Tuesday, February 13, 2018

"Diversity and inclusion"/ "Power of Partnerships"

Oct. 27, 2017 "Diversity and inclusion is about more than meeting numbers": Today I found this article by Mary Ann Yule in the Globe and Mail:

Efforts to create a diverse work force must be embedded into the DNA of an organization so its brand narrative can be authentic and meaningful

Fostering a work culture that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion is a business imperative, not just a moral or ethical one.

A more diverse work force will put any company into a stronger position to grow and innovate. It will attract top industry talent and help businesses connect with customers.
And, of course, it’s the right thing to do.

As part of one of the most diverse countries in the world, business leaders in Canada need to act now and embed diversity and inclusion practices throughout their organizations and leadership teams.

How can organizations reinvent the standard for diversity and inclusion and truly lead on this front without embracing and valuing the differences – including race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation – of their work force?

As business leaders, we know that exceptional storytelling is the central underpinning of effective leadership and the way customers see your brand.

All good storytellers agree you must first understand your audience.

Who are they, where do they come from, what experiences have shaped them and what matters to them?

How do they want to be spoken to, what vernacular is comfortable and what cadence captures their attention?

You can’t tell an effective story or brand narrative to your customers if you only value select points of view. This is why a commitment to diversity and inclusion leadership means more than just a number, a department or even an objective.

Diversity and inclusion efforts must be embedded into the very DNA of an organization so that its brand narrative can be authentic, meaningful and distinctive.

A McKinsey study showed that “companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 per cent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

Another study showed that diverse companies had 2.3 times higher cash flow over a three-year period than non-diverse companies did.

If we don’t embrace an inclusive culture, it is impossible to speak genuinely to our customers.

To lead from the top on inclusion and reinvent the standard of diversity, here are a few best practices business leaders should drive toward.

Get unapologetically real

Unconscious bias is alive and well. Instead of treating it like the proverbial elephant in the room, it’s time to acknowledge that our personal experiences inform how we see the world.

Recognizing the reality of unconscious bias is a critical first step in working to reduce it in the workplace.

Providing diversity and inclusion training, using technology to eliminate biased language in job listings, ensuring that underrepresented colleagues have a voice and that there are opportunities at all levels of the organization are all ways to build a more inclusive, less biased work environment.

Your talk must match your walk. I’m proud to be a female leader at a company that is reinventing the standard for diversity and inclusion efforts. HP has the most diverse board of directors of any technology company in the United States, including five women among the 13 board members – almost 40 per cent. Several are from South Asia.

In Canada, our leadership team is more than 60 per cent female, with diverse backgrounds across the entire team. Your commitment must shine through in everything you do.

Invite and empower vocal diversity champions

Give your most passionate and active employees the resources and tools to bring diversity leadership across the entire organization at the grassroots level. Equip them to have sensitive conversations and make it safe to discuss what matters to them. Then reward and celebrate them.

Give your employees meaningful benefits, such as work-life balance programs, diversity and inclusion awards, an open and collaborative workspace, employee resource groups to share like-minded experiences, goals and values.

Highlight how the organization values and directs diversity efforts to drive new business, fuel innovation and attract and retain top talent.

Lead by bold precedent

If you want to change how things are being done, take big, brave leaps. For instance, challenge your partners: Our chief marketing officer asked each of our advertising and PR agency partners to submit a plan to increase the number of women and minorities in key creative and strategy roles.

He also announced that HP would donate $100,000 to #FreeTheBid, an initiative aimed at increasing the number of female directors in advertising by pledging one in three competitive bids will go to a female director. Our global legal leadership team launched a “diversity holdback” requirement that allows HP to withhold up to 10 per cent of all amounts invoiced by our law-firm partners for so long as the firm fails to maintain diverse staffing in our legal matters.

Embracing diversity of ideas, perspectives and experiences has the potential to unlock innovation and growth. Business leaders must reinvent the standard of diversity and inclusion to make a difference in their organizations, marketplace and community.

How can organizations reinvent the standard for diversity and inclusion and truly lead on this front without embracing and valuing the differences – including race, ethnicity, gender, religion or sexual orientation – of their work force?

Establish unimpeachable credibility

"The power of partnerships: Why businesses are better together": Today I found this article by Paul Parisi in the Globe and Mail:

President, PayPal Canada.

