By Seth Kaufman
Organizational psychologist Gena Cox isn't one to mince words.
The author of Leading Inclusion: Drive Change Your Employees Can See and Feel admits she thinks the fixation on Diversity, Equality and Inclusion within corporations isn’t just misguided, it “is B.S.”
Cox was a featured speaker at a recent Vanguard dialogue on D.E.I. when interviewer Ken Stone recalled her proclaiming, “D.E.I. is B.S.”
"I did say that. I'm coming at this from a slightly different perspective," Cox confirmed. "Diversity and inclusion is B.S. It's a subset of overall leader effectiveness. So, either you are an effective leader whose repertoire includes the ability to effectively lead 100% of your workforce and of your available talent pool, or you are not.
“So I say this is a subset; it's not a separate thing. It can't just be run by so-called Chief Diversity officers or even by Chief Human Resources Officers. It really needs to just be a part of how we define what effective leadership looks like."
Cox, whose book explores the leadership hurdles that come with building an open, egalitarian, meritocratic workplace, also shared her thoughts on hiring habits, implicit bias training and system bias.
These thoughts are taken from a dialogue conducted on Aug 4, 2022. Participants may have changed companies and/or titles since then.