Diversity and Inclusion in the Civil Service – You’re Welcome

Cat Macaulay – Swimming in Stormy Weather

The questions you didn't know existed are the ones you most need to answerStrategy can easily be seen as a grand and abstract thing, considering people as components of a system if it considers them at all. Strategic change, on that view, involves doing big things, which typically take a long time.

That’s not the only way of thinking about strategy, of course. Human-level strategy can result in many small things being done – but which may eventually result in a degree and depth of change greater than any big change can produce (though it may well still take a long time).

That reflection is prompted by this post, which is both a very personal story and a description of the modern civil service. Nobody would pretend that the civil service is a paragon of every organisational virtue, but it is striking how far it has changed in composition, attitudes and priorities. That all matters a lot. It matters obviously because it shows an organisation at least striving to respect the diversity of the people who make it up. It matters less obviously – but very importantly – because strategic questions understood in the traditional grand way are answered by people who unavoidably bring the experience of their lives to doing so. Diversity is not a soft-edged slogan. It is not even just about respect for individuals. It is a dimension of strategic competence.

One Comment

  1. As ever someone else’s sensemaking extends my own… “Diversity is not a soft-edged slogan. It is not even just about respect for individuals. It is a dimension of strategic competence.” I could not agree more.

    It seems clear to me that more and more senior leaders in the org get that having us in the room is not just a great way to tick their diversity target boxes, but are beginning to get that we are intrinsic to their strategy toolbox.

    Going back to your thoughts on disruptors a while back – while I can’t predict the pace at which full, deep and sustainable change will happen in the diversity of the CS (along with disability and BAME, socioeconomic diversity for example still has so, so far to go) my experiences as an activist in the LGBT movement in the 80s tell me that it’s never a matter of either insiders or outsiders, either fast or slow, either strategy or tactics. That it’s in the multiplicity of attempts, and the storytelling around those attempts, that walls finally succumb, world’s finally change, lives (and orgs, and outcomes) finally improve.

    Your disruptors relay idea appeals a lot – and I certainly feel a strong sense of the need to play a part in bringing in the next wave of runners. I am conscious of the demands on us as we participate in the disruptive thinking race, and that as the Michelle Shocked song goes ‘The Secret to a Good Life is Knowing When it’s Time to Go’. Org succession planning 2.0 🙂

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