This is an industry so many needed to work, and yet representation of every single protected characteristic is moving in reverse. People are dying, Africa - the world's fastest growing continental economy - remains inexplicably disconnected from the world financial system, Human Operating Capacity is now below 1.1% and 96% of all Human Potential is being wasted.
Today, the only black woman on the board of any major international bank sits alongside two black men - all because of me. I create change not 'with 15 years HR experience' - as most D&I consultancies quote in their job ads (that's ageism, fyi) - but simply by being authentic, indulging curiosity, rejecting ego, living purposefully, leading from the heart and having the courage to actually do something.
People change all the time. If it's wet, we pick up an umbrella. If it's cold, we grab a jacket. Change is easy, for those that want it. Here's 16 quick wins to get you started.
1. Work purposefully
My purpose is to protect humanity from hatred by driving meaningful change necessary to ensure every human can reach their full potential.
Purposeful People don't make mistakes, because we're authentic about our weaknesses (so that others can cover our blind spots) while we perfect our strengths (trial and error) to ultimately achieve our goal.
Those without Purpose are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over because they aren't authentic about their weaknesses (so others won't help them) without any direction for our brains Trial and Error processes to kick in (so their strengths remain rudimentary).
Ultimately the only Impostors are those whose fragility and ego's trick them into believing they can become no better than they already are.
2. Drop the labels
A Therapist and Psychologist can't possibly become a Senior Banker. A multi-award winning Philanthropist can't possibly become a D&I Consultant. A FTSE100 Senior Leader can't possibly become a multi-award-winning Entrepreneur. A top Global Salesman can't possibly become a multi-world-record holder. Yes, I can. Because I am Human, I can do anything I want - change anything I want. Labels exist for one reason: to weaken and divide us in order to prevent change.
3. Forget the acronyms
LGBTQQIIAAA+, BAME, BIPOC, D&I, JEDI... Can you think of any acronyms for white people though?
People change all the time. So any acronym for people will change all the time too.
Ultimately, we don't put things in boxes we care about.
I understand people want to feel safe and that they belong, because they don't feel either of those things today. But to create change, we must learn that Gender, Romantic, Sexual and Racial identity are all spectrums - not categories. Once we discover who we truly are, we realise the only label that is safe and where we can truly belong is Human.
4. Get your story straight
Every human being is different. From the shape of our ear lobes to the size of our feet. Infinite, meaningless, arbitrary differences. No one cares about diversity (differences). Humans care about authenticity. We can actually perceive it (my firm has the science, if anyone's curious fyi). Humans want people to accept themselves and others for who they are on the inside - because that's the only difference that matters. Most firms today are so transparently hypocritical and false in their narratives about D&I that it is plain for candidates, customers and competitors to see. The only people who can't perceive authenticity are those who seek to oppress others.
5. Stop self promoting
When you have a reputation like mine, people who truly care about equality warm to me in an instant. But unfortunately, most people do not. I've contacted every major D&I consultancy, awards ceremony and industry body this past year to determine their true identity in an effort to pinpoint why change has alluded us. I found that 90% of them wouldn't even return my calls. If you want self-promotion, go somewhere else. We are busy trying to save you and the rest of humanity from hatred.
6. Quit blaming victims
I recently attended a multi-bank event where, to my disbelief, the usual ubiquitous panel of corporate yes-men lectured an audience of victims hungry for change on how they might gain seniority by seeking out mentors or new skills. No. Marginalised victims are the most over mentored, over qualified, traumatised and under-sponsored groups in business today. For them, there is simply no way to get passed the Frozen Middle. Trust me, I tried for 14 years and overcame 16 direct crimes of discrimination perpetrated by 21 mostly senior leaders solely through my intelligence, charisma and intersectional privilege. I trail blazed a path to senior leadership for other underrepresented groups to follow, only to realise that it was fundamentally unsafe to do so. But not tomorrow.
7. Be ambitious
The biggest obstacle to change is the limits of our own imagination. I think big (about outcomes) and make big plans (on how to deliver them, many months in advance). We shouldn't be aiming to get a few more past the Frozen Middle or even just for proportionate representation at all levels. We need to start valuing the full spectrum of intrinsic authentic divergence the human race has to offer by elevating more unique people into leadership roles and fewer exhibiting Toxic Masculinity. Then we will truly have found love for Humanity.
8. Kill Culture Fit recruitment
Three models of company cultures exist today:
Culture Fit (we value hatred): "Our culture is just perfect the way it is and doesn't need to change. We always pick the best candidate for the job. Homophobic, sexist white supremists just perform best. Everyone outside is evil and everyone inside is good".
