3 Steps Toward Better Diversity Results And #TVWeWant



There’s a good chance you haven’t thought about diversity lately.


Why would you need to pay attention to diversity after all?


Unless one of your goals is to meet the needs of a diverse group of customers (or you have a personal story which connects you to a disadvantaged group) you just get on with providing products and services on an equal basis.


However there is a risk associated with not showing  inspired leadership. That risk involves failing to meet the needs of different staff within organisations / industries and not paying attention to different customers / clients.


We each have a different life story. Leaders who build on the range of talent available make their team members feel engaged in producing outstanding results since their  unique contribution matters.


Diversity Problems In Hollywood Echo Those In UK Television  


Follow the link in the Tweet if you want to check out my LinkedIn post on the Diversity Problem within the Hollywood film industry.


A similar discussion about the exclusive nature of an industry is taking place within UK public service broadcasting circles. What role will ethnically diverse staff and others at the margins play in that future? You can contribute to the discussion at www.futureoftv.org.uk


The Risk Of Staying The Same


If the people responsible for bringing new talent into organisations only hire people like themselves they aren’t helping solve the lack of diversity issue.


Staying the same within an organisation means it is likely the range of ideas, insight and engagement available to that organisation will remain limited. Customers won’t be served with the widest selection of offers possible.


More than that. If the sector stays the same don’t be surprised if in 5 years’ time award winners, Directors, Department Heads and senior staff still do not reflect the widest pool of talent.


A Better Way Forward


It seems to me there is a better way forward for media, or other business organisations.


I think that recruiting, retaining and supporting the progress of a diverse range of creatives (staff) can only widen the rich mix of broadcast output (products and services).


A greater mix of outputs makes it easier to achieve customer satisfaction.


3 Self Help Steps Toward Greater Diversity


So, assuming diversity matters to you here are 3 self-help steps which reflect my experience of supporting the development of women and men from diverse backgrounds since the 1990s:


  • Present yourself in a way which highlights your present experience and future potential (don’t get defined by other people’s view of you)


  • Record your achievements regularly using testimonials, feedback and a goal setting process (ensure those achievements count towards your next step)


  • Support others pursuing their professional development and seek support yourself where necessary (be determined to make the progress appropriate to your ambition)


Visit www.experienceyourlife.coachesconsole.com to download a FREE tool to help you tackle your key presentation, achievement or support goals (just fill in your contact info and press the big blue button).


Thanks for reading this post (please share it with anyone who would find it useful). Also feel free to join in the discussion on the theme of diversity here in the comment section or on Twitter @RogerD_Said


Here Are Some UK Diversity Dates For Your Diary


LGBT History Month (February)

International Women’s Day (8 March)

Black History Month (October)

International Men’s Day (19 November)

Disability History Month (22 November – 22 December)

Value Added




Best Ever Value (c) R Dennison September 2013

If you were to list three of your core values what would they be?  Dedication? Reliability? Thoughtfulness perhaps?  Now the tricky question, where did you acquire those values?  How many of them came from your schooling?

This is a topical question.  Research by Populus for the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values suggests 84% of parents sampled want school to instil key morals and values in their pupils.

I don’t know if there is a consensus as to what particular values should be transmitted.  If a top three set of positive values could be taught (like the ones I mentioned in the first paragraph), they would be a powerful foundation on which to base some goal setting later in young peoples’ lives.

They might also lessen the number of young people who end up within the criminal justice system.   A revealing feature story by BBC Home Affairs correspondent, Tom Symonds, touches on one young man’s value system which led him to commit a second knife-point robbery and end up in prison.  The young man sounds like he considers his own needs first and foremost, when he says he did the robbery because “[he] was going shopping in the West End the next day and … wanted some money to spend”.

If in future that young man was motivated to identify more positive values he could be coached successfully.  It would take time to build enough rapport to support him in action planning.  The key achievement would be to help him identify a decisive action, to answer the question ‘what else’ does he want to do with his life after his sentence ends.



Graduate Employment: Against All Odds

More Than 80 to 1 Odds On Getting A Graduate Job (c) R Dennison August 2013

More Than 80 to 1 Odds On Getting A Graduate Job (c) R Dennison August 2013

As some school students nervously await their exam results their elder graduate siblings are looking for work.  The good news is that there are graduate level jobs available.  The not so good news is that competition has never been more fierce.


As the BBC noted in a report from the Association of Graduate Recruiters there are more than 80 graduates after each vacancy.


The challenge is twofold, scale down unrealistic expectations of new entrants and then encourage realistic appraisal of their skills.  The coaching approach would then be to ask questions to:


–      clarify what the job seeker wants from the jobs they are pursing  (an adequate income; the opportunity to use their skills; room for development into a long-term career)

–      support the development of a confident; approachable presentational style on paper and in person, to ensure their CV becomes one of the half dozen sifted in and they shine during their interview.

