A witch hunt after all

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And just like that, pride flags disappear from company logos.

Championing diversity and inclusion should be everyone’s responsibility

They were there.

We have seen them all.

Twitter runs resplendent in their support for LGBTQ+. Buildings in major European cities lit up in rainbow colors during the month.

Even Uber showed you the path the car was taking as it headed towards you in rainbow-colored lines.

Would it have killed us to maintain this recognition all year round?

It’s not like changing your avatar or adding a splash of color to your LinkedIn banner is a fight. The effort is minimal.

Would it kill us to continue?

Would it kill us to do more?

The point is that anything that becomes an “initiative” wraps itself up.

A small package, a proof of goodwill, measured in actions rather than results. Good intentions regardless of the results.

Imagine if P&L management was a “best effort” initiative that was the responsibility of only part of your business. Imagine if staying solvent wasn’t everyone’s responsibility in your business.

What would that look like?

You can’t imagine it, can you?

Of course not.

It is impossible to imagine a business where responsibility for generating revenue and managing costs is not implicitly and explicitly woven into every job and function.

What is divided and fragmented is your specific responsibility.

Helen here is in charge of finding us the best people to make more sales and manage better. David over there is responsible for selling treasury services to banks and you are responsible for selling consumer loans. Kate is responsible for selling business loans and our companion Kevin across the room is responsible for keeping the books to make sure we are doing the right things in balance. Even Ali, who primarily reconciles on bond coupons, knows how they fit into the grand scheme of things.

If my job is to sell consumer loans, I don’t expect Clive from the company to mess up my job and try to sell loans, any more than he expects me to. help on the syndication side.

We each contribute to the mission through our little piece of the puzzle.

You see what I mean ?

If diversity and inclusion isn’t everyone’s responsibility, if equality isn’t a constant thing that everyone is actively held accountable for, then it’s never more than a collection of initiatives that don’t represent no more than the sum of their parts.

Surely, I hear you say, we are all responsible for our behavior.

Certainly, hiring managers actively create diverse talent pools, individual leaders actively pursue equality and protect difference, stop microaggressions in their tracks, and foster the kind of environment where people from different backgrounds come together. flourish.

Certainly, yes, there are plenty of managers who do just that.

But also, and just as surely, if everyone did all this, we wouldn’t need any initiatives. We wouldn’t have a problem to solve.

We wouldn’t need to publicly show our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion if it weren’t for the problem. If it wasn’t a thing that is not naturally occurring, surely our own workforce and corporate cultures would be their own self-evident truth.

So don’t do surely me.

Pride is over. But the fight for access, inclusion, and a life of non-negotiable dignity and freedom for LGBTQ+ people has not ended in triumph despite all your pretty rainbow flags and lanyards. Black History Month comes and goes every year with no real systemic change in our institutions and boardrooms, let alone racism implicit in public discourse. As for International Women’s Day… the jokes about “all doors open if you’re a woman” start these days just as the avalanche of corporate imagery hits our screens. To add insult to injury of having to defend the simple idea that 50% of the population should have access to, I don’t know, 50% of the stuff, and 14% of female representation, that’s maybe be better than industry averages, but in a city where women outnumber men, I don’t know… I’ll take a chance and say that’s pretty poor.

And why are we doing all this?

Because it’s easier than the alternative.

I said recently no one comes out to openly say they don’t support diversity only to be (unfortunately rightly) corrected by the amazing Virginia O’Shea who pointed out that in the crypto world it there are companies that do just that.

So I guess we should count our blessings?

Or should we just say already enough?

Because here is the problem, in three parts:

  1. Recognizing that there is a problem, recognizing that the rights of certain groups must be defended, it was not a surprise and it was not a concession. He came after long and hard fights and he only came after those battles were won and – and this is important – opening the door to the excluded has proven to be a good business. So the battles have been won and the stacked business case. The institution had to both play the game and profit from it. And even.
  2. Groups whose rights are celebrated through social media campaigns and slogans but whose statistical footprint seems to move little… these groups are not really minorities, especially if you allow for intersectionality. Exclusion isn’t just a word we like to use. It’s a fact: there are more groups that don’t have fair access and fair treatment than there do. And even.
  3. Diversity and inclusion remain constructive and optimistic initiatives. They say the right things, have budgets for events, conferences and training. They help people do better, they help organizations learn the language to deal with bias. Acknowledge it. Do something about it. They represent a clear and open acknowledgment that things need to be fixed. What they don’t have is a warrant to make that repair. Because the repair must be everyone’s responsibility, a bit like profitability and cost control. Moreover, they are not responsible for an area in which they can put their ideas into practice. It’s like saying someone is in charge of the kitchen, but you don’t give them a kitchen. You charge them to paint the house, but you don’t give them any walls.

And why is that?

Because it’s easier.

Easier than the alternative.

The alternative of saying OK. It’s bad. And it’s bad for the people it happens to.

These are not victimless crimes.

There are people affected in ways big and small.

And by extension, these are not acts without authors.

And here’s the elephant in this room: no amount of rhetoric, logos, and training courses will be enough to offset the daily actions that exclude, diminish, or antagonize people who, for whatever reason, weren’t already there.

You can’t fix it “over there”.

You have to fix it where it’s at. With the people to whom it happens and the people who make it happen, consciously or not.

And you have to do it every day until you are the way you are and you don’t have to tell us “how important it is to do more” for you anymore.

Ah… but we don’t want a witch hunt, do we? I hear people say.

Absolutely not.

Because witches were innocent women, marginalized, ridiculed and hurt because they were different.

Oh.

OKAY.

So maybe a witch hunt is just what we have after all.

So maybe, just maybe, don’t change your logo next time. Change who is responsible for this. And do it… everyone. Let’s see where that takes us.

#LedaWrites


Leda Glpytis

Leda Glyptis is FinTech Futures’ resident thought provocateur – she leads, writes, lives and breathes digital transformation and disruption.

She is a recovering banker, a lapsed academic, and a longtime resident of the banking ecosystem. She is chief account officer at 10x Future Technologies.

All opinions are his own. You may not have them – but you are welcome to debate and comment!

Follow Leda on Twitter @LedaGlyptis and LinkedIn.

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