Diversity and Inclusion part of winning innovation culture

August 08, 2016

Editor’s Note: Why diversity and inclusion matters to Clive Sirkin

Clive Sirkin recently joined Kellogg as Chief Growth Officer. He’s not new to the company, however. He worked on the Kellogg account at Leo Burnett —a Chicago-based advertising agency — from 1989 to 2005.

By Clive Sirkin, Chief Growth Officer, Kellogg Company

I’m delighted to be part of the Kellogg family again — and especially delighted that the company has the same core DNA and values as it did when I worked with Kellogg in the past. If anything, the company has become even more dynamic and diverse.

A diverse workforce is a critical driver for further growth. A colleague of mine once shared a formula that I believe is the key to a winning innovation culture: I = SD ÷ F.

Translation: Innovation equals stimulus to the power of diversity divided by fear. Stimulus is the passion to be curious and the desire to learn. It’s a great start, but it is exponentially more powerful if one is open to — and not afraid of — diverse thinking.

To further build a growth culture at Kellogg, we must believe in and embrace this formula and commit to applying it. We must be open and curious. And we must listen to, and learn from, people whose backgrounds and views differ from our own. Doing so will make employees feel more fulfilled at work — and I guarantee it will drive better business results.

Companies that have true diversity simply perform better. And achieving diversity requires, first, a culture of inclusion. Diversity is an outcome of inclusion. If we truly believe in diversity and inclusion, they should track to everything we do and how we act. D&I are not work things; they are human things. They are how we as humans should conduct ourselves.

I grew up in South Africa at a time when repression based on skin color was the norm. My late father — and I hope one day to be half the man he was — encouraged me to leave my homeland so I would not raise children in an environment of exclusion. I am thankful to him, yet I often wonder if I should have stayed and been part of the change that finally came about. It reminds me that we all own the creation of a truly inclusive workplace.

I take inspiration from the late Nelson Mandela, who defined the standard of compassion, inclusion and humanity. I look to him as a model to inspire me to keep improving and to keep me honest, and I look to those I work with to help me grow and be better as a person.

One final note: The Kellogg diversity and inclusion story isn’t only about me, of course. Our 2016 Diversity and Inclusion Report, Features, includes many more stories detailing our efforts to promote a more diverse workforce and supplier base.

The report introduces you to people like Wendy Davidson, President, U.S. Specialty Channels, who is working to create more gender-balanced executive teams in our industry. And you’ll learn about our honors from the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), as one of this year’s top corporations for women’s business enterprises.

These are just a few of the many stories within the full report, which I encourage you to read online at www.KelloggDiversityandInclusion.com.

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