Organizations said the right things and pledged resources after the racial reckoning of 2020, but much of that has lacked impact.
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The genesis of this edition of
People + Strategy was straightforward: In the almost three years since the murder of George Floyd, what has changed?
As the economy tightened in 2022, chief diversity officers and their teams were often included in the initial waves of job cuts. While the job market has been especially hot for senior Black executives, the internal leadership development pipelines below those high-profile hires have remained largely unchanged.
Fortune 50 company we spoke with, the global head of talent told us, "We spent the latter part of 2021 identifying diverse high potentials across the organization. Then in the first quarter of 2022, we drew up our succession plans for the key roles across the company. Those two lists had almost no overlap."
With the caveat that change—and particularly systemic change—takes time, as business leaders we are responsible for producing results and demonstrating actual impact. Efforts and a story about good intentions aren't enough. So the organizing principle for our editorial board heading into this issue was to find organizations and leaders who have made an impact on racial equity in their organizations, ask them how they've done it, and then put those ideas and practices into circulation for fellow senior leaders across the readership of
People + Strategy.
We also checked in with a variety of stakeholders, from what Millennials and Gen. Z members are seeing (and believing) about what is actually changing, to CEOs, board members and senior HR leaders. In addition to talking about how they've operationalized their intentions, part of what is interesting here—if you look at the Big Question, the Directors Roundtable and the Research + Insights statistics—is the different sentiments and even definitions of what "good" would look like from these different constituencies.
As leaders, we don't get to choose our stakeholders. But we can help set clear boundaries of how we are defining performance against objectives. Perhaps one of the takeaways from this is that organizations can do a better job on three fronts:
Thanks for joining the conversation, and we look forward to your contributions to this dialogue. Even more, we look forward to hearing about your impact.
David Reimer, Executive EditorCEO of
the ExCo Group, a senior leadership firm
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