A successful approach to Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) doesn’t happen by accident and isn’t the result of good intentions, company picnics, or simply bylaws and processes. Organizations today require three critical elements with a strategic approach – we call them the 3 C’s:






(Of Action)

We can dive deeper into the 3C’s by defining the critical success factors of DE&I:

  • Leadership Commitment

    “Is leadership doing this?” We get this question all the time. Leadership can approve a D&I effort and individuals will comply. Leadership commitment manifests in three ways: Define success. Declare success. Demonstrate success. When leaders lead, organizations follow.

  • Wide Involvement

    When each person plays their role in the success of an engagement, they become more likely to play their role in success beyond that engagement. It may seem obvious, but be sure your inclusion initiatives are inclusive.

  • Management Accountability

    Management must understand and be expected to demonstrate that leadership in business means leadership of people.

  • Tangible Measurements

    There are concrete benefits to focusing on diversity & inclusion. Make sure stakeholders see the business value from where they sit. Then, articulate clearly what success looks like individually and organizationally.

  • Cultural Competence

    Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively across lines of difference. Whether the goal is expand into new markets, recruit best talent, or foster innovation, cultural competence is a positive differentiator. Culturally competent organizations have a competitive advantage because they have culturally competent people doing their work in a culturally competent way.

  • Role Clarification

    Wide involvement is critical, but requires role clarification. Individuals need to understand for what and to whom they are responsible.

  • Weighted Input

    Understanded that directly affected or relevant groups will have potentially valuable insight. If you’re talking about millennials, for example, it’s important that there are some millennials “at the table”.

  • Varied Approaches

    Across business units and over time, varied approaches may be appropriate. There is no one way to achieve success. Engagements and strategies must be tailored to specific circumstances.


  • Sustainable Infrastructure

    By making sustainable infrastructure a part of an initiative, organizations ensure that they maintain the ground they gain and march forward from there.

  • Healthy Debate

    Healthy debate fosters innovation, reaching answers together that would never have been reached alone.

Where to go next:

Explore this, too:

Executive Commitment

is crucial for your success. Learn how we can help.

Skip to content