Front Line Managers Online Meeting Follow-up

Linda Holroyd

Everyone, thank you for joining this afternoon's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Diversity Imperative topic. My thanks also to each of you for your attendance and participation. Please see the notes below from the conversation.

FountainBlue's Front Line Managers' Online meeting on the Diversity Imperative topic drew from a McKinsey May 19, 2020 article, entitled 'Why Diversity Matters' and included the thoughts from HR leaders from FountainBlue's Front Line Managers community.  

Diversity is at the center of five important things, from the war for talent to the quality of decision-making, from increased innovation to employee motivation and corporate image. Please join me in thanking our speakers who shared their thoughts in detail.
  1. Opening Remarks on the Diversity Imperative by KT Moore, Vice President - Product Marketing and Business Development, Cadence Design Systems
  2. Win the Talent War: Shari Moore, Coherent
  3. Improve the Quality of Decision-Making: Erica Wright, Agilent
  4. Increase Customer Insight and Innovation: Monica Kaldani-Nasif, Kateeva
  5. Drive Employee Motivation and Satisfaction: Dhana Gharda, Lam Research
  6. Improve Company’s Global Image: Yvonne Thomson, former Symantec
Like a five-pointed star, each point is important, and collectively all five lead to stronger organizations.

Our speakers agreed that we live in un-precedented times, and encouraged us all to look at the up-sides of these strange times:
  • the ability to take things more slowly, to appreciate the little things;
  • the beauty of nature and the environment, which is responded in a good way to the changes all of us are going through, which are putting less of a strain on them;
  • the opportunity to feel more connected with our loved ones and with total strangers;
  • the opportunity to more quickly leverage technology and innovation to help us all work and communicate together.
Whether we are rich or poor, old or young, male or female, no matter what color of the rainbow we are, there's an opportunity for us to see beyond our own biases and come more closely together. There's an opportunity to lead by example, to empower and embolden others, to model the way.

Diversity provides many business opportunities. 

Having more diversity on the team helps increase the diversity of the interview candidate pool, thereby increasing the likelihood that someone with a diverse background would be chosen for a particular role. Being careful to monitor and manage the workforce will increase the likelihood that you can recruit, retain and develop key talent. In addition, working remotely can actually be a strategy for recruiting and engaging a diverse and distributed workforce.

In many ways, have a diverse team helps improve the quality of decision-making in many ways.
  • Providing exposure to diverse perspectives, ideas and input helps teams better think through and evaluate options.
  • Having a diverse team helps to filter out irrelevant and unimportant options.
  • A broader range of options can lead to a wider, more impactful perspective, which can lead to better decision-making.
  • Including broader perspectives will increase the level of understanding of the perspectives of others impacted by a pending decision.
  • Continually inviting more diverse people to a group raises the bar for all participants in general, while it also specifically improves the decisions made overall.
Diversity can help us better understand the needs of the customer, and help with the innovation process. For example, inviting people with diverse backgrounds to provide input on product discussions, on customer projects can lead to thoughts and ideas the usual product/engineering/ sales staff had not considered. Encouraging a customer-centric culture, rewarding collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking can lead to a diversity of thought which better serves customers, and better leads to innovation.
Diversity may also help drive employee motivation and satisfaction. It's a magical thing when a diverse team comes together, feeling like they are part of something bigger together. But leaders must work hard to facilitate that all-one culture, and must model the way, walk the talk. Celebrations are also important, but they must not feel like obligations.

Authentically embracing diversity can also be good for the company brand - provided that it is proactively managed, authentically and consistently communicated across the organization. A corporate brand takes years to build and when it's done well, reflecting a diverse perspective and team, it is well worth the effort.

The bottom line is that leaders at all levels must adopt a people-first mindset to build connections with others on the team and in the company. Leaders must show passion and purpose for a common cause. Although leaders aren't required to be perfect, they do need to communicate transparently and consistently align to stated goals, stated values. And they do need to respect and appreciate the diverse thoughts, feelings, emotions and needs of staff members, partners, customers, and everyone else in the ecosystem.

Your thoughts and input are welcome. We hope to include you in the next Front Line Managers Online program scheduled for Friday, July 3 from 11:50 a.m. - 1 p.m., on the topic of 'Embracing Agility'.


McKinsey May 19, 2020 | Article
Diversity still matters - Inclusion and diversity are at risk in the crisis—but are critical for business recovery, resilience, and reimagination.
By Kevin Dolan, Vivian Hunt, Sara Prince, and Sandra Sancier-Sultan



Linda Holroyd
CEO, FountainBlue
650-646-1117 text and cell

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