For thought-leaders at Microsoft, the equation for success is simple; Diversity + Inclusion = Success.

According to their senior leadership team, “diversity is not a finite goal; it is a journey that requires constant self-assessment and recommitment.

But what exactly is diversity and why is it essential to develop a diversity mindset in an age of increasingly global integration?

Diversity refers to difference and variety in many forms; from thinking styles, values, attitudes, cultural perspectives and beliefs to ethnic backgrounds, nationalities, sexual orientations, genders, abilities (mental and physical), socio economic status and any other personal characteristics which differentiate us from the “norm”.

My own diversity is defined by several facets; primarily due to the fact that I am a British Pakistani Muslim female of ethnic minority with a background in mathematics and fundraising for the British Conservative Party who is currently the CEO of a SME public relations firm which specialises in catering to the global needs of our government, business and culture clients around the world.

The world is evolving rapidly. To keep up with cutting-edge businesses, each leader must develop a diversity focused mindset. Nurturing a pro-diversity workforce cultivates tolerance and in turn accelerates progress.

Why?

Diverse market

The world is becoming increasingly interconnected. Established brands are looking to globalise and emerging market brands are looking to become a house hold name. Empathy has become a buzzword within the business world, and particularly within PR. In order to build relationships and commercially engage our global consumer, we must understand them. A diversity mindset is almost a bridge, connecting the world through a mutual consideration and recognition that our differences make us stronger.

Global firms take diversity seriously

PwC have established “annual diversity plans” which are executed by each firm’s respective diversity leader, with the sponsorship of the firm’s senior partner. The “Global Inclusion Index” has also contributed to a drive in leadership commitment and accountability meaning that employees are encouraged to contribute their “unique insight and skills to help solve some of the most complex challenges.”

The BBC are also committed to reflecting and representing the diversity of the United Kingdom. Internal policies are established to encourage a diverse portfolio of expert contributors in line with promoting the UK as a diverse and inclusive society.

Cultivating broader dimensions of diversity builds a solid, sustainable progression for businesses who are looking to integrate and effectively communicate with individuals around the world. This global transition towards socio-ecological wellbeing not only promotes respect and empowerment on a human level – but also drives a business’ competitive edge as new experiences bring together a stronger forum of ideas which can be used to mould global communications strategies.

The inclusive leader of today adds value to an organisation through the diversity mindset, one of openness and awareness.