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Leveraging Future Success Through Diversity Leadership

Many businesses today are investing in diversity training programs. Why? – Diversity and inclusion offer firms a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Not only does diversity enhance financial performance and productivity, but it also creates rewarding work environments. It’s not enough to simply sprinkle the organization with a -diversity training here and there, however. Successful businesses of tomorrow must cultivate diverse environments to sustain inclusive cultures and innovative ideas. This is why investing in diversity leadership training is essential.

Why Diverse Leadership is Important

In any market, the challenge is to perpetuate growth and to maintain a competitive advantage. If a market is highly competitive, this can be difficult.

In such environments, businesses must promote creative innovation so that their goods can be differentiated from others in the market. This is where diversity leadership comes into play.

If future leaders embrace an inclusive approach, then diversity fosters innovation and creativity to drive this growth. This is why diversity leadership is critical for future success. Diversity training may be effective for a time, but diversity leadership is the gift that keeps on giving.

What Exactly Is Diversity Leadership?

Different models provide different views of leadership. For example, transformational leaders help organizations adapt to change. Servant leadership provides role modeling and guidance for others.

Diversity leadership, however, can be a component of a leadership model or a stand-alone concept. In essence, diversity leadership pertains to individuals who excel in promoting inclusive cultures in the workplace.

As a result, several key features are typically associated with diverse leadership.

key traits of a diverse leader
Key Traits of Diversity Leadership
  • Curiosity – Growth is an essential ingredient of business success. Future leaders who embrace curiosity invite diverse opinions into workplace discussions. This drives creativity and innovation. This is a natural feature of diversity leadership.
  • Cultural Intelligence – Inviting diverse opinions and participating in diversity training seminars is not enough for diversity leadership development. Inclusive leaders must have a strong knowledge of various cultures as well. A high cultural IQ promotes constructive conflict resolution and idea generation. These are hallmarks of diversity leadership as well.
  • Collaboration Skills – Inclusive leaders also appreciate the importance of collaboration and teamwork. The exchange of diverse ideas is essential for growth and innovation, and diversity leadership promotes these types of opportunities.
  • Commitment to Diversity – Strong future leaders appreciate the importance of diversity to the business’s success. As a result, a dedication in advancing diversity in the organization through influential leadership is persistent.
  • Courage – Diversity leadership also requires a level of courage to promote an inclusive environment. Diversity involves presenting ideas at risk for rejection. Risk-taking is a requirement. Future leaders who will succeed in developing diversity and inclusion will see failures as opportunities to learn and grow. This inherently takes courage.
  • Cognizance – Lastly, diversity leadership is aware of existing biases that may exist that hinder inclusive environments. Such biases may exist in the organization or within the leadership. Cognizance thus requires self-reflection and constant assessments to ensure an inclusive culture is being advanced without barriers.

Effective Strategies to Develop Diversity Leadership

Developing diversity leadership takes more than simply scheduling diversity training sessions. It requires methodical, consistent efforts to mold future leaders of tomorrow into those who value inclusive organizations. The following strategies can help in this regard.

Organizational Growth In The 21st Century and importance of diversity training
Organizational Growth In The 21st Century
  • Access to Current Leadership – Leadership development requires access to current leaders. Having role models to guide future leaders in diversity practices and inclusive behaviors is essential.
  • Challenge with Support – Organizations sustain diversity leadership behaviors when individuals challenge their work with new tasks to promote inclusion. This may involve opportunities to resolve diversity conflicts in effective Alternatively, it may require guiding others in diversity training. Regardless, coaching and mentoring supports are often beneficial with such efforts.
  • Cultural Education – In addition to diversity training efforts, future leaders also need to develop cultural competence and cultural knowledge. This will aid in leadership tasks, communication skills, and other abilities in promoting inclusive environments.
  • Collaboration Activities – Inclusive leaders must have strong interpersonal skills and work well in diverse groups. Immersing future leaders in team settings where inclusion is required for success breeds strong diversity leadership. Likewise, encouraging individuals to take on team project leadership can further advance these skills.
  • Advocacy Opportunities – Because inclusive cultures may not naturally occur, future leaders should also learn to advocate for diversity in the firm. Therefore, encouraging individuals to support and advocate for inclusion helps sustain diversity in the organization.

Diversity Leadership – The Means to Sustain Market Success

The goal of – any business is to sustain a competitive advantage and ongoing market growth. Investing in the development of future leaders is an important strategy to achieve this mission. Because diversity is linked to enhanced performance, it stands to reason that businesses should invest in diversity leadership as well. In doing so, businesses will have great opportunities to become market leaders and sustain longstanding success.

