Embracing diversity and inclusion: a new dimension for leadership and management

BY by Morten Wierod, President Electrification ABB.

In today's ever-shifting business landscape, the definition of success extends beyond financial performance. While the profit and loss account remains a vital indicator, a deeper examination reveals that the true measure of a successful business lies in its people and culture.

Strong teams foster strong financial performance, and organizations that prioritize creating an inclusive and engaging work environment are the ones that will excel. This shift in focus towards people and culture as drivers of success is transforming the face of leadership and management. As we navigate these changes, we must explore the importance of embracing diversity and inclusion (D&I) in this new era.

The path to market-leading performance begins with nurturing a diverse and inclusive culture. In this environment, individuals feel included, empowered to express their opinions, and can be their authentic selves without fear of judgment or discrimination. This inclusive approach brings out the best in people and cultivates the ideal conditions for team success. Leaders and managers recognize the intrinsic link between people, culture, and business performance, placing equal emphasis on emotional connection as well as factual strategies to motivate and engage their workforce.

A changing work landscape

The world of work is undergoing a profound transformation. Remote working has become the norm for many, and the pursuit of work-life balance now takes precedence over financial compensation.

These changes present challenges for leaders and managers, who must adapt their approaches to effectively motivate, communicate, and engage with their teams. The future of leadership and culture demands a shift away from hierarchical structures towards a collective focus on the "why." Taking a "think global, act local" mindset becomes even more crucial in today's interconnected world, where being inclusive and diverse is not only an ethical imperative but also a prerequisite for business success.

Constant evolution

Diversity and inclusion are not one-time checkboxes; they require ongoing commitment and nurturing. As global social trends continue to evolve, businesses must adapt and continuously test their D&I efforts. The aim is not to seek special treatment but to foster fair treatment and equal opportunities for all.

At ABB, we have embarked on a long-term journey toward cultivating a true D&I culture. Our progress is measured through annual engagement surveys, which demonstrate our commitment to practical steps such as unconscious bias training, mentoring programs, and a transition to more collaborative approaches. We also prioritize the development of the next generation through mentoring and coaching initiatives, working with universities to foster new talent and with digital innovators through our Startup Challenge.

Diversity and inclusion are core values for long-term success

The workplace is undergoing a profound transformation that calls for a clear shift in leadership and management. Organizations that embrace diversity and inclusion as core values position themselves for long-term success and we must all advocate for this new era of leadership.

By fostering an environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and empowered, we can collectively create workplaces that inspire pride and enable the full potential of every employee. Together, we can build a future where diversity and inclusion are not just buzzwords but the foundation of thriving businesses.

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