How to Lose a Chief Diversity Officer in 6 Months
Optimizing performative inclusion for maximum (Wall)Street cred
In order to avoid corporate Blackwashing after the Antiracist summer of 2020, your company decided to hire a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). Marketing was thrilled to plaster their brown face all over social media as part of the corporate wokeness media campaign. The CDO salary was more than you wanted to pay, but leadership insisted that since everyone else was hiring diversity leadership, you should, too.
Hiring a person of color for a diversity leadership position is a great idea. I know some highly qualified CDOs who can’t get hired because they are too white for business’ Linkedin check-out-our-new-BIPOC-executive campaign. It’s important to be insufficiently prepared for your new CDO hire if you want to get them in and out fast. Be sure to ignore any concern for their personal well-being because the role of Chief Diversity Officer was always hard. It just became infinitely more complicated when antiracism became the topic du jour. This is great news for folks looking for some quick-and-easy performative inclusion.
Asking someone to help an organization optimize inclusion during the ‘before times’ was challenging enough. Expecting a person of color to navigate a conversation that humanity has been woefully unskilled at, while managing their own racial trauma, borders on cruelty. Cruelty is a great motivator for people to opt off the island expeditiously. There has been no established template for success in the role of Chief Diversity Officer. Companies are hiring and promoting CDOs at a rapid fire pace, yet few of them actually know precisely what they want these executive leaders to accomplish. This reality will help you exit your CDO rapidly and with cause. Since most organizational leaders just want someone to fill the role and accomplish nothing beyond window dressing, this will be a walk in the park.
If your goal is to score the coveted LinkedIn, tokenized, brown face, CDO hiring victory — then follow the steps below to lose that same person within 6 to 12 months. Whether you fire them for nonperformance or they resign voluntarily, the results will be the same. The good news is that you never have to post that the job is no longer occupied or that…