Diversity consulting seems to be a big deal these days. Is this something I should add to my Organizational Development practice even if I am not a minority?
There are four aspects of your response that warrant comment. First, it is rarely a productive strategy to get into a consulting market just because it is hot. Entering a new market should be because it fulfills an important aspect of your existing strategy. Otherwise you are chasing butterflies.
Second, you refer to your ethnicity as an issue that might preclude your effectiveness in this service. Diversity consulting is often associated primarily with ethnicity because this has been the subject of regulation and high-visibility academic research. However, the essence of diversity includes culture, age, gender, etc. as well. While your own background contributes to your perspective, not being a cultural or ethnic minority does not preclude your being an effective diversity consultant.
Third, diversity management as a strategy is a big deal because organizations are finally realizing how powerful a strategic advantage it can be. Diversity has always had tremendous power; it has just not been applied as much as it could have been.
Finally, the value of diversity is not just for your clients. It can apply to your own practice, even if you are a solo practitioner. Every experience that exposes you to new people, places, cultures, even consulting practices, gives you a broader and richer perspective on which to draw. Tip:
Make strategic diversity of your own practice an element in your next strategic planning initiative. Bring in as advisors other consultants and clients who can look at your strategy from a different angle. Then include in your professional development plan activities that expose you to an appreciation of new ways of looking at, and seeing, a more diverse world.© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA