Diversity is a fact - inclusion is a choice

A fly-on-the-wall view of how Mike Coupe started a culture change at Sainsbury’s.

by René Carayol

In the days following the tragic murder of George Floyd my mobile was constantly vibrating with requests for assistance from white, middle-class, middle-aged chairmen and CEOs that I had lots of time and respect for. 

They felt pushed by their colleagues to initiate a much sought-after conversation about race in their respective businesses, but were not confident on how to go about it.

They were paralysed by the fear of saying the wrong thing. I found myself performing supportive and reassuring 15-minute Zoom based coaching sessions, one after another. I encouraged them to get going and not worry about being perfect, because everyone would get their intent and just to be prepared to apologise for any slip ups. The only mistake, I said, was the one you don’t learn from.

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