I wanted to share some final thoughts regarding last week’s CHL Leadership Summit. Overall, I think everyone in attendance was provided with thought provoking dialogue and information.
There were many ideas and thoughts I took away from our meeting. Here are my thoughts at the 30,000 foot level not so much focused on the dialogue, but what our discussions mean for organizations functioning in a multicultural environment.
First, organizations are becoming more complex through internal and external partnerships with strategic groups. One perfect example of internal complexity was illustrated by our discussion regarding employee resource groups (ERGs), particularly culture-based ones. Their existence is changing. In some instances, ERGs are trying to meet contradictory objectives simultaneously.
I attempted to come up with a term that would capture the multicultural ideas coming out of our discussions: “Glocalization.” This is the idea that many U.S. organizations have become microcosms of the global economy. Additionally, organizations are challenged to incorporate and manage a host of diverse cultures into 20th century management structures. A difficult objective. Organizations must loosen their traditional leadership and management moors toward ones that address different workforce values and beliefs.
Third, common purpose, communication, and adaptation are essential organizational elements from a multicultural context. These elements will be needed to grasp and function in a complex multicultural environment. As these elements are incorporated into structures, organizations will eventually change their culture and environment (“the tipping point”) to increase multicultural representation at the higher leadership levels.
Finally, organizations must look to the long-term when addressing multicultural leadership issues. It will require organizations to develop new employee engagement models; to find opportunities to celebrate and leverage diverse cultural values generated by a diverse workforce; and to assure leaders and managers are committed to this change.