While most general counsel and chief legal officers have
acknowledged the importance of diversity, many have relied
on the promotion of overly general concepts of inclusion
and cyclical initiatives to overcome implicit bias within their
departments—with limited success on the whole. To advance
diversity and inclusion more effectively, legal department
leaders should now go further and take direct, systemat-
ic, measurable steps toward building a lasting culture of
We believe the hallmark of inclusion is a culture in which
everyone is equally well-positioned to succeed because leadership has taken the steps required for individual initiative
to flourish. This requires that leaders manage each of the
three drivers of initiative: empowerment, transparency and
At the root of the inclusion problem are three commonly
1. A lack of clarity around what is authorized and expected.
2. A lack of transparency about how things really work.
3. A lack of available information about what is going on.
When an imbalance occurs in any of these matters, those
“in the know” or “on the inside” are better positioned to
succeed and implicit bias can do great harm by limiting
“who knows what.” In contrast, the execution of a leadership
paradigm that positions everyone equally well to succeed in
taking initiative necessarily diminishes the impact of implicit
bias because most of what is important to know is well-understood by all team members.