Australia’s population can be described as a truly multicultural society. With 28 percent of the population born overseas, it is fundamentally important for many to promote a new inclusive way of leadership that would represent the cultural diversity of the local population.
An initiative to promote Cultural Diversity and Inclusive Leadership was organized by Tim Soutphommasane, Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, together with Australian Human Rights Commission, the University of Sydney Business School, Westpac, PwC Australia and Telstra.
The working group created a blueprint, Leading for Change, for organizations to take advantage of the cultural diversity of their workers and promote inclusive leadership that would meet current demands of the multicultural society.
The CEO of Westpac Group, Brian Hartzer, points out that “This Blueprint will help Australian businesses to see what best practice looks like when it comes to cultural inclusion. We think that the Blueprint will have a powerful impact in the community…”.
Leading to Change is the important initiative that opened up a conversation about the need to include people representing diverse cultures into leadership positions. The research conducted by the working group suggests that inclusive leadership produces better performance, productivity and decision-making. Leading for Change provides guidance for organizations to improve organizational performance related to cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.
Following the blueprint’s release in 2016, the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity was formed, which consists of senior leaders who advocate for cultural diversity in leadership. The Council indicates the under-representation of cultural diversity in leadership positions among Australian companies. Therefore, the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity regularly holds events and activities to encourage inclusive leadership.
One of the Shared Societies commitments is to promote respect, understanding and appreciation of diversity, and the Cultural Diversity and Leadership program in Australia can be used as a success story of embracing cultural diversity and a step forward towards creating a Shared Society.