Proportionate Representation (we value ambivalence): "We just happen to be in the country with the perfect mix of humanity. No other country's demographic makeup could possibly make us any better than we already are."
Supplemental Fit (we value humanity): "We want to go beyond the performative to ensure our firm represents the full richness of human creativity, experiences and know-how. That way we can solve even the most wicked of problems and deliver the best products across markets whilst changing continuously with staff who feel deeply loved.
9. Move beyond the performative
I see those expensive Pride floats that don't drive change. I see all those unfunded Staff Networks that could drive change. I see those nationwide billboard campaigns that don't drive change. I see all those People Committee's whose suggestions are ignored despite being able to drive change. I see all those incredible, inspiring marginalised speakers looking for work instead of driving change. And I see dispassionate, toxic leaders keen to maintain the status quo but unable to deliver a common identity or lead by example take the stage every time.
10. Recognise, advocate and reward Change Makers
This section about my review and top tips for award ceremonies and awarding bodies became an animal in itself.
11. Find Courage
One of the reasons I left banking was so that I could lend my platform, authority, influence and truth to panel discussions and keynotes without having my authenticity on the challenges presented constrained by corporate interests. To my dismay, just one organisation could find the courage to ask me to do so ever since. I'm a really nice, engaging guy - just look at our YouTube - yet people are still scared to hear uncomfortable truths that I and others are prepared to speak - openly, honestly, politely and without criticism. For now, we are stuck silently in the audience listening to the same old story. Being uncomfortable drives change.
12. Strip your linguistics of Oppression
Today, top firms are targeting to direct between 5-10% of supplier spend to diverse-owned businesses. How charitable of them, right? That's incorrect. And stop talking about minorities and majorities too. 96% of Humanity are not white heterosexual men. People are people, there's two ways about it. So encourage firms to target 'Human Supplier Spending' instead, to help accelerate change for 'marginalised communities' or 'under-represented people'. Our 2-hour Uncomfortable Conversations workshop on the future-proof linguistics of D&I, Anti-Oppression and Humanism is best-in-class, or your money back.
13. Start tackling Pay Inequality
Swap ‘seniority’ for Horizontal management hierarchies, graded according to accountability only - nothing more - and use random letters not sequential numbers for grade codes. Fix pay at grade level, so that if one person gets a pay rise, everyone at that grade does. Agree collectively on individual performance metrics, or expand remuneration committees oversight to full performance and succession management. Link discretionary pay to performance, not a multiple of fixed pay and open all senior hiring decisions to full scrutiny. So stop talking about 'gender balance' and start talking about the 'gender imbalance'. Expand your pay gap reporting to cover all protected characteristics, not just the one's you're forced to. We can help you do that, there's no need to go it alone.
14. Check your Marketing tone of voice
The quality of external company communications today is extremely poor when it comes to valuing women and other marginalised groups. Laced with stereotypes and privilege, they betray widespread institutionalized devalument of humanity. For example, the background profiles of female board members frequently focuses in on their marriage status, family life and hobbies like gardening, whilst the profiles of male board members sparkle with sexist hyperbole like ‘seasoned leader’, ‘keen focus’, ‘specialised knowledge’ and ‘highly regarded’ but never a single mention of children, hobbies or family life. If you want us to review your website or literature, just ask.
15. Deliver meaningful training
Today it's dull, full of lifeless case studies laced with labels and meaninglessness, delivered without passion by people who don’t understand business. Workplace conversations on human uniqueness are handled so poorly today that we've actually alienated people from even wanting to discuss it. If we don't get better soon, the time for change will have passed along with many of our biggest firms. We offer a world-class multi-award-winning 16-course catalogue of meaningful, engaging and entertaining employee education covering all levels of ability and seniority. Our people didn't learn this, they live it. We center commercial benefit with options from 2-hours to 2-days. Plus we promise to refund any training fee if it's received as less than Deilightful. That's called confidence in a great product.
16. Stop talking
As if 7 years of D&I impotence isn't enough. Good people talking pleasantly doesn't drive change. Try listening or, even better, try either making people uncomfortable or driving meaningful change instead. Ask pointed questions. Bring knowledge and data into the equation. Push boundaries. Have courage and conviction. Invite challenge, then allow your authority to confidently deconstruct any case made against you. I have a reputation for disrupting and challenging the status quo, but never for being disrespectful or criticising anyone. After all, people are people and they are just behaving like people. It's far easier to fit in than it is to stand out. I know my role and I fulfill it capably. Anyone can talk. Creating change is a lonely path.
We've got dozens more tips like these for people and firms who truly want to drive change. All you need to do is get in touch. Are you ready to thrive by making a difference?