by Scott A. Scanlon, Dale M. Zupsansky, Stephen Sawicki, and Will Schatz
Originally published: September 6, 2017
Those who step into a new job as chief diversity officer tend to carry a heavy load. Theirs is an increasingly vital role. The challenges they face are complex and the demands of the position are many, with pressure coming from all sides. Naturally, institutions want strong, well-versed leaders in this area. But diversity chiefs cannot succeed on their own, as a newly released report from executive search firm Witt/Kieffer makes abundantly clear.
The report, “The Critical First Year: What New Chief Diversity Officers Need to Succeed,” concludes that the most important factors in how new CDOs will fare have to do with the conditions in place within their organization and the expectations that their higher-ups and constituents have of them.
“CDOs are at the vanguard of cultural change, which isn’t an easy role to fill,” said the report. “They are human, not miracle-workers; there is no set portfolio to suit the task at hand, and no two institutions share the same degrees of readiness and willingness.”