James T. McKim Jr.’s new book brings to mind the Joss Whedon speech at Equality Now. Paraphrasing it for the specific brand of inclusivity Mr. McKim is advocating for in the workplace, a particular sentiment in Mr. Whedon’s speech rings out to me: “Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity.” No truer words better articulate the practical and personal advocacies Mr. McKim speaks about when it comes to the titular ‘Diversity Factor’ in his book. Specifically, said factor’s harmonious relationship with a corporation’s organizational structure.
And with such a relationship, how detrimental to true progress and achievement implicit biases, segregationist policies, and implicit racism can be. “There have been several news stories over the past few years highlighting the fact that facial recognition software does not accurately identify African-Americans,” he states as a prime example to this. “The reason for this is twofold: first, the databases of facial features used by the companies who built that software include very few African-Americans; second, the leaders of the development teams were not sensitive to diversity and either did not understand the notion of white normativeness—or they did not care about it. Either way, the products are now recognized as not performing as advertised and the names of the companies producing the software have a tarnished reputation.”
He continues, “If an organization is not diverse and leaders are not inclusive, the organization will not be able to take advantage of the many perspectives of a diverse employee base that will allow for seeing opportunities and risks. If leaders do not act equitably, they lose the trust of their employees and the ability to mobilize resources, which is a major contributor to the Great Resignation we are seeing in companies all across the country for the utility.” In essence, it’s high time that certain things be essential and without question in the twenty-first century workplace. McKim writes with sincerity and conviction, but also allows from time to time for there to be an appropriate, understated sense of passion.
He often will engage with the reader directly, providing checklists, schematas, and direct questions for them to consider. “Culture involves defining the principles and values that guide the organization. The more those principles and values resonate with employees, the more they will be motivated to work at their utmost. Whether we admit it or not, our organizations do have at least some diversity as defined by the Diversity Wheel. So, our principles and values need to be articulated in such a way as to reach a diverse group of employees. If those principles and values don’t resonate with employees, they will not feel included or valued. This lack of resonating with an organization’s culture is another factor in the Great Resignation movement we are seeing,” he writes.
No literary work is perfect, but any flaws visible in Mr. McKim’s book, aptly titled The Diversity Factor: Igniting Superior Organizational Performance, are overshadowed by statistically-backed, example-laden sound reasoning, and a sense of overall objectivity. What Mr. McKim is stating isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a series of well-researched and well-documented facts. The read is tight, packed, and never suffers under any kind of slack.