How inclusive are you? Interview with Mike Cullen, global managing partner talent at Ernst & Young

Written by
Changeboard Team

13 Nov 2014

13 Nov 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Survey results

What were the main findings of your Power of Many survey, published in November?

An overwhelming majority – 84% – of business executives believe their organisation’s ability to develop and manage teams is essential for future competitiveness. We proved that companies rated ‘excellent’ at building diverse teams are more likely to have achieved financial growth of more than 10% over the past year.

However, we also exposed the challenges ahead for organisations. Half of the 821 respondents claimed they lack leaders with the ability to manage and motivate these teams. This is despite 85% agreeing that ‘inclusive leadership’ helps to improve performance.

What is inclusive leadership?

We define it as the ability to encourage teams to voice varying perspectives and dissent. Inclusive leaders leverage the diversity of their teams to create solutions directly relevant to their clients.

Why is it important for organisational performance?

Leaders need to integrate diverse perspectives to create high-performing, global teams that drive competitive edge and growth. If they don’t adapt quickly to this change they will lack confidence.

Are executives suffering from a crisis of confidence in their leaders? If so, why?

Most organisations are on a journey. They realise that if they want to be market leaders with high-performing teams, they must develop their leaders to believe that ‘difference matters’, incorporating various solutions and allowing people to play to their strengths.

Tips for developing inclusive leadership skills

Much of our soft skills training is designed to create a global mindset and address the importance and advantages of diversity and inclusiveness. We embed these in all our key processes, from how we define expectations at every level to how we measure our partners’ performance.

On top of this, we include questions about diversity in our Global People Survey. This helps us understand how inclusive our people think we are, where we need to improve and what skills we need to ingrain in our future leaders.

How can you create an inclusive team culture?

Our research has shown that our employees want to be continually stretched and developed in a supportive team environment.

Our employer value proposition is: ‘Whenever you join, however long you stay, the exceptional EY experience lasts a lifetime’. We aim to attract the most talented people in every field and bring them together into diverse, inclusive, borderless teams with a commitment to quality and living our values.