We started Part I (leadership, read it here), by noting that we see companies and organizations writing heartfelt posts and emails, first during the pandemic, and now because of the racial wounds hurting the nation. Initially, I kept my own feelings confined to a circle of family and friends. As important as these issues are, they didn’t seem relevant to my data and coaching work.
But the realization dawned that the two most important things to me here at StudioC, leadership and data, are key to being part of the solution. Today in part II, the focus is on data.
Why data? I think about these type of issues in terms of The Pool. We already know some things. Women and people of color are underrepresented in many areas of society. Corporate boardrooms, the judiciary and legislatures. CEOs and professors; the list goes on. But when we start working together on what to DO about these issues, I believe it’s helpful to look at the data and see where the biggest source of the imbalance starts.
For example, anything we look at involving women and men should be split about 50/50, because that’s how we split in the population. Same with African American, but at about 12%. So any time that’s different, SOMETHING is going on. Not automatically bad, malicious or intentional, but SOMETHING. Let’s look at our nation’s judiciary as just one example. It should be about half women. But data shows at the state and federal level, women hold a third or so of judicial positions. That’s a big enough difference that it’s unlikely to be random or within a margin of error.
So where does the pool come in? You start looking upstream in any process. From where are judges drawn, and how are women represented there? How’s the balance in law schools, and the universities that feed the best law schools?
Or look at prison populations as another example. At the federal level, about 38% of inmates are African American, far outpacing the 12% you would expect if the diversity reflected our society.
Once you let the data show you where the problems start to build, it can guide you to the areas with the largest potential for change.
This holds for all sorts of social issues we face. Corporate leadership, prison populations, health outcomes, and the list goes on. Looking at the data is a great place to help get started on working to make things better.