The Importance of Diverse Leaders

Diversity is defined as the practice of including people from a range of different backgrounds and lifestyles. While this undoubtedly includes elements such as gender, age, and ethnicity, it also refers to less obvious factors like diversity of experience and thought.

While it may seem commonplace, many organizations still struggle with diversity despite its proven impact on profitability. A series of McKinsey articles and corresponding reports show the correlation between diversity on executive teams and the likelihood of financial outperformance and how it has continued to strengthen over time.

In the video below, Kincannon & Reed Managing Partner Phil Osborne discusses the importance of diversity in leadership with Independent Director Nicki Anderson.

The pair agree that having leaders who bring different ways of thinking and challenge others at the leadership table are critical to organizational success. In order to accomplish that, companies should make a conscious effort to not only recruit from outside to bring diversity in, but also to grow individuals within the organization.

Encouraging the recruitment of individuals who don’t look the same or think the same in addition to training boards and leadership teams on unconscious bias are key components to achieving diversity in all levels of an organization. 

“Diversity is not just gender diversity, it’s diversity of thought, so it’s actually far broader,” Anderson said. “We do need to make sure that we actually have people who bring that different thinking, who bring the challenge, and who make us feel uncomfortable. Because it’s by actually making us feel uncomfortable, that we have better rigor and better debate and better discussion.”

Nicki Anderson has spent 25 years working with retailers and consumer goods manufacturers across Oceania, Asia, Europe, and America. Her leadership experience includes roles with the likes of Dr. Pepper Snapple, Coca Cola Amatil, Powerforce, Cadbury Schweppes, Nestle, and Kraft among others. During her tenure with those organizations, her focus centered on sales, marketing, strategy, innovation, and customer experience. Nicki currently sits on several boards of directors including being a member and former Chair of the Monash University Advisory Board for the marketing faculty.

K&R Managing Partner Phillip Osborne works with clients in the agribusiness, beverage, food & food ingredients, and FMCG sectors across the APAC region. Read more about his experience here.