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introducing change


Think globally, act locally: introducing change in a diverse world

IbyIMD+ Published 17 March 2022 in Management • 22 min read

Homosexuality is illegal in 70 countries and women’s rights virtually non-existent in many others. So how can multinational organizations ensure that their values are consistent globally?  Here we offer a way to understand local context while pushing for greater equity and inclusion. 

Every country has its own legacy of hurt. Every place has its history of exclusion, its discrimination, its web of attitudes and systems that fuel and justify marginalization. Every country has dominant and subordinate groups and unhealthy power structures. As I began work on rolling out diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives globally for Sodexo (the food services and facilities management company), I learned that one of my most important tasks was uncovering and seeking to understand those legacies. 

Identity — the way it shows up and even the ways we define it — can differ enormously from place to place. I learned that I needed to strike a balance between rolling out a global initiative with a universal vision while at the same time allowing enough flexibility for that vision to be contextualized and take root locally. By doing this, we were able to open space for effective insider-outsider partnerships — allowing outsiders like me and other leaders to…

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