Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Q&A with Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio




Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio is the author of the new book Diversity Dividend: The Transformational Power of Small Changes to Debias Your Company, Attract Diverse Talent, Manage Everyone Better--and Make More Money. She is an attorney and scholar affiliated with Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School.


Q: What inspired you to write Diversity Dividend, and how was the book's title chosen?


A: The inspiration behind writing Diversity Dividend was a convergence of my diverse background and experiences. As a lawyer with a strong affinity for mathematics, I realized the power of data and analytics in decision-making. Furthermore, my immersion in behavioral science shed light on human interactions and responses, vital in understanding organizational dynamics.


Being an immigrant and a woman, I had the privilege of viewing the world from various perspectives, culminating in a natural inclination towards diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


The book's title, "Diversity Dividend," reflects the core premise that DEI isn't just a corrective measure for past wrongs, but rather a strategic pathway for optimizing both individuals and businesses.


It underscores the notion that embracing diversity yields tangible benefits, fostering connections between people's potential and an organization's success.


This title encapsulates the essence of how sound decision-making, grounded in data and behavioral insights, can drive positive outcomes while embracing the full spectrum of talent and perspectives within an organization.


Q: The scholar Scott L. Cummings said of the book, “Brilliantly combining powerful theoretical insights with compelling empirical data, this book not only proves the benefits of workplace diversity but reveals how organizations can take meaningful, concrete steps to achieve it.” What do you think of that description?


A: I greatly appreciate Scott L. Cummings' insightful assessment of Diversity Dividend. His recognition of the book's blend of rigorous theoretical insights and impactful empirical evidence resonates with the core intentions behind its creation.


My aim was to provide not only a conceptual foundation for understanding the advantages of workplace diversity but also to offer practical strategies that organizations can implement to foster inclusivity.


Cummings' description underscores the book's commitment to actionable steps, guiding businesses towards embracing diversity and reaping its rewards. It reinforces the idea that Diversity Dividend isn't just a theoretical exploration but a resource that empowers organizations to catalyze positive change.


Q: How do you think companies are doing in general today compared with, say, a generation ago? And are there any particular companies you think are performing especially well when it comes to their DEI plans?


A: In recent times, there has been significant progress in how companies approach diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), driven in part by data analytics and informed decision-making. Many organizations now value diverse workforces and inclusive environments, leveraging metrics to measure their efforts.


Though there's more work ahead, prominent companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Procter & Gamble have showcased exemplary DEI efforts through initiatives such as dedicated roles, transparency, talent programs, and inclusive campaigns.


While progress varies by industry and region, the evolving landscape underscores the importance of DEI for enduring success and innovation. It's encouraging to witness organizations embracing this shift and actively fostering inclusivity.


Q: What do you think the politics swirling around DEI mean for diversity efforts going forward?


A: The Supreme Court's decision to ban race-based admissions in universities highlights the complex political landscape surrounding DEI, potentially influencing diversity efforts in various sectors.


As organizations grapple with the implications, data-driven decision-making and a shift toward broader diversity dimensions will likely play key roles.


Balancing inclusivity and legal considerations requires a nuanced approach, emphasizing metrics to showcase the effectiveness of initiatives while considering dimensions beyond race.


Adapting to evolving political dynamics, organizations can navigate these challenges strategically, maintaining their commitment to DEI through evidence-based practices.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I am working on my new book that delves into the convergence of the World Wide Web 3, AI, and inclusivity.


I am also deeply engaged in collaborative efforts with companies and government bodies to implement effective and impactful solutions that resonate with the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, diversity, and inclusion.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Don't hesitate to reach out if you're interested in delving deeper into these topics. I'd be happy to share more insights. Additionally, I highly recommend keeping an eye out for Right Kind of Wrong by Amy C. Edmondson. It's shaping up to be an excellent book that's worth looking forward to.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

No comments:

Post a Comment