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Inclusivity in Leadership

Shalom Lamm the New York real estate mogul has learned to have inclusivity in his business dealings. Lamm says a big mistake of many CEOs and even mid-level businesses is to surround yourself solely with yes men, or in the vernacular of the modern business setting, yes people.

Lamm is of the opinion and most business leaders agree, that you need to have all sides represented within the company. That doesn’t mean that the buck doesn’t end here with the head of the company, but if a CEO wants to really lead the company he must have plenty of honest input. A big part of the reason to have inclusivity in business is that the head of the company and surrounding yes people do not have the same background as those who are often left out of decisions.

For example, women have often had to struggle with snide, ‘old boy’ jokes. Meanwhile, those who are black, Asian and Latino still experience discrimination in both workplace hiring practices and an assumed white culture bias. The problem is, that the culture of 2021 is far different than the culture of 1950. Inlucisitivty is something that should not only be expected, but embraced. Having a diverse work unit made up of many individuals from various backgrounds strengthens a business’s potential. 

Not only is the workplace decidedly mixed, but the customer base is far different. Nearly 40 percent of the culture in the U.S. is non-white and is growing faster by the years. And this ever-growing minority has decidedly different experiences and decidedly different cultural opinions about how business should be run.

A prime example of this has been exhibited over the last 15 years or so, with regard to how a business does advertising.In the last few years, exercise company Peloton lost millions of dollars in revenue for displaying a misogynistic ad showing a svelte woman receiving a Peloton for Christmas, which feminists rightly pointed out that her husband demanded she be slim forever.

What Shalom Lamm has learned, and many companies are still playing catch up on, is that not only will those outside of the old boys club be very sensitive to the messages portrayed in advertisements, but that the power of social media is incredibly swift and powerful. People are moving forward and do not want to see ads that portray dated and controversial topics that discriminate people. We now live in an age of acceptance, not discrimination.  

Even internet services such as GlassDoor, which features reviews by current and former employees allow people to anonymously rip companies for their employment practices.

Therefore, if a CEO went to Harvard or Princeton, they would do well not to surround themselves with Harvard or Princeton graduates, and instead hire graduates from Grambling, and Howard University, or Florida International University. Execs should crave non-traditional opinions if they really want to have their fingers on the pulse of the nation. The world is changing, becoming more plural, and businesses need to keep pace.