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The New York Times “Corner Office” column has an interview with Julie Sweet, CEO for North America at consulting firm Accenture, in which she talks about, among other issues, diversity.

Sweet started out as a lawyer, working for the old-school law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where there were just two women partners when she started; eventually, she became the ninth woman partner at the firm. (Now, Cravath has 25 percent women partners.)

"I don’t think it’s rocket science,” she says. “ You first have to decide if diversity is a business priority. If it is, then you need to treat it like a business priority. You set goals, have accountable leaders, you measure progress, and you have an action plan. If you do those four things, you will make progress. We did a recent study and the stats were pretty shocking. Forty percent of companies don’t even have a plan to advance leadership. Less than 40 percent look at attrition between men and women. They’re not collecting data. You can look at that with disappointment, or you can say there’s a huge opportunity here. By putting in place pretty basic things, you should be able to make progress … At Accenture, we set goals. We set our first goal in 2015 to hire 40 percent women. In 2025, our goal is to be at 50/50 gender parity across the organization and then, for the managing director level, it’s 25 percent women. That’s a pretty big shift in 10 years.”
KC's View:
I think it is fair to say that there is a connection between disruption and diversity - companies that need to act differently in a changing world to appeal to a changing customer also need to identify and nurture leaders who see the world and customer differently.

Sweet addresses this in the interview, saying that Accenture “used to be the safe pair of hands who delivered big projects, but we were not the ones saying, ‘Here’s where you go next.’ Now, we are the ones going to clients and saying, ‘The world’s being disrupted around you. We’re going to co-innovate with you. And by the way, when you come up with the solutions, we’re going to be able to deliver them because we understand the enterprise and scale’.”