The Importance of Diversity in Business:
In today's ever expanding global market place an understanding of diversity is perhaps more important than ever. Knowing your organization's attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors about diversity can lead to greater business success.

Workplace Discrimination Facts:
In Fiscal Year 2006 the EEOC received the following number of discrimination charges, and recovered the following monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals.

· Age Discrimination = 16,548 charges/$51.5 million recovered.

· Disability Discrimination = 15,575 charges/$48.8 million recovered.

· National Origin = 8,327 charges/$21.2 million recovered.

· Racial Discrimination = 27,238 charges/$61.4 million recovered.

· Religious Discrimination = 2,541 charges/$5.7 million recovered.

· Sex-based Discrimination = 23,247 charges/$99.1 million recovered.

· Sexual Orientation Discrimination -Studies conducted since the mid-1990s found that 15% - 43% of LGB respondents experienced discrimination in the workplace. (8%-17% were fired or denied employment; 10%-28% were denied a promotion or given negative performance evaluations; 7%-41% were verbally/physically abused or had their workplace vandalized; and 10%-19% reported receiving unequal pay or benefits.)

· 15% - 57% of transgender people also report experiencing employment discrimination.

Workplace Diversity Facts:

· According to Harvard Business School professors Robin Ely and David Thomas, the benefit of diversity alone, done right, pays off not just in a better company, but a more productive one.

· Ultimately, the strength of commitment by a company’s leadership will determine whether the organization successfully leverages workplace diversity for competitive advantage.

The State of Diversity Today:
Data collected by the EEOC reveals that there was an increase in workplace discrimination from FY 2005-2006. For example Diversity Inc. reports that “Since October 2006, the number of noose sightings has steadily risen to more than 40 reported incidents.”

Some experts blame this change in the diversity climate on changes in the economy, noting that when the economy is teetering individuals may look for scapegoats. Others see it as a predictable backlash to the previous climate of increased diversity. Many say it is a combination of both.

Cultural Competence:
Fortunately for their bottom line many organizations, perhaps yours, have made diversity an important aspect of their overall strategic plan and mission. However, diversity alone does not equal cultural competence. Cultural competence is the ability to effectively relate to and communicate with people within and outside your organization from diverse ethnic, racial, cultural, economic, social, and linguistic backgrounds.

Becoming culturally competent is a dynamic process between leadership, employees and customers that requires cultural knowledge and skill development at all service levels, including strategic planning, policymaking, administration, and practice.

To be most effective Diversity Initiatives must:
· Clearly Define Their Mission
· Remain Relevant
· Convey Their Relevance to the Company
· Be Culturally Competent
· Be Resilient in Changing Climates
· Be Stategic and Proactive in their Approach

Achieving Your Mission:
Achieving your goals and Mission (Vision of Success) takes strategic planning, organization, and skills development. An Organizational Consultant can help strengthen and increase the effectiveness of your Diversity Initiative as a part of your overall Strategic Plan.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Cutts is the CEO of Cutts Consulting, LLC and its subsidiary, Vision Quest Retreats www.cuttsconsulting.com & www.visionquestretreats.com

For over 10 years Nicole Cutts, Ph.D., licensed Clinical Psychologist, Success Coach, and Organizational Consultant has been inspiring and empowering people to achieve a more balanced and successful lifestyle. Dr. Cutts has consulted with and trained executives, managers, and teams at Fortune 500 Companies, Federal Government Agencies, and Non-Profit Organizations. As a master facilitator and Success Coach, she helps people create an exceptional life by honoring their mind, body, and spirit so they can experience joy, passion, meaning, and ultimate success in their work.

Dr. Cutts is a featured writer on the Walter Kaitz Foundation website and has been a contributing writer for Identity Television, The Next Level, and The Diversity Channel, where she was also the Senior Features Editor. She sits on the D.C. Bar Association Lawyer’s Counseling Committee and the Board of the Student Support Center. She has appeared on BET’s The Center, the BBC, Roland Martin’s, Urban Business Roundtable and various radio programs. She has co-authored and published several articles in scientific and literary journals. Her writings on Corporate Wellness, Success Coaching, and Diversity have appeared on several Chamber of Commerce and business websites.