Tag Archives: business strategy

Diversity FAQ’s No 19: How is Diversity connected to Business Strategy? Part II – ‘Change and Downsizing’

Change in organisations is inevitable

Charles Handy, author, philosopher and specialist in organisational management and behaviour.

It seems pertinent that in pursing Part II of our discussions on how diversity is connected to business strategy, that we spend some time discussing the phenomena of ‘change’, a reality of business strategy, more so within the context of organisational change and downsizing – a very present reality in the UK workplace.  Indeed, the global world of business, precipitated by the fall of Lehman Brothers on September 16th, 2008, is arguably the spark that commenced the beginning of what we now understand as the global financial crisis, which played itself out before our eyes as organisations either folded or embarked on restructuring processes.

As of early 2009, organisations were still reeling from the effects: the Daily Mail reported that in the UK,100,000 people a month were made redundant, that a job was being lost every second, and that a typical organisation like MacDonald’s, for example, was receiving approximately 22,000 job applications per day. Indeed, figures from the Office for National Statistics (the ONS) showed that 302,000 people were made redundant in the three months to April 2009 – that is 36,000 more than in the previous quarter and the most since records began in 1995.

Indeed, coming closer ‘home’ – and as of the second quarter of 2011, 56% of the public sector and 29% of the private sector had made redundancies according to a recent KPMG survey, with further downsizing and restructuring predicted. Continue reading


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Diversity FAQ’s No 19: How is Diversity connected to Business Strategy? Part 1

By deliberately seeing (new) ways to more effectively reach a broader range of customers, (businesses like)…IBM have seen significant bottom-line results” – David Thomas, Professor of Business Administration, The Harvard Business School.

It may be important to begin with a clarification of terms: What actually does ‘business strategy’ mean? What are its essential components that make it ‘tick’ and remain sustainable? Indeed, how are the ‘components’ intertwined with strategic diversity, thus ensuring the continuity of the ‘ticking process’ leading to business growth and sustainability?

There are a range of suggested ‘components’ put forward by a number of business professionals, entrepreneurs and academics, all of which are arguably key to ensuring sustainability, however I feel that those suggested by Ian Heller, and which I have adapted below, are very pertinent. Heller suggests five components of business strategy – I have added a sixth: Continue reading

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Diversity – The Absurdity of Non-Practice: A Reflection

I liken the above topic to the following story:

Two friends, Jack and Jill were on their way home from a party in the early hours of the morning. As they sat in their cab ride home Jack said to Jill, “Remind me to get some milk at ‘The 24hr Shop’ around the corner from home”. Jill replied: “We’re at least 30mins away from home, its 2am, will it be open?” Jack looked at her disbelievingly and responded: “What kind of a question is that Jill? It is called ‘The 24hr Shop’. Of course it will be open!!”

I have often wondered why many organisations remain hesitant at placing Diversity at the very heart of overall business strategy. Indeed, many organisations request a business case for diversity to further justify reasons for ‘engaging’ it as a business area. What this may point to, I suggest, is a gap in understanding. It is not business that creates diversity rather it is the very fact of diversity that creates business. Diversity is the coming together of different individuals from cross socio-cultural backgrounds and the different creative ideas they possess that leads to the development of new and fresh strategies needed to create, and keep businesses afloat so that they remain sustainable and competitive.

It is little wonder then that organizations that do not see the fundamental connection between diversity and overall business strategy commit a fundamental flaw in the logic of business strategy akin to the story above: Just as ‘The 24 hrs Shop’ implies within its title that it ought to be open for 24hrs, so too business practice ought to imply the practice of diversity as fundamental to its very existence. Indeed, a 24 hrs shop that is not in fact open for 24 hrs creates a logical absurdity in our minds regarding the choice of the name of the shop. In the same vein, I argue, businesses that do not have diversity as fundamental to business practice commit a logical absurdity in understanding business creation, development and continued sustainable operational success. Continue reading

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