How Disruptive Is Climate Change? Guest post by Giles Gibbons

Let’s start with a definition of Climate Change: for me, I describe it as the reduction of resources used by a company in order to create a sustainable business. As such, I think that Climate Change is not a disruptive force, at least not as a standalone item. It is only when it’s linked to other forces that the disruption occurs. For instance, Uber is a tech disruptor first that comes with a massive impact on climate change. Over the years, we have seen that attitudes with regard to climate change have been very slow in evolving. Recycling has grown in a fairly uniform way over the past 15-20 years. Yes, we see climate change entering into the psyche and business plans, but it is not a disruptive manner. If there is disruption, it comes because Silicone Valley companies have disrupted an industry and, as a by-product, there has been an impact on climate change. If climate change is about using ever less resources in a more astute and efficient manner, it is an ever-present challenge for businesses. We are not just referring to saving environmental resources; but, we are looking at reducing water bills, electricity costs, etc. It’s an evolutionary and ongoing business challenge.

When we look at the Silicone Valley innovations that have made such waves in various industries, the business models are being disrupted and, in many cases, we have been receiving a major windfall for climate change. The point is that, while many of these initiatives are climate change positive, very few start out with Climate Change as the disrupting fuse. [my term!] Maybe Elon Musk’s Tesla is the best counter example. However, for the most part, the corollary is that there is a lot more money floating around for investments in social impact.

On the side of CSR, employees and clients are both aware. However, it is rarely critical to the decision-making. CSR is a component, but an ever reducing part, in our experience. At Nike, for example, it is the CFO who has taken charge of CSR, where it is all about driving a sustainable business. The equation leads with resource and cost reduction. Afterwards, such actions contribute to a positive image for the company. I like to say that CSR provides a broad hue from the consumers’ perspective.

To the extent I am positive about the human being’s power to solve problems, I think that we will come up with solutions for the challenges of climate change and finite natural resources. For example, we see that solar power energy will become two times more powerful within the next 24 months. With the same timeframe, energy storage will become 10x more effective. These advancements will of course bring with them other challenges, but from a business perspective the need to reduce energy costs will remain similarly pertinent over the long term.

Bottom line, we are already on a positive journey with regard to climate change. There will be iconic moments that may alter and shape the narrative, but the need to adapt to climate change is old news. Any potential disruption will occur first and foremost for businesses that are directly in energy. Secondly, there are complementary businesses — such as transportation — that rely heavily on the consumption of these energies.

Giles Gibbons futureproof climate changeGiles Gibbons, CEO and Founder of Good Business, author of “Good Business: Your World Needs You” (on Amazon)

​Diversity & Inclusion – Guest post by Michael Stuber

What should be seen as a business case and common sense turns out to be a long-lasting challenge for people and organisations

While differences have always existed in societies and certainly in business organisations, the phenomenon of diversity has become a disruptive force over the past 25 years. The end of the East-West-Divide, in combination with the emergence of the Internet, initiated not only the Third Industrial Revolution, but also a fundamental paradigm shift in the way many people live and work (together), at least in the Western world. Changes include an unprecedented growth in individuality (and hence diversity), a strong preference for multi-cultural environments (including the workplace), and multiple new ways of collaboration and communication. To that end, all levels of human cognition have been impacted, which provides huge opportunities for the business world but also challenges.

Reaping the disruptive value of Diversity

In order to realise benefits from diversity, the value-chain of Diversity & Inclusion needs to be managed carefully and ideally in a systematic way: Differences can only be turned into competitive advantage when openness prevails – individually and in the organisational culture – and inclusive processes, behaviour and communication are applied. The benefits of getting this value-creation process right have been proven by 205 robust studies portrayed in the International Business Case Report. Some studies highlight that in order for diversity to add value, a healthy conflict, e.g. through minority dissent, is required. This hint for existing challenges is only the tip of an iceberg, nowadays discussed under the headline of Unconscious Biases.

Hindering the productive disruption of Diversity

While the term ‘Unconscious Bias’ most often describes specific types of implicit associations, my analysis of existing research from the past decades suggests that it serves perfectly to describe six types of biases in three areas that have one thing in common: Making it hard for individuals, teams and organisations to tap into the potential of Diversity by consistently practicing Inclusion. The main categories of Unconscious Biases that are of immediate relevance to Diversity Management include personal / human preference for sameness, stereotypes about ‘others’, biased application of (theoretically) meritocratic processes, micro-inequities, unwritten rules in mono-cultures and the organisational preference that reproduces success types of the past. The dynamics can be observed on individual, process and organisational levels, and some biases stabilise each other in a way that makes mitigation a complex task.

