“First and foremost, lead the charge. Demonstrate publicly that you know and appreciate the importance of diversity. Second, drive the message down through the ranks of your organization. Give the day-to-day managers the support and resources they need to be successful in managing diversity. Third, have a plan. There should be a business plan on what will be done, when it will be done, and who will be responsible for doing it. Fourth, develop a system of accountability. Know who will be required to explain the success or failure of the diversity initiatives and reward them accordingly.”
Morgan Stanley’s commitment to diversity, as explained by Chairman and CEO Philip J. Purcell, is driven by the proposition that “diversity is important because, as a firm, we are only as effective as the people we employ. Different perspectives allow us to retain our competitive edge and to provide the best service possible to our clients.”
Mr. Purcell clearly links the company’s commitment to diversity with its commitment to business success. For a diversity initiative to be successful, he says, “it must be treated like every other business initiative, and it must be tied to the bottom line. We are a service business and our business succeeds or fails on the strength of our people.”
Pursuing Morgan Stanley’s goal to “be our clients’ first choice” for financial services, “the firm must stay focused on being at the forefront of all critical business initiatives, including diversity,” said Mr. Purcell.
This personal and professional commitment to diversity as a critical business imperative at the CEO level allows Morgan Stanley to set realistic and measurable goals around diversity as a core value for organizational success.
While Mr. Purcell encourages diversity initiatives in every part of his company, he recognizes that “our biggest challenge is that we are a results-oriented culture, where people expect immediate, tangible outcomes. That doesn’t always happen—whether pursuing business initiatives or diversity initiatives.”
He advises his senior management to “be patient and stick to your game plan. To sustain your diversity momentum, you must have a long-term focus. Change may not always occur instantaneously. Successful diversity initiatives are evolutions—a continuous process of change and development.”
Mr. Purcell’s commitment to diversity is especially tangible in Morgan Stanley’s legal department. Donald Kempf, Morgan Stanley’s chief legal officer, credits Mr. Purcell’s leadership for the favorable recognition the firm’s diversity initiatives have received in recent years. “Phil has shown the way. And not with rhetoric, but with action,” said Mr. Kempf.