Some time ago a colleague, who specializes in diversity and inclusion consulting, contacted me about how frustrated she was in trying to convince the “C suite” of the value of diversity and inclusion. I asked her if she was translating the benefits to their language—“the language of money” in order to create customer value. Her answer was no because she couldn’t figure out how to convert the qualitative aspects of diversity and inclusion to quantitative measures. She asked me if it was possible to develop a diversity and inclusion model using lean and/or six sigma concepts. I thought about it for a moment and replied maybe there is a way, “let me think about it.”
Referring to some of the material from my Executive Leadership class
and a Gallup study on the benefits of diversity I figured out the components (the X’s) of diversity and inclusion (D & I) and was now ready to express the D & I value model in the language of Lean and Six Sigma –Y = f(X). The value chain model consisted of organizational composition, organizational culture, and organizational performance, these were the X’s.
My colleague and I determined the qualitative and quantitative measures of success for each of the components which enabled us to show the impact of D & I on profitability and productivity. We had converted the language of D & I to the “language of money” by tying it to profits and productivity. We also added some lean concepts like visual metrics, the eight wastes, and value stream mapping to help measure the impact of D & I on the organization.
The model still needs a little more refining, but we are convinced it could be useful in demonstrating how to measure the return on investment from a properly executed diversity and inclusion process. In the end it is all about creating value for the customer.
Willie Carter has nearly four decades of continuous improvement experience, which have enabled him be a good listener, teacher, coach and leader as he helps organizations do more with less and become more agile. In addition to his consulting practice, he is on the adjunct faculty at Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL.