Dr. Mark Jones will the present at the Responsible Business Summit in San Diego, CA on October 10, 2019. His presentation is Diversity & Inclusion Keynote: Leading beyond the Financials. Jones will discuss how diversity, inclusion, and equity has been proven to link to long term financial success — but how does it link to implementing socially responsible business values? This keynote explores how to lead and deploy DI&E to achieve the business transformation required to implement socially responsible business values.
Dedicated to Diversity: Dr. Mark R. Jones
Today, it’s rare to read a business publication without running into the buzzwords “diversity, inclusion, and equity.” Yet these terms are so much more than buzzwords. They are vital principles to building a strong business, as Dr. Mark R. Jones, adjunct faculty at Antioch University Seattle, knows well. In addition to his teaching work at Antioch, Jones is a senior executive leader and consultant with more than 35 years of experience in leadership and organizational development. Working closely with organizations of all sizes, Jones focuses on performance optimization and change management, two areas where diversity comes into play quite frequently.
Diversity and Financial Success
Over the last 20 years, having a diverse workforce has been proven to help businesses succeed financially. “Companies in the top quartile for diversity, inclusion, and equity are significantly more likely to achieve financial returns above their respective national industry medians,” says Jones, citing research by Hunt, Layton, and Prince.
In his work as an organizational transformation consultant, Jones himself has generated over a billion dollars in cost savings and revenue generation, much of that through helping synergize relationships for better decision-making. For businesses eager to please their shareholders, this makes diversifying an obvious choice as far as economic strategy goes.
However, Jones urges organizations to consider reasons beyond the financials to diversify. He suggests they look to implementing socially responsible business values, rather than just traditional/economic business values, throughout their organization, and notes that diversity, inclusion, and equity are great places to begin this journey.
Leading Beyond the Financials
So what are socially responsible business values? Jones explains that they “rely more on relational-cultural (people-based) technologies and innovations than on physical-structural (machine/process-based) technologies and innovations.” This focus on people-based innovations invariably requires more interpersonal relationships, which come with their own emotions, conflicts, and intercultural misunderstandings or gaps.
To counteract these misunderstandings, Jones notes that “it is essential for business leaders to recognize what an intercultural gap is, recognize when it is occurring, use an appropriate diversity, inclusion, and equity approach to address it, and recognize what the observable outcomes should be.”
His decades of experience working with different corporations and organizations, combined with his research interest in leadership psychology, led Jones to create a roadmap of sorts to help leaders navigate these tricky issues and reach their desired outcomes as efficiently as possible.
After working with numerous different techniques to optimize organizational development, Jones created his own techniques, including the Emotional-Social-Cultural-Cognitive-Organizational (ESCCO) Development Theory and the Cultural Identity-Orientation Theory (CIOT). These techniques offer a paradigm for intercultural communication. They “codify key technical and relational efficiency and effectiveness elements required for achieving breakthrough levels of social cohesion and resiliency in the context of diversity, inclusion, and equity,” says Jones.
A Personal Fight
Jones’s interest in diversity, inclusion, and equity began when he was still a child. “My parents entrusted me to both Jewish and Native American mentors over the course of many years,” he says, and in middle school, he tutored other students of color, an act he considers the start of his formal commitment to diversity. As an undergraduate and beyond, he facilitated cultural exchanges for Japanese faculty and students, offering an immersion in American culture, along with the tools to make sense of the experience.
“Teasing out the observable behaviors of diversity, inclusion, and equity became my knowledge acquisition passion,” he says. “This evolved into investigating the deeper and more nuanced causes of the presence, or lack thereof, of behaviors of diversity, inclusion, and equity—and the scope to which they should be applied.” Over the next three decades, Jones would commit himself to diversity, equity, and inclusion as he participated in cultural exchanges and worked to remediate social injustice.
Since 2007, Jones has focused heavily on research, as he applied behavioral leadership psychology to diagnostic and intervention processes. This research led to his development of the ESCCO Developmental Theory and CIOT. These frameworks, says Jones, are key to achieving prosperity in businesses, organizations, and communities, and it’s this prosperity that he believes can best address diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Working with a think tank he co-founded in 2015, Jones says he is now focused on “developing new models and prototype implementations that address multicultural awareness and engagement, community prosperity, Beloved Community, holistic integrated mastery process, holistic education, and holistic individual and organizational health and wellness.” Between delivering intervention sessions using his frameworks and training his proteges to do the same, Jones is creating real change at businesses across the country and building a rich legacy of social justice while he’s at it.