–      Encourage reflection if the job search does not make the hoped for progress – what else could be done to present the candidate in the best possible light?


Keeping the candidate’s confidence up would also be part of the coaching programme, since the odds are their search for their elusive first job might take them beyond the end of the summer.



Three Steps Toward Happiness

Can Money Make You Happy? (c) R Dennison July 2013

Can Money Make You Happy? (c) R Dennison July 2013

Actively pursuing a goal can contribute towards personal happiness, although gathering a pile of money might not be enough to put a smile on one’s face.

The BBC  reports that recent research, led by Professor Ruut Veenhoven from Rotterdam University, indicates that:

“In order to lead a happy life, a rewarding life, you need to be active, … So involvement is more important to happiness than knowing the why, why we are here”

The top three indicators that you are likely to be happy include being:

  • actively engaged in politics
  • active in work and in your free time

So perhaps having a goal which regularly engages personal, or professional, energies helps move individuals one step closer to happiness.

There is more information in the link below about the research (and a list of the top ten happiest nations).



Follow The Leader?

Leadership  Display (c) R Dennison June 2013

Leadership Display (c) R Dennison June 2013

Let’s assume you have an organised approach to planning your life and you are pretty content with things at the moment.  You have a happy home life.  You are good at your job.  Family and friends sustain you.  What could be the only cloud on your horizon during the working week?  How about the attitude your boss displays towards you?

The Work section of the Guardian newspaper regularly features descriptions of bosses who aren’t effective leaders.  They aren’t helping to solve problems, since they are busy creating them.  Here’s an example.


Others are reported to be less than effective as they are: leaving new recruits to fend for themselves; stringing staff along in periods of restructuring; and in one recent example, oversharing details of an individual’s personal life after being asked not to


It seems that there is a real gap into which development opportunities could fit.  Those opportunities would help people-managers become more competent leaders and more confident in delivering better results through people.

His or her goal could be as simple as, ‘Listening carefully to what colleagues want and, where possible, helping them achieve good results afterwards’.

Perhaps a degree of empathy would also help.  If the boss was to ask herself, ‘what does my leadership style feel like to my staff?’ they might be able to fine tune it to better effect.  Here’s an interesting reflection on the role of empathy in the workplace from the BBC.


The relationship a leader has with colleagues isn’t like the one with family, or friends.  However fine tuning the relationship by: listening carefully; supporting consistently; and being more self-aware, it can still be a respectful and productive one.

Chairing Discussions Is Easy, Right?

Is Chairing Easy? (c) R Dennison June 2013

Is Chairing Easy? (c) R Dennison June 2013

Although I don’t always get it right, I have learned a lot about chairing discussions and meetings over time.  My main learning, through bitter experience, is that people will sometimes want to focus on their pet themes, whatever the stated agenda.

Things have usually gone well, as long as I have made clear at the outset that the conversation is going to:

–       create space for attendees to raise their views

–       involve attendees listening respectfully to other views

–       achieve an outcome in which some constructive conclusions emerge

As I say I have learned how (mostly) to get positive results in meetings by trial and error.  It is a revelation that even veteran moderators like Andrew Neil can have a hard time of it.

Mr Neil led a discussion this morning – within the BBC programme, The Sunday Politics – about the Bilderberg Group meeting in London.  His guests were US commentator Alex Jones and British journalist David Aaronovitch.  See what you think about the effectiveness of the communication about the topic, after watching this segment


However did they get Mr Jones to leave the studio I wonder?

Forward Planning Means Taking Control

Taking Control (c) R Dennison May 2013

Taking Control (c) R Dennison May 2013


According to the latest figures UK unemployment is up to 2.52m.  Perhaps it is no coincidence then that UK employees are anxious about their situation.  Research conducted by Cardiff University academics provides a snapshot of what is causing those anxieties.

No surprises about the findings: a reduction of job status; actual job loss; and unfair treatment in the workplace are preying on respondents’ minds.  I think a bit of extra planning might help address these concerns and help employees feel like they have more control over their future.

As a first step it might be worthwhile keeping a lifeplan up to date (or even creating one in the first place), so it is easier to chart the longer term goals that you want to pursue.  If the prospect of pay cuts / producing more-with-less resources / job loss causes worry, it has to be a good idea to have some information in your back pocket, including:


– What reward does your present job provide?

– How does that reward fit with your key values?

– What else might you do if the job was to abruptly disappear?


The sudden shock of a major change – like redundancy – would be reduced I think if the jobholder was already clear about what else it would take for them to live their best life.

Questions like those above, and the answers they generate, help build that reserve of self-knowledge.

The Guardian’s coverage of the research findings are available here



(Details of the 2012 Skills and Employment survey, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills is available here at http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/ses2012/  )