What Firms Can Do to Create Successful Leaders?

How AT&T and Other Large Media Services are Changing the Cable Industry

Because of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, many Americans seem to be turning off their cable boxes. They’re doing this in favor of watching what they want and when they want to watch. However, while many people view the cable industry as a dying breed, companies like AT&T, Time Warner, and other media services believe they can revolutionize what was once America’s greatest entertainment industry.

What’s Going on in the Cable Industry Right Now?

There is no hiding the fact that fewer  Americans are watching and subscribing to cable television providers. During the first quarter of 2018, DirecTV has lost 188,000 subscribers and Charter Communications, another 122,000.

Meanwhile, Netflix has accumulated 56.7 million monthly subscribers. There are many reasons why many Americans are making the switch. Streaming services are less expensive, they allow greater flexibility in content and scheduling. Viewers can watch from any device with an internet connection and application support.

However, cable industries are aware of their loss of subscribers. They are now repositioning themselves to compete with the emerging streaming services. These changes include offering their content on digital media players (smartphones, laptops), unbundling their packages and offering skinny bundles, and partnering with streaming giants like Comcast did with Netflix through their Xfinity TV subscription. Moreover, cable television is still king of content offering high-rated content. Examples are Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and The Big Bang Theory. It is clear that programs like these are keeping the cable industry alive.

How AT&T Cable is Changing the Cable Industry

Among the largest media providers, AT&T believes they can revolutionize cable TV and bring back the many subscribers who have cut the cords on their cable televisions. Back in 2017, AT&T purchased Time Warner for $85.4 billion to merge the two media companies. Through this deal, AT&T gained ownership over several of the largest entertainment leaders such as HBO, Warner Bros., and Turner.

Through this deal, AT&T plans on regathering subscribers through its skinny bundle called WatchTV. The bundle will allow subscribers to have access to fewer channels. They also get to choose exactly which channels they want and pay as little as $15 a month.

AT&T also hopes to move the industry to an “engagement model” of pricing. That is, channel owners are paid based on their audiences, unlike before when they were paid by subscribers. Through this new business model, audience members would help AT&T determine which channels to put into the skinny bundle or other packages they may offer.

AT&T Cable partners logos on TV, changes in cable industry
AT&T is revamping cable TV with its Skinny Bundle. Will subscribers plug back in?

What We Can Expect to see in the Future of the Cable Industry

Another result of AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is that it opens the door for other telecoms and media outlets to merge.  In fact, Comcast already has plans of making an offer for 21st Century Fox’s studio and its entertainment cable channels. Verizon has also expressed interest in purchasing both CBS Corporation and its other media company, Viacom. However, Charter Communications is also interested in purchasing CBS, Viacom, and Discovery. It would grant them ownership of major televised channels such as Animal Planet, Discovery Channel and HGTV.

What then does this mean for all the viewers at home? What can we expect in the future of cable television? Well, it seems that most cable providers are moving their services away from the little black box and onto their own versions of mobile streaming platforms. We may soon start to see our cable providers offering their content through a similar platform such as Netflix or Hulu. This means we will be able to watch the shows we want, when we want to watch them. Moreover, instead of paying a large sum for a boatload of channels, offered will be smaller packages that will grant access only to the channels you want to watch.

While streaming services like Netflix are grabbing most of the attention of television and media users, the cable industries are not giving up the battle yet. We don’t know exactly what is in store for the future of cable television, however, we do know that some drastic changes are expected to take place that may or may not revolutionize the industry. AT&T and other media services plan on changing the way we watch and interact with at-home entertainment services.

A Dying Business Model? – Bold Insights About JC Penney

In roughly a decade, JCPenney has gone from a retail mogul to one that is hanging by a thread. With debt exceeding $4 billion and a stock price under two dollars a share, obvious questions exist. Is JCPenney closing? Was the collapse inevitable, or could JCPenney have avoided a dying business model? Equipped with 20-20 hindsight, the following explores whether the potential JCPenney closing was due to a dying business model or not. The insights gained provide valuable information for any business in today’s highly dynamic and hyper-competitive landscape.

Painting the Not-So-Pretty Picture. Is JC Penny Closing?

How JCPenny Could Have Saved its Dying Business Model
JCPenny’s dying business model was unable to adapt and apply new strategies. How could they have saved the company from closing?

In past times, JCPenney has been one of the most powerful retailers in America. Known for home goods,  clothing, and apparel, middle-income families might spend an entire day in their stores. Back then, no one would have asked, “Is JC Penny closing?” But JCPenney’s dying business model began to become evident a little more than a decade ago. The Great Recession placed tremendous pressures on JCPenney’s primary market, and spending (and sales) declined rapidly. At the same time, tremendous competitive pressures appeared. Discount retailers like TJ Maxx, Kohl’s, Target and others took a chunk out of JCPenney’s traditional customer base. Faced with rapidly falling revenues and stock prices, the company decided to turn to new leadership. The key question was if there was a way to save the company’s dying business model, or if JC Penney was doomed.