There is no better approach to solving challenges than the famous saying "two heads are better than one." Whether creating internal partnerships between colleagues or departments, to larger partnerships between businesses, harnessing the strengths and abilities of others from different corners of your ecosystem is one of the most strategic ways for businesses to scale their innovation and solve complex challenges.

In today's fast-paced environment, a "do-it-alone" approach is not the best strategy for growth. Companies that initially grew organically need to look for new ways to drive collaborative innovation that delivers on what their customers need today – and in the future.

Collaboration and strategic partnerships are fundamental to improving business outcomes. I've worked in the payments industry for more than 20 years – first at American Express and now at PayPal Canada – and have struck more than 50 major partnerships and strategic alliances that brought innovation and improved offerings to customers.

Strategic partnerships benefit everyone: businesses, employees and customers.

Businesses can broaden their relevance and increase their addressable market; customers benefit from the strengths and offerings each organization brings to the table; and employees can expand their development opportunities by being exposed to new perspectives and expertise.

Plus, deepening ties between complementary businesses fosters collaboration and longevity, and allows companies to offer services and solutions that help their customers and other businesses become more successful.

The fintech ecosystem has seen this happen over the past few years. Traditional organizations such as big banks and government agencies are partnering with newer players, startups and entrepreneurs. At PayPal, we've embraced a partnership approach wholeheartedly – from the top of the organization to the bottom.

Since we separated from eBay as an independently listed company in 2015, we have been focused on forging partnerships with leaders across the financial and technology industries to expand our services, increase conversion for our merchants, create better experiences and give our consumers the flexibility, security and speed that digital payments offer.

Some organizations may be resistant to partnering with a company that competes with them for customers or profits, and some employees may not feel the need to collaborate internally in new or unexpected ways.

The reality of today's business landscape, however, means that partnerships are key to better serving customers by merging talent, expertise, technology and purpose. While the rewards are great, strategic partnerships require thoughtful consideration to ensure success is achieved.

Identify the gap and opportunity

I've seen the greatest success when opportunity drives collaboration. Partners – whether internal or external – need to first identify the specific challenge they can solve. Look at your customers and consider what their pain points are, what worries them or what would help accelerate their growth.

For employees, think outside the box to find unexpected expertise. Could your finance team bring unexpected insight to a financial product you are developing? For business to business relations, do you share customers with other businesses? What issues do your shared customers face? Can you work together to achieve common success? Sometimes the best ideas come from combined solutions from different perspectives.

Work toward a common goal

Any partnership, big or small, will work best when there is a shared goal. Establishing a common purpose sets the foundation and acts as the glue to holding the partnership together. Earlier this year, PayPal Canada developed a strategic collaboration with Canada Post.

We saw that our existing customers lacked a seamless payment and shipping solution and were wasting precious hours that could have been spent growing their business. In Canada Post, we found the best partner to launch a convenient, easy-to-use shipping and payment solution for small businesses that saves time and money.

The partnership was built on that fact that we both shared a common goal of helping small businesses grow their operations and harness e-commerce as part of their business strategy. Throughout the partnership, we kept this shared goal as our North Star, and our employees were motivated and excited to create an experience that would positively affect our customers.

Lean into each other's strengths

Strategic partnerships enable teams to bring the best of their talent and strengths forward.

Every person and every business has unique strengths, so honing your partnership strategy to play to those strengths will let you shine. It's rewarding to see how doing so generates functional and creative solutions. We regularly partner with teams internally across geographies to learn from their expertise and apply key learnings to our own market.

When the Toronto Parking Authority launched the Green P Parking app to enable Torontonians to pay for parking from their mobile phone, we teamed up with them to add PayPal as a payment option and promote it across our customer base.

The Toronto Parking Authority team excelled in understanding everything to do with parking and we brought expertise in providing a seamless mobile payment experience and marketing skills to drive increased usage.

Communication is key

For a partnership to succeed, an emphasis on clear communication between partners is essential. Leverage internal communication and collaboration channels when working on partnerships within your organization.

For external partnerships, in-person meetings can go a long way in developing a solid working rapport. Open and effective channels of communication between members of the partnership or alliance will ensure there are no misaligned expectations between parties.

Big breakthroughs and progress can't happen in silos. Working collaboratively with partners – within an organization as well as within your ecosystem to solve business problems – generates the kind of energy that fuels growth, innovation and creativity. Developing value-aligned partnerships that focus on common goals and complementary strengths is key to ensuring successful outcomes for all.


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