Successful Companies Look for “Diversity of Thinking”

Career Climbers / 6th October 2016

Successful companies are increasingly looking for “diversity of thinking” in the make-up of their boards and senior management teams, according to a global talent mapping and pipelining specialist.

The issue of diversity is currently high on the agenda with Sir Philip Hampton’s independent group due to report next month on gender diversity on Britain’s boards.

Sir Philip, who is Chair of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), was also instrumental in the recent naming of Emma Walmsley as CEO designate of the pharma giant, a move that will make her the most powerful female boss of a FTSE100 company.

Matthew Mellor, CEO of Armstrong Craven, which has offices in Manchester, London and Singapore, said: “Emma Walmsley’s appointment is interesting on many levels. She joined GSK only six years ago as head of the business’s consumer healthcare division having previously enjoyed a successful 17-year career at cosmetics giant L’Oréal. She comes from a marketing rather than scientific background, something that is unusual for someone so senior in the pharma sector.

“The combination of gender and career background demonstrate a desire by GSK to ensure that it has diversity of thinking at the top of its business.”

Diversity of thinking has also been in evidence in the make-up of new British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet and team of advisers in Downing Street. President Obama went as far as praising Mrs May on the number of females in her team when the pair met for the first time at the White House, describing it as “great gender balance”.

Mellor added: “Today’s successful companies have come a long way in their approach to the issue of diversity. For many, it now goes much deeper than merely gender, ethnicity or sexuality.

“As the corporate world becomes ever more global, many companies are also looking for talent that has a genuine international outlook. This doesn’t mean someone who has clocked up thousands of air miles, but about leaders who have invested time learning about different cultures and how they fit within an organisation.

“To be truly effective, a diversity of thinking agenda needs to permeate the management structure of a business. This is vital if the aim is to bring about a step-change in the culture of an organisation.

“A significant amount of our talent mapping, pipelining and insight projects have diversity of thinking running through them. Our clients understand that their talent attraction and retention strategies have to stand out from their competition.

“While reward and remuneration still form a key part of any strategy, candidates are ever more demanding in other areas. They want to understand the DNA of the organisation they are being asked to consider – its culture, approach to employee engagement and what diversity means to its leaders.”

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