Supplier diversity initiatives are more effective when those leading them are dedicated to the organization’s best interests. This is true, be it corporate or government initiatives. Efforts do not work when a Supplier Diversity Manager (SDM) has grown too comfortable with their title, compensation, and office space. What does work for all? When leaders dare to lead. 

As Supplier Diversity Managers take a forward-facing approach to the development and integration of under-utilized providers for their supply chains, a decisive advantage is gained. When this happens, the company, community, and diverse businesses are all winners. 

But be clear, it takes motivated, knowledgeable managers who are committed to the challenge and the work it involves. They cannot be ‘yes’ men or women who fear rocking the boat. In fact, like all effective leaders, they must have the courage to take a well-vetted idea up the chain of command. There, it can be positioned and sold for the good of the organization. 

That is why having the right people in this key role matters. The dividends it pays are huge. Just ask the members of the elite Billion Dollar Roundtable. This is an organization of 20 US-based corporations whose companies are spending billions of dollars a year on procured goods and services from minority-, LGBT-, veteran- and women-owned businesses. How do they do it? They are motivated by the acceleration of change. This causes them to be solutions-driven on behalf of their company and the industry; ready to react or respond immediately.  

If your Supplier Diversity Manager is not acting with a sense of urgency, then they are effectively asleep at the wheel. Especially now, given that the country is embedded in a pandemic, social unrest, wildfires, and powerful storms.

So how do you know if your Supplier Diversity Manager is helping or hindering?

  • If your program has not moved from the status quo, you probably have a coaster. This is a person who is content to maintain the existing state of affairs.   
  • When you notice that your company accesses the same suppliers over and again without new entrants, you probably have a slacker.
  • If your firm is losing business or public trust, your SDM is likely not building community relationships and fostering brand credibility.
  • When you notice that your SDM cannot understand or respond to changes impacting customers, they are ineffective. 
  • If your SDM is not bringing up issues they are encountering on your behalf, they are likely burying information that will surprise you later.

Whether fearful, self-serving, or under-prepared, this SDM stands in the way of the progress their company can achieve.

Those who look after their company’s interest must face current realities while looking toward the future. Their job is to protect the organization from risk and to position it for growth. Is your company prepared in this way? 

Give your company the chance to operate at its full capacity with The Bellewether Solution.