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Pedro Lerma’s 3 Tips to Lead 21st Century Businesses

The Lerma Agency CEO on why companies must take a multicultural approach in their corporate cultures, products, and services.
By D CEO |
Jill Broussard

In twenty-four years, the U.S. multiracial population will outnumber the non-Hispanic, White population for the first time in our history. In Texas, socioeconomics, culture, religion, politics, and age are other factors that made ours the second most diverse state in the nation. Amid this majority-minority role reversal, it’s up to business leaders to authentically embrace diversity within their corporate culture and product offerings.

It starts by recognizing and championing each individual’s distinct identity. But the more diverse future of Texas does not stop at race and ethnicity. Instead, we must value our team’s diverse perspectives and experiences to reflect society’s expectations and shifting demographics. And having diverse leadership in a company is not just a feel-good story; it also pays dividends. A Glassdoor study found that 76 percent of employees and job seekers said a diverse workforce was important when considering companies and job offers. Here are three reasons why fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture has become a 21st-century business imperative: 

  1. It’s the right thing to do. Young people are showing us the way, and each successive generation embraces diversity in a way their predecessors have not. Many of us have seen the video of two toddlers—one Black and one White—running toward one another to embrace. Younger generations are embracing diversity like never before, celebrating differences and not being divided by them.
  2. Omniculturalism is expected. Omniculturalism promotes each of our perspectives and experiences; these differences are the uniting common denominator. Young people expect acceptance, not only of their ethnicity but also their culture (sexual preferences, marital status, veteran status, etc.). For example, your age shouldn’t be a hindrance, whether you’re young and historically have not been considered for a leadership role or if you’re older and are overlooked for an innovation role. These things shouldn’t limit opportunity. Companies need to adapt or risk becoming irrelevant.
  3. Diversity drives growth. Countless studies prove diverse teams fuel innovation, creativity, and profitability. Despite the benefits of diverse perspectives, companies have been wired to create homogeneity. When you’re a hammer, everything ends up looking like a nail, so you consistently deliver the same kinds of products or solutions to your customers. Embracing diversity provides an opportunity to break out, innovate, and become more relevant to society. Promoting an inclusive culture will attract ingenious talent, increase employee loyalty, reduce turnover, and create innovative products and solutions that ultimately drive business growth.

Pedro Lerma is the founder and CEO of Dallas-based Lerma Agency.

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