Planning for the New World: A Q&A with Mark Atkinson
News 3rd September 2019 3 minutes read
Nicola Paul, Senior Consultant at Green Park’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics Consultancy, talks about cultural intelligence at Retail Week’s Be Inspired Senior Leadership Academy.
On 10th September, Green Park will be teaming up with Be Inspired to deliver the next Senior Leadership Academy (SLA) workshop at London’s Soho Hotel.
Nicola Paul, a diversity and inclusion (D&I) professional with a background in the retail and legal sectors plus a Master’s in Intercultural Communication, will be sharing her expert insight, with a session on inclusive leadership and cultural intelligence. “I’m really excited about it,” says Nicola, a former a senior leader in the John Lewis Partnership. “Having spent 17 years in Retail and now acting on the consultancy side, it’s great to have access to a platform that brings together leaders from across the retail industry so they can discuss crucial topics. Academy members bring a breadth of perspective and lived experience, which means they can share best practice and generate a wealth of practical insights.”
Green Park and Be Inspired
Be Inspired was introduced to promote gender balance at all levels across retail and encourage women to fulfil their career aspirations.
“The Senior Leadership Academy gives top female talent the exposure to a whole range of learning,” says Nicola. “The intention is for members of the academy to take the insights gained and apply them within their organisation, helping to excel in their careers and providing a competitive edge.”
Nicola is particularly enthused by the opportunities that a greater focus on diversity and inclusion (D&I) could bring to Retail: “Green Park has been investing heavily in D&I for years and we know what matters most to retailers. To succeed, they need to appreciate the UK’s diverse, multi-cultural society that makes up both consumers and the workforce. Those that take positive steps to understand both give themselves and their businesses an advantage in a highly competitive sector.”
Boosting cultural intelligence
The subject of Green Park’s workshop will be “Inclusive Leadership and Developing Cultural Intelligence”. And, according to Nicola, it’s a topic she’s seen an increased demand for within the leadership community.
“Too often people wait to be told what they need to do to help their business to be more diverse. Yes, there is an ecosystem of initiatives that will make a difference to D&I. However, it’s quite evident that people overlook their personal responsibility to be more inclusive and take the opportunity to explore different perspectives and different cultures as part of making an impact. Although I work in the field of culture every day, I still have to challenge myself as I will naturally gravitate to the subject areas that I’m most knowledgeable or comfortable with. That’s normal. It’s a bias towards elements of D&I strategy and no one, including executives, are immune from it. It means people can end up developing their knowledge of D&I through their own view of the world; leaning towards the more comfortable topics and sometimes shying away from those they may find more challenging. A higher level of cultural intelligence means people will be more effective when relating to people with different backgrounds to their own, which will aid inclusion. With a high level of curiosity and positive intent, over time, you can become a more culturally intelligent person.”
We hope that the audience will feel inspired to gain alternative perspectives and seek out experiences that may challenge their thinking. “It’s about helping leaders to immerse themselves in the experience of others,” says Nicola.
Jo Heath, Head of Green Park’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics Practice has witnessed the knock-on effects of lack of cultural intelligence herself. “Those that ignore today’s demography risk blinkered perspectives, missed opportunities and a drift into irrelevancy,” she says.
Green Park’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics Consultancy helps organisations to build knowledge, strengthen internal capabilities and lend support to develop a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.
To find out more about Green Park’s Diversity, Inclusion, Culture & Ethics Practice, visit our website: expertise/diversity-and-inclusion/