Having a CTO diversity promotion/hire is an awful mistake!

I don't often speak about my experience with big corporate CTOs for obvious reasons, but I feel I have to speak up about the "diversity patterns" I have now noticed!

I have seen this a few times now in corporations:

A corporation of mainly white, middle aged men executives, for various reasons realises that they need to show that they are inclusive and diverse.

They decide to promote or hire a white woman CTO, or a black wo/man CTO.

The more visible the "diverse" part of the person, the better. If they had a not visible disability, it probably wouldn't "count".

Then, as they're now with them in the CSuite, they realise that this person (guess what!?...) thinks differently and acts differently to them (i.e. has a different view and approach), and now they start ganging up against the "diverse hire/promotion" CTO.


They promote them internally to the C Suite but don't share anything about what the expectations are at THIS LEVEL and in this new role... and then sit and watch as they crash and burn!

Not because women or "diversity hire" men are not good enough to add value to the cSuite, but because they were set up for failure.

NOT on purpose, NOT because they want them to fail, just because they are so used to running things this way for years, they don't realise that being inclusive doesn't mean "just hire someone who's different, who is not like the rest of your CSuite".

Being inclusive means giving them EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES TO SUCCEED which means:

✓ telling them about what success looks like, what the culture of the group is, what are the expectations, tips and advice on the personality and experience of each of the CSuite members

✓ being comfortable with looking at and doing things differently

✓ being comfortable with uncomfortable conversations and friction because you have now a new perspective at the table that you haven't considered before

✓ support from an independent coach or advisor that can help them find their way of succeeding as a CTO in this CSuite.

Don't hire someone to show "look, we're inclusive, we're diverse" and then expect them to just blend in, and therefore stop being diverse!

If you are that corporate CTO who feels out of place, even if you are a white middle aged male (sometimes you won't fit in either if you think differently than the rest of the CSuite), you are not alone! It just feels that way!

Just 15% of chief technology officers or CTOs at FTSE 100 firms are women (CodinGame, 2020).

Are we really surprised at this number!?

#cto #ceo #diversity #corporate #reengineeringleadership



Adelina Chalmers a.k.a The Geek Whisperer

Helps Engineers who are Leaders (CEO/ CTO/ VP) get buy-in from their peers/teams/investors by transforming Communication techniques into Algorithms