of going backwards on diversity.

Over the last two years, we studied hundreds of employers navigating their diversity hiring strategies for our new book, “Hiring for Diversity,” and we certainly noticed the most collective focus and action around diversity we’ve seen to date. But to make real progress in this moment, we recognized three vital themes that signaled to us that leaders need to change their tune on diversity altogether if they want to see real change.

Rethink how we frame and define diversity

If we are serious about increasing representation in our organizations, we have to begin with a unified and inclusive definition of diversity. Many leaders look at diversity through a narrow lens, focusing solely on attributes they can see. But there are visible and invisible aspects of diversity. There are entire underrepresented job seeker communities that are left out of many organization goals and tracking.