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Why is Diversity Important?

Good decision-making in any organisation rests upon good governance. In other words, it’s about ensuring the right people are around the table to debate ideas and challenge views which have been put forward in order to come to a decision in a robust manner.

Good governance ensures that mechanisms are in place for functional leaders to be challenged within the framework of a board or of a board committee. We all know that each of us has biases, and each of us brings our own perspective, shaped by our own experience. When leaders take decisions it’s important for them to engage and listen to those who have different views.

In the same way that good governance will drive good decision-making, diversity in an organisation will enhance the conversation around the table. Diversity implies different perspectives, it helps teams think creatively, outside of the box and connect the dots.

Diversity helps to protect the decision-makers from taking an approach which is too linear, from extrapolating too readily from the past and making simplistic assumptions about the future. We all know that past drivers of success are rarely the same drivers of future success. The trick is to understand the subtle changes that precede large shifts.

Promoting diversity is also about retaining talent, recognising that we all come from different backgrounds, and valuing those diverse backgrounds. Over the longer term, it helps us to create a connective fabric across the organisation, allowing individuals to feel they are part of something greater.

I have worked in organisations with a number of women for whom English was a second or third language, who grew up in countries whose cultural norm was for women to stay at home. These individuals in many instances came to London on their own, far from their families and established networks, and had to start from scratch. They didn’t have the benefit of networks of independent schools or well-connected families. Instead, they set out with nothing but their own drive.

These individuals have a lot to offer and by creating a corporate environment which values diversity, by creating affinity groups across gender or preference, these individuals feel they are part of a community and consequently give their best, so the organisation is able to leverage their full potential.

A group of the investment and savings industries’ biggest institutions has come together to launch a new project aimed at redressing poor levels of industry diversity. Sandaire is proud to be a Founding Member of the Diversity Project (full list of Founding Members below), which will target diversity in its broadest sense for investment and savings firms, aiming to tackle gender, ethnicity, socio-economic background, degree discipline, sexual orientation, age and disability. Working with senior business leaders such as CEOs and Chairs, the project will launch schemes aimed at ensuring diverse recruitment, helping diverse talent to rise to top roles within firms, the sharing of best practice and the development of new collaborative initiatives.

It’s time to solve the issue of diversity once and for all. I look forward to sharing insights generated through the project and continuing the discussion with you. If you would like to know more, I encourage you to get in touch.

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