By Sandy Cross
PGA of America
During the past few years, the golf industry has rallied around the idea of driving greater diversity in the game of golf, particularly gender diversity, as well as multi-cultural consumers and people with disabilities. A significant amount of energy has centered on raising awareness and the understanding of the societal importance and value in a more diverse and inclusive business operation, in addition to the significant economic upside that can be realized.
We've seen various industry constituents, PGA and LPGA Professionals, and facilities implement tactics and programs that have demonstrated their ability to connect with diverse audiences; discover what those audiences value; and garner their engagement—PGA Jr. League, PGA HOPE, the Latina Golfers Association's clinics and Women’s Golf Day, for example. While these efforts are applauded, and we should continue to shine a spotlight on the results they are driving, in order to inspire action by others, we must each act with intention—real purposeful intention—at our respective clubs and places of employment.
Think about those three words: Real. Purposeful. Intention. Really think about them.
To change the face of the game and our industry in a meaningful way, so that it is reflective of the face of society, we must each set a specific agenda for how we will make the environment at our club or company significantly more diverse and inclusive, particularly from a talent perspective. Without changing the face of the industry’s talent (those on the frontlines of shaping and delivering the customer experience), we will not be able to change the face of who engages in our sport. Also, we will not keep pace with the changing face of America and where customers are investing their discretionary dollars.
- Conduct an Audit – Perform an audit within your organization that includes interviewing management about their opinions on diversity. Assess hiring, retention and promotion practices and demographics. Are there biases in these areas; real or unconscious? Seek to understand the diversity politics of your organization.
- Be Transparent – Don’t be afraid to openly admit that your organization may need work to build an inclusive environment. Transparency is important for inclusion, not just because the world has a clear lens via the Internet by which to see every leader’s move, but to develop an environment that fosters creativity, innovation and better operating results.
- Set the Agenda – Using specific purpose, detail out your plan. Take a very deliberate and focused approach, creating an agenda. What are your purpose and objectives across the operation? Include specific timeframes and expected outcomes.
- Set the Tone – As a leader within your organization, set the tone with your colleagues by making diversity and inclusion a regular topic of conversation. Discuss it as frequently and with the same focus as you afford other important topics, such as membership growth and retention. Your goal should be moving the team from awareness … to ownership of the change … to evolving your practices, and ultimately, enhancing the club’s culture.
- Get Uncomfortable – Everyone is at a different place on the spectrum of diversity and inclusion. No two people come from the same experience. Acknowledge that. Embrace it together. Celebrate differences, and allow them to serve as a rallying point for your effort.
- Wear Your "Diversity Lens" – Always look through your "diversity lens" when assessing the components of your business, big and small. Everyone will become more mindful and conscious of how they can be inclusive, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, age, ability, sexual orientation, physical ability, etc.
Diversity and inclusion is responsible business. And responsible business is how the next generation of businesses will win. If you want your organization to be truly inclusive, state it as a goal at the top of all of your agendas, and ensure your actions align with the intent you have declared. Then, conduct your business with real, purposeful intention at all times.
Sandy Cross is senior director of diversity and inclusion for the PGA of America and can be reached at (561) 624-8477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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