Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

National Guard diversity council recognized among nation's best

by Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill
National Guard Bureau

10/17/2012 - ARLINGTON, Va.  -- The National Guard Bureau's Joint Diversity Executive Council was recognized as one of the top 25 diversity councils in the country by the Association of Diversity Councils here last week.

"I couldn't be more proud of our Joint Diversity Executive Council being recognized this year," said Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph Lengyel, the vice chief of the National Guard Bureau.

The JDEC placed 14th for outstanding contributions and achievement that lead organizational diversity processes, according to the Association of Diversity Councils.

"Diversity is important to the National Guard simply because it makes us better," Lengyel said. "And, in today's military forces, we simply must leverage every advantage to be the best."

Under the guidance and direction of the chief of the National Guard Bureau, the JDEC, chaired by Air Force Brig. Gen. William Burks, the Nevada adjutant general, provides strategic policies and procedures with the objective of operationalizing diversity throughout the National Guard.

In its fourth year, the Diversity Council Honors Award recognizes and awards the outstanding contributions and achievements of diversity council groups that lead organizational diversity processes and demonstrate results in their workforce, workplace and marketplace. Councils complete and submit a comprehensive application demonstrating council contributions and achievements in four categories: results; management commitment; measurement and accountability, and communication and education.

According to the National Guard Bureau Policy on Diversity, diversity includes differences in characteristics, background, attributes and experiences. However, further expansion is essential to create a culture that fosters:

· Absolute respect for all people no matter their rank, function or position.
· Inclusion, engagement and management of talents to capitalize the potential power.
· Diversity in thoughts, ideas and perspectives to promote moral courage and trust.
· Confidence in equal opportunity for all.
· An independent mindset where collaboration is the standard.

Diversity councils effect cultural change by establishing processes and practices that are sustainable and coincide with the bottom line for the long term, according to the National Guard's "Leader's Guide to Diversity," which states that the responsibilities of diversity councils in the National Guard include:

· Aligning diversity with strategic goals.
· Integrating diversity into the fabric of the organization.
· Promoting fluid communication throughout the organization.
· Providing visionary strategies in the areas of recruitment, retention, engagement and productivity.
· Encouraging leadership development through diversity practices and processes.
· Improving mentoring relationships in force development.
· Increasing employee satisfaction.

Paralleling the National Guard Bureau's Joint Diversity Executive Council, the 54 states and territories and the District of Columbia have been establishing State Joint Diversity Councils.

Organizations such as the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute teach that diversity is more complex and more about the entire culture than merely satisfying a set of statistics, but metrics remain one important measure of success in diversity. According to the "Leader's Guide," some of the significant metrics in the National Guard include recruiting and retention, assignment patterns, awards and decorations, disciplinary data, training opportunities, evaluations, promotion boards, climate surveys, leadership diversity and involvement in diversity and lawsuits and complaints.

Last week's award was National Guard Bureau Joint Diversity Executive Council's first time appearing in the national Top 25 ranking.

Association of Diversity Councils officials cited the JDEC for bold moves on a national level, including expansion of the number of State Joint Diversity Councils from 28 in 2011 to 46 by May this year, with a goal of 54.

Among numerous examples, the association cited a wing commander who increased manning strength from 78 percent to 93 percent through diversity-related mission changes.

Among National Guard leaders accepting the award in addition to Lengyel were: Mr. Lou Cabrera, comptroller and director of administration and management; Army Brig. Gen. Marianne Watson, director of manpower and personnel; Air Force Brig Gen. James Witham, chief of staff of the California Air National Guard, and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Denise Jelinski-Hall, senior enlisted leader of the National Guard Bureau.

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