managers and supervisors. Nielsen
worked with its outside contractor
to develop the program, “Cultural
Leadership—A Proactive Approach
to Workforce Diversity.”
Part of the program consists of a
90-minute video by Jane Elliot, a
former school teacher who devised
the famous “blue-eyes and brown-eyes” exercise with third-graders in
1968, a day after the Rev. Martin
Luther King Jr. was killed. Elliot
can be a better contributor to the
company regardless of the background of the customer, employee
or manager,” he says.
Tulin urges companies not to
market diversity training with words
such as “risk management,” “
sensitivity” and “morale boosting.”
Instead, he suggests emphasizing it
as part of a concerted effort to
“drive the CEO and organization’s
values, the company’s business mis-
The Best Behavior
Chubb started its diversity-training
initiative in 2004 for mid-level
managers on down. Kathleen P.
Marvel, chief diversity officer and
senior vice president for the insurance company, says the “Count Me
In” program isn’t about how race or
gender influence relationships and is
instead designed to focus on identifying behaviors that devalue others
and ways to correct those behaviors.
The program aims to reach
9,000 managers and
employees by the end of
“Some of the success sto-
ries we heard about later
had to do with people treat-
ing people differently and
using the listening tools pro-
vided in class so they could
recognize when they were
treating people in a devalu-
ing way, when they were excluding
people inadvertently,” Marvel says.
Diversity training is not new at
Sprint Nextel. When the company
still was Sprint, it hosted courses in
diversity and cultural awareness
through its University of Excellence.
But Edwards says this latest effort is
the newly merged entity’s first com-panywide initiative that is mandatory for all managers and executives.
Where past training initiatives
were not mandatory and were
focused on understanding differences,
the new diversity training focuses on
“how managers can take differences
in others and maximize those differences to get the best results,” Edwards
says. “It really took us beyond thinking about differences and made us
realize that we needed to value the
differences in others in order to have
a world-class organization.”
Another 6,500 managers are
required to take an eight-hour course
and have three follow-up meetings
with their employees to share what
“They could recognize when they
were treating people in a
devaluing way, when they were
excluding people inadvertently.”
Kathleen Marvel, The Chubb Corp.
showed the impact of discrimination
by making blue-eyed children inferior at first and then doing the same
with the brown-eyed children in a
“It is awareness where people
start to recognize for the first time
that they have prejudices and biases
and how they should address
them,” Salvato says. “We focus on a
change model that helps people
understand the only way you can
change behavior is changing how
people see things.”
sion and its ability to achieve the
strategic competitive advantage.
“One of the failures in organizations is when they separate diversity
training and don’t link it to best
practices in management, in teamwork, in sales and conflict resolution,” Tulin says.
of Comfort Zones
Diversity training “has to show how
you deal with people of diverse
backgrounds by overcoming biases
or comfort zones,” says David Tulin,
president and founder of Tulin
Diversi Team Associates. His company specializes in diversity coaching,
consulting, training and assessment.
“Once you get over the comfort
zones of who is like me, then you
1. What is the business reason?
It has to impact the bottom line.
2. Diagnose and determine key
areas that need focus. What is
the biggest problem?
3. Is there an implementation
strategy that involves training,
communication and ongoing
4. Develop accountability mechanisms, both for corporate leadership and individual employees.