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 you’ve eliminated the position! Woke-washing at its finest.

Steps to Quickly Disappear Your CDO

  1. Rig the reporting structure. Make sure your CDO reports to anyone except the CEO. The further away they are from the CEO, the less they will be able to accomplish. This will make firing them for nonperformance a no-brainer. Best if they report to an unpaid intern.
  2. Under-compensate. This role is so coveted that CDOs are being poached left and right. If you’re paying them under $200,000 a year, they will most certainly be looking elsewhere. Stay in the $25,000-$75,000 range for maximum insult capacity.
  3. Deny staff and budget. If your CDO is an island unto themselves, they won’t have the people power or financial means to accomplish anything substantive. No budget means no high quality training from external experts, no access to world-class speakers and thought leaders, and no consultative or coaching support of any kind. Like any other functional corporate department, lack of infrastructure and support virtually guarantees failure. Score!
  4. Hoard data. Don’t disclose lawsuits, HR complaints, and exit interviews that reveal past and present employees’ diversity related concerns. If your CDO isn’t equipped with the facts and the history of trust gained and lost between leadership and staff, they will fly in the darkness and be undermined at every turn. This is perfect for pushing your CDO out of their position. It helps establish them as the enemy.
  5. Bait and switch. Make them think they will have power to shape the diversity initiative during the interview process, then shift gears once they have been promoted or hired. Cut them off in meetings. Don’t heed their advice and expertise. Don’t welcome their input or opinions. This will place them in a defensive and defenseless stance that will have them seeking greener pastures in no time. A silent CDO is a compliant CDO. Compliance will help you maintain the precious status quo.
  6. Dodge metrics. Do not allow your new CDO to measure anything. Metrics provide a foundation for accountability. So avoid surveys, dashboards, data collection and data analysis at all costs. Once the CDO defines the inclusion challenges, they may try to actually fix them. Just say no to metrics and data so you can fly under the radar. If they manage to access and interpret archival data — deny, deny, deny. Just insist that it’s all fake news and you can avoid any responsibility for corrective action.

If you do any or as many of these as possible, you will feel justified in terminating the CDO position because they didn’t accomplish anything meaningful. Again, your CDO will be looking elsewhere under these circumstances, which is just as well for your organization. If you set your Chief Diversity Officer up for failure from the start, you can still say you tried and put off the diversity work for another few years while you focus on profits over people.

#satire #jk #truthinhumor

Non-binary Best-Selling Author, Bias Hunter, B Corp Founder, TEDx, Top 100 Speaker, Skier, Pleasure Activist, Blue-Haired Maverick

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