The Radical Move JC Penny Made That Failed to Pay Off

In 2011, JCPenney turned to Ron Johnson to take over the helm. Johnson had been successful in leading Apple’s retail division, and he had a vision. He believed a change would turn JCPenney’s dying business model around. One problem Johnson accurately identified was JCPenney’s high-low pricing model.

JCPenney would offer its new merchandise at higher prices, but their older items would be deeply discounted from 50 to 70 percent. Customers had become accustomed to purchasing discounted items, which represented JCPenney’s primary customer base. Unfortunately, this reduced revenues and accumulated expensive inventories typical of a dying business model.

So, Johnson decided to eliminate discounts and clearance sales…completely.

In addition, Johnson also decided to pursue a completely different market segment. Rather than going after middle-income families, JCPenney would appeal to the more affluent. This meant eliminating long-term supplier contracts with private label brands and picking up new ones. Boutique shops rose within the stores offering products and services by partner vendors.

Likewise, to attract millennials, all advertising, logos, and designs also shifted. Unfortunately, the move was no better than the previous dying business model. In addition to losing its loyal customer base, JCPenney failed to draw their new market clientele. The company let go of Johnson after being with the company for only 17 months.

jcpenney mannequins and moving people
Could JCPenney have avoided the dying business model?

Major Mistakes from a Marketing Mix Perspective

Economic, social, and even legal challenges plagued JCPenney during these years. Likewise, competitive pressures were incredibly high. However, much of the company’s demise resulted from its reliance on a dying business model too long. In particular, JCPenney made many poor decisions about its products, its pricing approaches, and its promotion strategies. Many customers chose other retailers once JC Penney chose to adopt new, unknown brands at higher prices.  Likewise, JC Penney was unsuccessful in recruiting higher-income customers. In part, such potential customers did not associate JC Penney with higher-end products and services.

Moreover, promotional efforts to attract new market segments, like millennials, were highly ineffective. Almost overnight, JCPenney became a company without an identity. Both its old and new strategies reflected dying business models that would not work in modern times. It had effectively sacrificed its brand and its customer base for a strategy that failed miserably to achieve its goals.

Retrospective Remedies for a Dying Business Model

Understanding the recessionary environment and high competition that JCPenney faced, success would have been challenging regardless. In other words, things would have been tough even if the company had aborted its dying business models. However, a better strategic approach could have been pursued to improve the company’s chances over time.

The following offers some strategies that would have likely been much more effective for the company.

  • People and Promotion Strategies – JCPenney’s biggest mistake might have been abandoning their loyal customer base. Rather than trading one dying business model for another, incremental changes would have been better. With an established niche for middle-income families, strengthening its brand in this area would have been a better move. Understandably, promotions to target younger customers for future growth were admirable. However, targeting families with children could have offered the same result.  Likewise, a strong customer base could make the exploration of new segments of the market easy.
  • Product and Pricing Strategies – When Johnson pursued the in-store boutiques and higher pricing models, little market research was performed. This is how JCPenney swapped one dying business model for another. A lower pricing strategy that aligned with JC Penney’s brand and target customer would have likely been more successful. This pricing approach could have also been used to reduce inventory excesses. At the same time, maintaining the existing private label brands makes sense. In addition to already enjoying strong supplier contracts, customers knew these brands. These approaches would have been congruent with other marketing strategies mentioned while helping JCPenney expand its niche market.
  • Placement and Outreach Strategies – While JCPenney closed many stores to reduce costs, hundreds of other stores had to remain open. JCPenney had leased many stores long-term in declining retail malls. In essence, they were in shambles financially in many stores. This was a major component of the company’s original dying business model. In retrospect, the company would have been wiser to arrange more flexible brick-and-mortar stores while advancing its online presence. In such dynamic markets, greater flexibility is often critical for success.

What’s Ahead for JCPenney?

In 2017, 141 JC Penney stores closed down. Likewise, it continues to struggle with massive debt, declining profits, and excess inventory. Also, the company continues to be without leadership at present.  Understanding these issues and competition in the retail industry, a JC Penney closing seems to be in the near future. In all probability, JCPenney will follow Sears and other retailers who found themselves in trouble amidst a reliance on a dying business model. Retailers in other industries are facing the challenges of evolving change. Those unable to adapt and apply new strategies and business models will likely be left behind.