Creating Internal Champions in Your Company

2/18/2014

But what do we mean when we say internal champions? Internal champions, or internal coaches, are typically employees connected to the internal politics of decision making but who also plan and execute the business strategy in order to successfully promote and service their business.

These people are of great value in growing a company and expanding its inclusivity and diversity.

Here’s what we know about internal champions and inclusive leadership:

  1. Developing internal champions is resource consuming. Time is money, after all.
  2. Global audiences need someone to “tell their story”
  3. Cultural competency is must
  4. Training is a must

When seeking out and developing internal champions of inclusivity, organizations need to find someone who is truly interested in culture and cultural competency – someone who recognizes the essential need for being adaptive and culturally competent. Internal champions of diversity should never believe that culture is just common sense, or that just because they’ve travelled the world they understand culture. They also should not confuse cultural competence with “just being friendly.” They need to understand the profound effects culture has on individuals and organizations, and how this can lead to the success or failure of a project.

There can be more than one internal champion of inclusiveness in an organization. The more the merrier! Internal champions may include people in the Sales, R&D, Engineering, Legal, Finance, Management, HR, Manufacturing departments.

Importantly, those seeking out internal champions of inclusiveness must make sure that being an internal champion is a “win” for them, too.

Cheryl Williams