Making Diversity & Inclusion work is complex

Over the past twenty years, a number of success formats dominated each of the different eras – each claiming to be the silver bullet everyone was looking for. In fact, the critical questions representing resistance against diversity, inclusion or both, have not changed much over the past decades. What’s in it for me? For the business? Why change in the first place? Is there any urgency at all? These and other common questions show quite clearly that a complex change strategy must be designed in order to nudge people and organisations towards overcoming initial and subsequent barriers, and gradually unleashing the power of differences. A combination of different change models has proven to be advisable: The generic trifold model of leadership, tools and cultural change serves as a backdrop against which more D&I specific approaches can be designed. The different types of Unconscious Biases provide another template for developing roadmaps. Multi-phase models for organisation development, such as Kotter’s 8 steps, make timing more effective. Finally, the value-creation model of D&I provides quality check points to know if your strategy will eventually lead to the desired benefits. One more thing still needs to be added to the complexity: Stakeholder management continues to be a challenge in many or most D&I processes. For the perceptions, personal convictions, needs and possibilities of different target groups and individuals within those target groups vary a lot.

Michael Stuber DiversityMichael Stuber,

Founder and Owner-Manager of European Diversity
VP of International Affairs, European Institute for Managing Diversity

 

State of The Business of Diversity – Guest post by Antoine de Gabrielli

mercredi c papaI met Antoine de Gabrielli and his wife Beatrice de Gourcuff, through my wife and, as with only those rare relationships with spouse’s friends, I totally co-opted them as if they were my friends originally. They are a most impressive couple, boasting six children and a fun eclectic group of friends and an equally colourful home.

They founded and run Companieros (in French), a company whose purpose is to help companies transform, specifically in their plans to accept and integrate a more diverse workforce. Of the more genial initiatives, Antoine gave birth to a movement and an association called Mercredi-c-Papa, which promotes the idea that men should be more involved at the home, including taking care of the kids on the Wednesdays when kids only have a half-day of school in France, in order to help in the cause for greater equality between men and women at work. If he’s not on the campaign trail in his mission for diversity, he can be found driving around in a vintage car.

In this post, Antoine highlights some key facts about the diversity landscape via a chronology of 2015. If a year old, the facts and the direction remain essential. Antoine would surely agree that bringing in more diversity into your teams and company culture is a great way to help futureproof your organisation.

Guest post by Antoine de Gabrielli

January 2015: In France 85% of couples are dual earners.

  • The mobility of one’s spouse becomes a discriminatory factor for the other.
  • Beyond the specific issues related to the employment and management of men and women, there is a new emerging management challenge: dual-earner couples.

February 2015: Mark Zuckerberg unveils “Zee-city,” the Facebook city.

  • Daycare, concierge, convenience stores, housing … it’s the company that absorbs the city and not the reverse, to retain feminine talent, in particular.
  • Individual freedom or burgeoning totalitarianism?
  • The city and the social ties coming up against the universal enterprise.

May 2015 France: Civil recognition of children born abroad to homosexual couples.

  • Mother surrogacy: a commercialization of women, a boundary crossed (transgressed?)
  • The bellies of the poor women at the service of wealthy men.

June 2015: Success in France 1 European network of professionals committed to equality between men and women, the HAPPY MEN network.

  • Men are coming to understand that professional equality is beneficial for them, too. It opens the possibility of crossing the “glass floor” i.e. to work without sacrificing one’s personal life.
  • The need for a wholesome private life for professional and engaged men is beginning to be recognized.
  • 10 major partners in 2015 for Happy Men Network.

July 2015 Germany: 45% of graduates of higher education do not have children.

  • German birth rate: 1.38.
  • Massive opening of frontiers to migrants: 1 million entrants estimated in 2015.
  • Ethnic tensions (PEGIDA – Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident / in German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes)

October 2015: Publication of the 8th Women Matter study.

  • Proven benefits of professional mixity and equality between women and men: stop the waste of talent, better meet market expectations.
  • Indicator of organizational and managerial effectiveness: percentage of women leaders versus women working within the company.

October 2015: Facebook and Apple offer their workforce to support the costs of freezing oocytes.

  • Objective: “No longer have to choose between career and children.”
  • Bearing children takes a back seat to the career, thanks to science?
  • Female fertility under the control of the company.

November 2015: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, said he would take parental leave for two months to care of his children.

  • By offering four months of parental leave to take care of the children, demonstrates that Facebook is far ahead of US law.
  • One key goal: to attract and retain top talent.

November 2015: In the USA, 29% of women have a higher income than their spouse.

  • In all issues of diversity, a tipping point is reached above 30%.
  • Men are faced with the prospects and challenges of free, family and social.
  • Solutions: to give value to that which is free or to commoditize?
  • The rise of expert-advisors of private life.

November 2015: In France, RATP (public transport services) faces the “religious fact” in business.

  • RATP crosses the line: the discrimination of women in business under the pretext of religion: no woman senior leader, no greeting, and a refusal to address women…

antoine de gabrielli futureproof diversityLogo-Happy-Men futureproof diversityAntoine de Gabrielli, based out of Paris, is Co-Founder and CEO of Companieros and President of Mercredi-C-Papa. He is also Founder of Happy Men, an inter-enterprise network for men who are committed to the battle for equality of the sexes. As their motto says, Happy Men share more.