Want great long term returns? Invest in being Diverse by Design — Tom McCallum

Tom McCallum
4 min readMar 21, 2022

A few days ago I wrote “ Are you willing to accept lower profits to be anti-fragile? “, noting:

Resilience is to have minimal impact at times of “disorder”, whereas an anti-fragile organisation actively benefits from times of disorder….in order to be anti-fragile, one must first accept that this can eat into the idea of “profit maximisation” at a level beyond even being resilient, but perhaps it is time in our world of grey and black swans to look at optimising shareholder returns over the longer-term rather than maximising them over the short term?

I am putting this in the language of shareholder returns as this does remain the primary driver for business, albeit increasingly short term and short termist in nature by many key measures. By those measures, we often hear of how corporations are focussed more now on diversity, yet very often we also hear of it as a cost of “doing the right thing”, not as an investment.

This is also short termist and short-sighted, as rethinking your organisation as designed at all levels to embrace and encourage diversity is not a cost but an investment in your future, in building an anti-fragile business ready to actively benefit from times of disorder.

As I have spoken and written about for quite a number of years, we live in the fastest moving times we have ever lived in, yet the slowest we will ever live in. The old ways of leadership simply aren’t fit for purpose in our “VUCA” world, and increasingly we are recognising how VUCA our world is, ie Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

Truly embracing and being a diverse organisation at all levels of your business is an investment in being anti-fragile. A diverse organisation sees difference as an asset (yes, that shareholder language again), is curious, open, caring, listening. A diverse organisation will see every challenge and opportunity from multiple angles and share them openly and with full acceptance of the value of difference and differing thoughts, ideas, opinions, points and directions of view.

This is a much, much bigger challenge for almost all organisations than you might consider, as to design and operate a truly diverse organisation means fully embracing being…

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Tom McCallum

Sounding Board for Visionary Leaders ready to make a Massive Impact. Daily posts here, or https://tommccallum.com/newsletter-sign-up/