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NCI Talk Lauds Diversity
The value of diversity and its critical role in America's business and organizational life was the topic of a recent talk given by Annette Merritt Cummings, national director of diversity services and vice-president of Bernard Hodes Group. The third in a series of NCI-sponsored talks called Diversity Grand Rounds, the presentation highlighted the business case for diversity and engaged audiences in Bethesda and Frederick with a futuristic look into organizational America.
Cummings set the tone with a slide featuring an optometrist's eye chart labeled: "Warning: The Future Is Always Closer Than It Appears." She addressed the changing demographics in America, highlighting the increase of the aging population, women and minorities, and discussed how those changing demographics will dramatically affect the workplace.
"Change before you have to," she said, emphasizing the importance of being proactive in adapting to new organizational realities. She noted that in response to changing demographics, organizational theory and practice are evolving to accommodate and ensure productivity in this new climate.
She pointed out that organizations are increasingly shifting their focus from valuing fixed assets to valuing intellectual capital. There is a growing realization that knowledge is a much more powerful organizational tool than machines and hardware. As well, organizations are realizing they must reward and foster creative thinking rather than encourage the mirroring of management's thinking.
Cummings said that because "78 percent of organizational assets are human," both the public and private sectors are increasingly investing in and developing the most important asset its people. In this new climate, human capital and diversity management are now more critical than ever.
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