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MANAGING WORKFORCE DIVERSITY AT IBM: A GLOBAL HR TOPIC THAT HAS ARRIVED J. T. (Ted) Childs Jr. To be successful, global companies must continue to look toward the future, and CEOs, senior line and HR management, and diversity leaders play a key role in that process. Workforce diversity cannot be delegated; it must be a partnership. Although the HR team plays the key staff role, total delegation from the top, without active involvement, is a recipe for failure. IBM considers diversity a business imperative as fundamental as delivering superior technologies in the marketplace. To ensure that talented people can contribute at the highest possible level, the company insists on a workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment and…show more content…
“If you’re going to spend your whole life in the grandstand just watching what goes on, in my opinion you’re wasting your life.” And Robinson lived as he believed. While in the Army, from 1942–1945, before baseball, Robinson challenged segregation at Camp (Fort) Hood. As he went through military channels stating his case to superior officers, Robinson’s protest led to desegregation at the camp. He also once faced and defeated court martial proceedings after refusing to move to the back of an Army bus when the driver gave the order. Robinson’s protest, a legitimate one since Army regulations prohibited discrimination on government vehicles, eventually led to all charges being dismissed. Robinson laid out a valuable lesson for diversity executives today. Our work is not for spectators, but for those who thrive on change—not for change alone, but change that is a catalyst for improvement—creating fairness when it doesn’t exist, moving organizations from separate but equal points of view to inclusiveness, and migrating people from conflict to collaboration. Diversity leaders also can learn from the leadership of Tom Watson Jr. When it involved IBM, he also sought to live by his values as he led the business. In his book, A Business and Its Beliefs, Watson said, “If an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except its basic beliefs as it moves through corporate life. The only sacred
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