Deloitte’s Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon outlined the six traits of inclusive leaders, and identified individuals who embody those characteristics.
Simon Rothery, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs in Australia and New Zealand, wondered if his staff were really hearing his message about the importance of diversity. So he decided to earmark a place for diversity in every significant “communication moment”. Now, whether he’s talking to new employees, the media, or his staff, he makes sure to include diversity as one of the five key messages he wants to impart. It’s a deliberate strategy to ensure his message gets heard.
When the then chief executive of Telstra, David Thodey, announced in 2013 that all 37,000 job roles at the telco would be able to be worked on a “flexible” basis, he changed the business landscape. At the time it was regarded as a very bold move to allow employees to decide when and where they work, but Telstra has since been joined by the Australian Securities Exchange, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the ANZ bank and Network Ten. Thodey was also willing to talk about his own failings. He detailed how when he was working at IBM in 2000, diversity trainer Jane Elliott had showed up how unaware he was of his privilege as a powerful, tall, white male. He was excruciatingly embarrassed, but says it was one of the most important points of his career, as it made him reflect and start thinking about diversity.
Awareness of self-bias
Mike Henry, President Operations, Minerals Australia at BHP Billiton, says he is aware that recruitment is a vulnerable moment for him. “I am very clear about the type of person I gravitate to when hiring. Consciously, I put all sorts of checks and balances in place with respect to the thinkers I gravitate to. There have been times when I have overridden my opinion with others’ advice, and it has worked out spectacularly.”