Behavioral Foundation Drives Excellence in Other Areas
As we approach the 30th anniversary of “triple bottom line,” the accounting principle that has become a corporate performance measure, it’s time to revisit and reflect.
Indeed, the man who coined the TBL term, John Elkington, maintained that the traditional profit-and-loss measure of corporate success gave an incomplete picture of a firm’s actual value or significance. Elkington gave voice to the belief that achieving financial success could be seen as a measure of how an organization approached social and environmental issues.
Thus, more organizations began various forays into evaluating corporate performance by measuring People, Planet and Profit.
‘And,’ not ‘or’
Fast forward to today, and the landscape has changed beyond all recognition. Given the importance of retaining staff, the whole aspect of human capital management is in flux.
Some leaders are working to provide a systematic way to review and improve operations for better environmental performance and be more socially responsible. Many others are investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as an alternative area of emphasis or in addition to investing in environmental and socially responsible areas.
I venture to suggest that when leaders understand behavioral diversity, it is a strong overlay – really more of a powerful foundation – to DEI, triple bottom line and just about any other system, challenge or opportunity.
Behavioral building block
Understanding inherent behaviors – uncovering this behavioral diversity – is only a starting point. Using myself as an example, I’ll demonstrate what this means: I am an initiator, results-driven, logical and decisive. I like to lead, make decisions and set the agenda.
Then compare my behaviors against one of my colleagues who is a facilitator: balanced, discerning and harmonious. She teaches others and herself to achieve goals, prefers a stable environment and promotes group decision-making.
Thus, our collaboration could be a recipe for disaster. But it isn’t. Because we know each other and have invested the time to understand our own and each other's behavioral traits, we work well together.
We know our own and the other’s characteristics, and we have learned to manage inherent behaviors and flex where there would be potential clashes. Applying this same approach with all my colleagues, we are a high-functioning and effective team.
Truly diverse perspectives
Behavioral discovery is the starting point. Add differences in race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic class and more. Then consider the processes and programs within your business and ask yourself, “are they impartial, fair, and provide equal possible outcomes for every individual?” Better still, ask your diverse workforce for their varying perspectives on this.
Do they genuinely feel a sense of belonging in your workplace? If you genuinely reveal and leverage behavioral diversity within your organization, employees will know they are valued for their uniqueness and can authentically bring their entire selves to work. They’ll know that is valued.
With that kind of foundation, an organization is well-poised to continue tackling DEI (beyond behavioral diversity), the triple bottom line and much more.
Lead by (behavioral) example
As with any successful implementation, this begins at the top. Is your leadership ready to introduce the programs and activities that deliver behavioral diversity as a fundamental building block?
Reach out; I’m happy to share my daily experiences and to help you get started discovering your own behavioral diversity.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.