Many global businesses have non-representative management teams

Inclusiveness doesn't happen overnight: Ernst & Young

Most global companies believe diverse teams and experience improve both the financial performance and the reputation of their organizations. Yet many struggle to put those beliefs into action, according to a survey of more than 1,000 business executives by Ernst & Young and the Economist Intelligence Unit

Three out of 10 respondents have no representatives on their management team or board from outside their home country, found the report Leading across borders.

"Inclusiveness doesn't happen overnight," said Fiona Macfarlane, chief inclusiveness officer at Ernst & Young. "Simply having a diverse workforce isn't enough. Managing diversity by engaging and developing people within and across borders is quickly becoming one of the defining features of a great company."

However, management diversity tends to increase in line with overseas sales growth. Among those companies that derive more than 10 per cent of revenues from other countries, 22 per cent said they have only home-country representatives on their management team, found the survey.

Today's leaders must be able to adapt quickly to an increasingly chaotic and opportunistic global business environment, said Macfarlane. Leaders must expect and embrace the friction caused by diverse viewpoints, rather than try to defuse it. This means modifying the old command-and-control style of leadership and actively pursuing a collaborative style.

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