The lack of representation and diversity in sales and marketing leadership positions was the focus of a recent conversation. Despite underrepresented groups accounting for almost 40% of the US population, they only held 20% of executive positions. Women held only 29% of C-suite positions.
Promoting diversity and creating an inclusive culture would benefit business outcomes and performance.
Promoting diversity in leadership positions would require setting clear goals and benchmarks and addressing biases that may be preventing underrepresented communities from advancing in their careers.
Leveraging leadership development programs and sponsorship to elevate members of underrepresented communities is a critical part of your people development strategy that shouldn't be ignored.
An inclusive culture would help to retain employees and attract customers who align with the company's values.
Increasing diversity in leadership positions was crucial for businesses to remain competitive and relevant. Organizations need to set clear goals and benchmarks, address biases, and create an inclusive culture to promote diversity in leadership. By implementing these strategies, businesses could create a diverse and inclusive culture that would benefit both employees and customers.
"Importance of Diversity in Sales and Marketing Leadership: Strategies for Implementation and Promotion"
"Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership: Strategies for Success"
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Leadership: Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Culture
The Importance of Representation in Creating a Strong Organizational Culture in Sales and Marketing.
Increasing Representation in Leadership
[00:00:00] Dr. Jim: if you could use a phrase to describe representation in sales and marketing leadership, what would that phrase? B Mine. Got a lot of work to do. So if you thought representation in the broader world of work was bad, it's even worse in sales and marketing.
[00:00:17] Dr. Jim: And here's what I mean. In 2021, McKinsey did a study where they looked at demographics across the us. So almost 40% of the US population is from an underrepresented group, but that only accounted for 20% of the executive positions. In leadership, women only held 29% of C-suite positions.
[00:00:39] Dr. Jim: And here's where it gets really interesting. The data is much worse when you look. Sales in particular. So in this conversation we're gonna look at the importance of diversity in leadership strategies companies can use to implement. And promote diversity at the leadership ranks. We can look at the role of [00:01:00] mentorship and sponsorship as part of your plan to accelerate members of underrepresented communities into the leadership ranks.
[00:01:08] Dr. Jim: And then we will also look at the benefits of creating an inclusive culture.
[00:01:13] Dr. Jim: I've often said before, that representation matters and that really is why we focus on topics of representation and diversity in the leadership ranks. If you are an entry level or mid-career professional in sales and marketing and you don't see anybody that looks like you, you don't see anybody from your background that is in a position of leadership, you really have no frame of reference when it comes to your career path to that level in your career.
[00:01:41] Dr. Jim: If you as an organization, are building diverse ranks at the lower manager and individual contributor level, but if that doesn't follow form up the ladder, you're gonna have a consistent problem when it comes to retaining those diverse employees and the business [00:02:00] impacts of having a diverse t eam can't be understated.
[00:02:03] Dr. Jim: There's so much research that's out there that indicates that business outcomes, performance outcomes are all improved through diverse practices. And that's gotta start at the top down. It's gotta be an intentional effort . You really can't accomplish some of the higher level things in terms of building an inclusive culture and empowering better decision making and creativity and innovation if your leadership ranks aren't well represented.
[00:02:30] Dr. Jim: What are some of the things that you can do to promote diversity in leadership? The first step is to create clear goals. It's not enough to say we want to be more diverse. You have to set up timetables and benchmarks . You need to address the biases that exist across the enterprise.
[00:02:49] Dr. Jim: That might be acting as blockers to certain candidates. Reaching that next step in their career. You need to look at how you're hiring, how you're [00:03:00] promoting, how you're developing, and making sure that everything from the job posting to your evaluation criteria, your scorecards, all of that is as inclusive as possible.
[00:03:12] Dr. Jim: And you're positioned in a way where you can actually objectively evaluate candidates The outcomes versus whatever, biases or preferences that we seem to have. One of the things that needs to be made much more accessible across organizations is leadership development programs, and especially the process that is used to select high potential candidates to enter leadership development programs.
[00:03:40] Dr. Jim: Oftentimes what happens in enterprises is that there's a lot of. Mentorship that happens with members of underrepresented communities. Unfortunately, the sponsorship component isn't as prevalent. So leveraging your leadership development programs and creating an unbiased [00:04:00] process to elevate members of underrepresented communities into those leadership development programs is gonna be a big step in promoting diversity in the leadership ranks.
[00:04:09] Dr. Jim: Mentorship without sponsorship is a lot of wasted time. And here's a good example of how. Leaders in the majority can be good sponsors. If there's an initiative or a project that you're tapped for, and somebody on your team is actually better equipped to take on that project and offer a unique perspective, a better perspective than you, you need to nominate them and elevate them into position.
[00:04:34] Dr. Jim: Just simply taking what is offered to you instead of looking at, okay, what is my zone of genius? Who else on my team has their specific zone of genius that is better suited for? This is gonna be the best way to elevate leaders from underrepresented communities and give them access to the level of exposure that the majority typically has.
[00:04:57] Dr. Jim: One of the natural outgrowths of [00:05:00] that is going to be creating a more inclusive culture. Now the foundation of creating that inclusive culture sits at the leadership tier. As an organization, your talent strategy needs to be intentional about seeding those leadership tiers with leaders
[00:05:19] Dr. Jim: who represent the communities that they serve and the people that they lead. It's one thing to have diversity across the line level and the manager level, but then if you're looking at the leadership tier and the board level, and it's basically all monochrome not representative of not only your employees, it's not representative of the communities that you.
[00:05:41] Dr. Jim: You're gonna have big problems both on the retention side and you're gonna have growth issues too, because customers aren't dumb. They're gonna be looking at aligning their values with the values that you hold as a company. And if those are misaligned, they're gonna look for an alternative that [00:06:00] better aligns with their values.
[00:06:01] Dr. Jim: When it comes to promoting diversity within an organization and creating an inclusive culture, there are a lot of things that you can do. You can have a lot of education programs, you can have a lot of of culture building that focuses on open dialogue. You can encourage work-life balance, policies that offer flexibility, but all of those things are going to be, nerfed
[00:06:26] Dr. Jim: if you don't have the adequate representation in the leadership ranks. When we're talking about, creating a strong organizational culture, and especially creating a strong organizational culture within the sales and marketing functions, representation's gotta be a critical piece of it. It is a critical business imperative and you have to take a multifaceted approach and you have to be intentional.
[00:06:49] Dr. Jim: Sometimes these sort of initiatives are uncom. But if you want to be seen as an employer of [00:07:00] choice and you want to communicate to your customers that you represent them, you understand them, and you're there to serve them in the way that they like to be served, and that goes for your employees too.
[00:07:14] Dr. Jim: You have to focus on making sure that your leadership ranks are representative. And you have to be intentional about putting that into action. You need to make sure that you are empowering everybody in your organization and enabling everyone in your organization to unlock their full potential.
[00:07:35] Dr. Jim: And one of the keys is to make sure that your leadership looks the part. Hopefully this was helpful. If you thought it was helpful, tell a friend and we will talk more next time.