Helen Green

Inclusive Leadership

‘Is this idea sufficiently innovative and high quality?’

Commenting on the BBC’s charter renewal, this is just one of the challenges which the culture secretary John Whittingdale laid out for the BBC’s commissioning editors. You might think it’s a question which all programme makers would automatically ask themselves, but it reflects a growing disquiet that the BBC may in the recent past have been chasing ratings rather than concentrating on providing quality programming.

Other areas highlighted by the culture secretary include the importance of promoting diversity; ensuring that output takes into consideration “under-served audiences, in particular those from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds, and those in the nations and regions.” The Culture Secretary’s words may have been aimed at the BBC but they could equally apply to many organisations.

Representing the customer base, promoting diversity, delivering quality; these are all prime considerations for any business leader, particularly in today’s marketplace. Businesses can no longer get away with producing output and hoping that it will resonate with the marketplace. Consumers are moving away from ‘being sold to’ and are now looking to have a say in the design and delivery of products which meet a real need. This in turn puts the onus on business leaders to move towards a more inclusive leadership approach which builds positively on the diversity of the customer base.

Inclusive leadership means seeing your customers as vital contributors towards the success of the organisation, it means acknowledging and respecting their diverse requirements, and it means creating something which resonates with those who use your services. That’s the challenge not just for the BBC but for all businesses in the years to come.