A panel of male supply chain leaders at the 2016 AWESOME Symposium spoke candidly about their own experiences and how their companies are working to increase diversity. Their starting point was giving reactions to recommendations from “Paradigm of Parity,” a call to action by a group of female CEOs, board members, and academics to achieve gender parity by 2030.
One of the most pervasive and persistent challenges, according to panel members, is unconscious bias – particularly because it is unconscious. “Today, you don’t have overt cases of people saying ‘I don’t want women on the team,’” said one panel member.
Some ways to address unconscious bias include:
- Developing a vocabulary that enables candid discussion and permits people to admit they might be biased
- Identifying behaviors that are not conducive to women participating fully, such as all men sitting around a circle, the only woman sitting on the side; letting every conversation be about football, etc.
- Providing formal bias training for managers
- Recognizing and “squashing” stereotypes when discussing the way leaders work – i.e. criticizing a woman for the same behavior a man is praised for
The panel also agreed that “measuring what matters” – the actual numbers of women being able to advance to higher levels – is essential. According to one panelist, “If you’re not measuring the number of diverse candidates that are put on the slate and if you’re not looking at gender participation you’re never going to get to the change that you need.” To succeed in becoming more diverse, the panel suggested, companies need men to be “champions.”
Sandra Beach Lin, former President and CEO of Calisolar, Inc., and one of the leaders in the development of Paradigm for Parity, moderated the discussion by panelists Astad Dhunjisha, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Monsanto Company; Rick Frazier, Chief Product Supply and Service Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments; Eric Sprunk, COO, NIKE, Inc.; and Steve Inacker, Formerly President, Hospital Sales and Services, Cardinal Health, Medical Segment.
The panel’s insights into other topics, including how diversity leads to innovation will be included in the upcoming fifth volume of REALITY CHECK.
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