Corp America March 2017

CORP AMERICA / MARCH 2017 61 , James O. Rodgers, president and principal consultant of The Diversity Coach, believes that effectivelymanaging diversity requires a new approach tomanaging people. We were fortunate to speakwith James about his goal tomake diversitymanagement a key business strategy for all businesses in this highly connected, globalized economy. The Leading Strategist in the Field of Diversity Management J.O. Rodgers and associates is a management consulting firm operating under the brand The Diversity Coach, and provides advice and counsel to senior leaders of corporations on how to best leverage the inevitable fact that diversity is increasingly becoming a fact of life. Alerting them to this fact and providing the tools and skills that are necessary to manage that, so that they can continue to achieve world-class results. James then goes on to explain that he has been in business since 1987. “In 30 years, I have worked with 250 different organisations and at least 400 engagements for which I was the lead consultant. I operate on the associates model, so I do not hire people, because I have a network of associates and select the ones that best fit the needs of the assignment concerned.” “In terms of the challenges I have faced, they are the same as other small businesses have, I have been able to obtain business by word of mouth and have moved from one engagement to the other over the past 30 years. To avoid the Feast or Famine Syndrome, there is always a lot of working going on, so you have to be able to manage the business and sustain yourself and to provide quality work. Being able to smooth the ups and down in the market is therefore a very important factor.” “On technology, I would describe this as the tools and techniques that we manage people with, but in terms of physical technology it is moderately important as long as I have an email account and a telephone then I can get on with my client based work. While new gadgets are nice, they are not essential to the business. Having said that, I do like to keep up with the latest thinking and research in Human Capital Development, that is to be slightly ahead of my clients and understanding those things which are being tested, researched and experimented with.” To stay innovative, James reveals that he stays on top of what is going on in his field, as ‘the leading strategist in the field of diversity management’, which is how his colleagues refer to him. Explaining this point in more detail, James says that he has to separate himself from what most people would consider to be diversity work, because his expertise is in diversity management. The latter covers both leadership and change management. “I therefore have to read furiously, I subscribe to many magazines and newspapers, as well as attending conferences and webinars so I am constantly in a state of learning to ensure that I deliver a quality service to my client.” “In terms of my aspirations for the future, it is getting to the point now when I am looking to do more executive coaching and write more books and take part in more speaking rather than just doing work on the ground level. I think a lot of people can benefit from the work I have done over the last 30 years, but in order to do that they have to hear the message and the evidence I have that my approach actually works.” “In addition, one of my key principles is great ideas come from outside the circle, so we are always promoting diverse thinking (also known as cognitive diversity) because if you want innovation, quality decisions, problem solving and high performance diversity is an essential ingredient for all of these. Diversity does not work if you do not know how to manage and facilitate it, as well as coach members of the team so that they can give their best and collectively produce the best outcomes for all.” In closing, James adds that he is a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, and a certified management consultant. He speaks regularly at international conferences, and his clients include the likes of well-known and large companies such as IBM, Johnson & Johnson and major energy companies. These companies want to understand the mix of people working for them, in terms of the clients and the customers they are serving.” K Company: The Diversity Coach Name: James O. Rodgers Email: [email protected] Web Address: Address: Atlanta, Georgia USA Telephone: +1 770 331-3246 1702CA07