Cindy Kelly MES Fall 2018Cindy Kelly unveils a list of inclusion practices and an action plan for today’s IT leader to exploit to improve workplace diversity.

Diversity is a problem among IT leaders.

Today, 80 percent of CIOs are male. More than 50 percent are between the ages of 40 and 49. And, 70 percent have an ISTJ personality type.

Not only do most senior IT leaders look the same – they think alike, too.

Organizations that want to improve their diversity must look at more than just diversity itself, according to Cindy Kelly, senior executive partner at Gartner.

During her Midsize Enterprise Summit Fall 2018 keynote presentation, Kelly said IT leaders need to think about inclusion – recognizing people’s differences and figuring out how to work with them.

She provides a multitude of proven inclusion practices that will allow CIOs to seek diversity.

First, the IT leader must admit there is a diversity problem within their organization. At that point, they have an array of options to choose from to improve the diversity and inclusion on their teams.

These include:

  • Grow and reward inclusive leaders
    • Ensure team members speak up and are heard
    • Make it safe to propose new ideas
    • Empower team members to make decisions
    • Take advice and implement feedback
    • Give actionable feedback
    • Share credit for team success
  • Examine your social style and expand your versatility
  • When interactions get tense, take a timeout to examine potential style clashes
  • Create diverse teams to tackle tough problems
  • Shift from mentoring to sponsorship
  • Intentional sponsorship pairs a diverse, high-potential employee with an existing leader who takes co-ownership of the employee’s career development
  • Develop an inclusion checklist
  • Use communication pattern data to measure integration and inclusion
  • Use social network analysis to visualize actual interactions

From there, Kelly lays out an action plan for CIOs and digital workplace leaders to implement these new inclusion practices into their day-to-day operations.

  1. Monday morning: Do something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, so you can experience not being in the majority
  2. Next 90 days: Invest in professional development with a personal style assessment for your staff and employees
  • Involve a skilled facilitator to interpret and discuss the results
  • Make sure they know how to use this information to increase inclusiveness and to deal with tension in work teams
  1. Next 12 months: Practice inclusive techniques in safe team situations so they can be exercised in cross-team interactions

“Diversity and inclusion are not really a thing to do. It’s really a way to change the way you operate to increase productivity and improve engagement.”

In an ever-changing world where technology is increasingly impacting our workplaces, it’s imperative for all IT leaders to be open to collaboration and inclusion in order to get the best out of not just their employees, but their entire business, too.

The more diverse an organization is in people and thought, the better positioned they are to have success in the future.