• The Centre for Inclusive Leadership

The answer is Inclusion – what was the question

We talk about the importance of inclusion in the workplace.

Delivering Diversity : Race and Ethnicity in the Management Pipeline is timely and thought provoking report, well researched by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the British Academy of Management (BAM). Amongst other perennial questions posed by the report was, “why so few BME managers reach the top”? Well, for us, at The Centre for Inclusive Leadership (TCfIL) the answer to that, and all the other questions it raised, is inclusion, or rather a lack of inclusion.

Having been actively involved in addressing this agenda for nearly fifty years, the report caused me to reflect on how much we still have to do when it comes to ethnic diversity. Then I thought again and wondered whether it was much more about where we stand (and by we, I mean senior managers, executives and ‘the board room’) rather than what more we had to do.

In our experience, the reason why organisations are not making a great deal progress on the ethnic diversity agenda, despite what they do, is that the vast majority of organisations actually think it’s about diversity! The implication being that diversity is what we are aiming for, when in fact, diversity is what we have and bring. Inclusion is what we need to aim for.

The issue is, and always have been inclusion. We need to change our thinking; there needs to be a paradigm shift. We need to literally see the agenda differently.

The report has seven Key Findings and Actions for Leaders. TCfIL can help your organisation to make a paradigm shift to address the Key Findings by helping you to develop and use next practice as a means of bringing about real and sustainable change regarding ethnic diversity in your organisation.

​Key Findings

TCfIL Recommendations

Let’s talk about Race

Interestingly, in our world, there is only one race! TCfIL will help your leaders talk about why inclusion is vitally important and why managing inclusion well will increase ethnic diversity across the board, and consequently on the board.

Learn from the gender agenda

Learning from best practice is important but it can only take you so far. We will partner with you to design, develop and deliver next practice for your specific situation and culture; mapped against your vision and values and measured against your operational objectives.

Face the numbers

We need to know the numbers; but crucially, we need to know which numbers we need. At TCfIL we have developed a process for measuring the financial cost of exclusion and the benefits of inclusion. We will enable you to accurately gauge the impact of your next practice activities.

It ain’t what you know – its who knows you

TCfIL will help you to develop self-sustaining processes that will enable you to utilise, and go beyond, traditional networking and sponsorship programmes.

Wanted: Role models and mentors at every level

TCfIL have designed and delivered National Training Award winning mentoring programmes and can support your organisation in developing role models and mentors at every level in the organisation.

Fitting In

It may seem counterintuitive, but fitting in can be the enemy of inclusion. For us at TCfIL it’s all about Fitting Together, not Fitting In. We will empower your minority ethnic people to better manage their own inclusion. We will enable your leaders to become skilled at Managing Inclusion and show them how to utilise a powerful psychometric tool that will radically improve the ability of your people to fit together.

Evidence based development

Our work with organisations convinces us that the majority have most of the data they need. We can help you to interrogate your existing data to adduce evidence enabling you to identify opportunities for improvement and ways to support the development of key decision makers and influencers in the business’ This will enable them to better manage inclusion so that the organisation can begin to reap the benefits of diversity.

Regardless of the question, the answer is inclusion. So, whether it’s:

  • how do we get more minority ethnic people to apply for developmental roles?

  • how do we actively challenge poor performance by minority ethnic staff?

  • how do we increase the diversity of the management pipeline?

  • how do we keep our minority ethnic high flyers?

  • how do we get more minority ethnic role models?

  • how do we encourage white executives to feel comfortable talking about ethnicity?

The answer remains the same: Inclusion.


  1. Organisations need to manage inclusion across the board if they want to increase diversity in the boardroom.

  2. When it comes to ethnic diversity, the issue for business leaders is know-how and, knowing how to communicate why it matters.

  3. Organisations need many more Inclusive Leaders of the business, not more diversity leaders in HR.

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We are thrilled that V Wilkes, a friend of The Centre, was kind enough to take some time out of their busy schedule to answer some questions. Can we start at the beginning? What exactly does “non-bina