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The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
The following excerpt is from Glenn Llopi's book The Innovation Mentality. Buy it now on Amazon | Barnes & Noble or click here to buy it direct from us and SAVE 60% in this book if you use code LEAD2021 by 4/10/21.
The Cultural Demographic Shift (CDS) powers the fastest growing segment of our US workforce, and the class population represents the largest segments of America's potential purchasing power. But they also represent some of the fastest growing populations of business owners in the United States. You want them to be your customers, but they also quickly become your competitors.
Related Topics: What Magic Johnson Can Teach You About The Benefits of Cultural Demographic Changes
Stratified populations like immigrants were forced to use the innovation mentality to identify opportunities and embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. This is one of the reasons black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the US (an increase of more than 322 percent from 1997 to 2015, according to the 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by the American Express Open ") And Why the number of Hispanic-owned companies grew 15 times faster than other US companies (or at a rate of 7.5 percent from 2012 to 2015, according to a study by consulting firm Geoscape and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in the USA).
These stratified companies provide an opportunity to reach the populations that a company does not have the talent in-house to connect with. So we come to the three most visible areas where the CDS has created immediate and obvious growth opportunities:
Workplace / workforceExternal partnershipsMarket / consumer
Solve the gaps in these three areas using the six characteristics of the innovation mentality and solve through different thoughts for high-performance teams. authentic workplace cultures whose values are defined by people who are encouraged to innovate continuously; and intellectual capital and know-how that has not been seen before and that taps people's full potential. All of this results in an intimate engagement that maximizes the full potential of the people who are your employees and your customers. That is sustainable ROI!
So ask yourself, "Does your workplace culture support demographic, cultural, and experiential differences and leverage them in these three areas?" Probably not. Most current leaders in the US are completely unprepared or unwilling to recognize, let alone invest in, the gaps in opportunity. Unfortunately, American companies see all these activities as an initiative (cost center) and will only see the CDS as the last remaining real growth opportunity (profit center) when Latin America and other international regions begin to seize the previously invisible opportunities because they had the vision to see it first.
Related: 4 Steps to Benefiting from Cultural Demographic Change
Workplace / workforce solution
Do you celebrate differences and individuality in your workplace? Or are you like the hundreds of companies I've worked with who said something like the senior executives of a major investment bank: "Today we fear for the future of our business because our people don't." They relate not on our emerging global customer base. Many of our new competitors are now owned and operated by Indians, Asians, African American and Hispanics. We continue to lose key, diverse members of our workforce to the same competitors because we lack the cultural intelligence to keep them. "
Remember, you cannot develop that cultural intelligence, let alone define your business platform, unless you have leaders who own the experience and influence their cultures that can contribute to the way they think, act, and perform are motivated. This is part of their leadership identity. Because of this, it is important for you and your managers to spend time defining your personal brand value propositions and leadership identities.
When you are in evolution mode, you will need to create your own platforms. Otherwise just keep replacing. That is exactly what workplace programs like Employee Resource Groups do. ERGs are growing corporate initiatives as the CDS requires new, diverse talent in management, directors and officers. I used to think that ERGs could play this role and have a purpose beyond the events, social aspects and focus groups that normally define what they do in most companies – strictly voluntary, mind you. But I realized that they almost always have no real strategic value. They are just initiatives. Even if they have hundreds of members, only a small percentage of the ERGs are active. It is difficult to attract new members if these volunteer groups are not motivated or invested appropriately. And why should people participate if no one is active in leadership positions or sees any real strategic value in them other than initiatives that just exist to check off another box on the compliance list.
That is irresponsible. ERGs and workplace groups like them only have value if they are important and have quantitative influence – and that happens in such a small percentage of companies that it is almost statistically irrelevant. Until then, ERGs are likely to make an organization more divisive until that organization can see the value of different types of people. Because of this, I believe that, like job descriptions, they should be eliminated until organizations have clearly defined what their ERGs are looking for. Before it makes sense to reintroduce ERGs, organizations should view these groups as profit centers rather than cost centers, paying active members a small bonus to stay active and contribute quantifiable to business growth. Without this, ERGs will continue to play the role of “diversity checkboxes” that unwittingly create more tension and widen the gaps between their members.
What is the solution? Rather than large groups of inactive members, I tend to see small "Idea Labs" run by subject matter experts as examples of how their unique differences fuel innovation and initiative. You cannot be included in the group unless you are or wish to be an expert in the field because as an expert you know what to look for, spot the gaps in opportunities and quickly identify them in order to create a plan around them. This group and their plan then serve as examples of how their unique differences lead to noticeable change and growth that affect the bottom line.
Related: 6 Characteristics of an Innovation Leader
This is how ERGs get smarter when it comes to defining what they ultimately want to achieve for themselves and the company, and then building a metric to enforce accountability and ensure their goals are measured and achieved. ERGs must see themselves as impressive advancement platforms for talent and market development activities. You need to focus on defining a value proposition that is more strategic in identifying and capitalizing on business innovation and growth opportunities that are directly related to a person's cultural, gender, sexual orientation, and social identity. You need to be more energetic and encourage diverse viewpoints and perspectives that translate into solutions for achieving companies' growth goals and initiatives across channels, brands, and lines of business. Until then, they will do little to mitigate the fact that America's changing face is facing tremendous opposition. So and why does the "old guard" remain uncomfortable with the CDS. It still represents uncertainty and change for those who are not informed about what diversity means for business growth, which leads us to external partnerships.
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