March 13th Tabitha Scott led a session on Innovation through Strategic Diversity at the CBA LIVE Conference in Orlando alongside Michelle Lee, President Wells Fargo Eastern Region Community Banking & Chair of the CBA Education Council, and Cathy Myers, Consumer Bank Technology Executive, US Bank. The session introduced strategic diversity as a solution to traditional, and often controversial, “diversity” programs. With a humorous approach to political correctness, we introduced a next generation approach that provides equal opportunity without sacrificing qualified employees.

In business, “diversity” is often affiliated with race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities or lifestyle preferences. Cole Scott Group views diversity as a collective mix of strengths that provide a competitive and financial advantage. Diverse organizations are able to adapt more quickly to their changing environment. Diversification reduces risk for investment portfolios, improves competitive strength, and accelerates business success.

Diversity in its traditional sense can be of little use unless qualifications and preferences are aligned with corporate vision. We will touch on how critical strategic diversity has become in the financial industry and how it will generate more profits and reduce risk. It is well known that teams outperform individuals during complex problem solving. Optimizing diversity within each team adds further velocity to innovative thinking. This session can help financial institutions improve profits by:

*Providing specific examples of diversity pros and cons—paradigms, lessons learned and success stories

*Identifying the status of strategic diversity within leader and employee teams via cutting edge tools like the AEM Cube and S-Curve Analysis

*Recognizing individual strengths and aligning them with employee roles and succession planning

*Introducing the “Innovation Lab” process to create tangible results within the existing corporate strategy while coaching individual team members

Strategic Diversity goes beyond traditional paradigms about what “diversity” means and digs into results-driven, quantifiable methods. Process improvements, talent review/improvement, talent acquisition, preparing existing employees for new roles through proven programs, competing in an instant Information Age, and deploying technologies to improve efficiencies are all critical for success in the financial industry.

Hiring based simply on race, gender or other traditional “diversity” targets simply won’t work. A strategic approach to diversity in leadership is critical to ensure talent aligns with corporate goals like: growth, succession planning or employee retention. This session will use predetermined success stories and lessons learned to hit hot topics in a fun, interactive and engaging way.