In Our Book The Kimberly Lindsay Rule Trumps The Rooney Rule: The Power of Intention When it Comes to Hiring Military Talent

The NC4ME Military Employment Summit was focused on increasing the number of ex-military personnel hired by companies in North Carolina. In the key takeaways from the event there were powerful messages that all can learn from when it comes to the power of our intentions around diversity and inclusion.

If you’ve ever worked with a life or executive coach, or achieved a long held goal, the power of intention is likely to be familiar to you. In Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, he sums it up perfectly; “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.”

We seem to be looking at diversity and inclusion as a problem to be fixed instead of as an opportunity to be realized. This is a subtle but powerful change in both perspectives and intentions when it comes to realizing the full potential that diverse and inclusive environments can have on results.

More and more we find that reports about the lack of diversity and inclusion in various industries have the tone of one-upmanship, a competition to beat the next guy, or gal, when it comes to which company is most transparent, faster at reporting results, best at changing the ratio etc. This could been seen as healthy competition but it becomes boring quickly. In addition, the approach creates a burden effect which drains energy for all involved.

At GapJumpers we prefer positive energy and momentum to move things along. This is one of the reasons we were impressed with the movement that is NC4ME and their focus on the difference that the power of our intention can have when it comes to making the potential of diversity and inclusion a reality.

The mission of NC4ME is a four pillar approach. The specifics below are focused on hiring military talent but can be mirrored by anyone focused on diversity and inclusion. The best part is that they can be easily applied to hiring any under-represented group.

The four pillars specific to NC4ME are as follows:

Educate NC business leaders on the value of hiring a military workforce,

Teach HR professionals how to hire military personnel,

Train small businesses how to hire military, and

Connect military talent to open jobs, education, and training opportunities.

The aim of Kimberly Lindsay, Executive Director of NC4ME, and Ilario Pantano, Director of NC Division of Veteran Affairs, is to use each pillar to change preconceived notions about an often untapped talent pool; military veterans.

These days it is not unusual for companies to find a significant portion of their employees via employee referral programs. In fact Intel recently doubled their employee referral incentive in order to encourage employees to help them hire more women and underrepresented minorities.

Ilario Pantano pointed out why that is unlikely to help when it comes to hiring veterans. He called it the elephant in the room while addressing the audience.

“Veterans represent a very small percentage of our society today. In 1980, 59% of the CEO’s [in the US] were veterans. Today it is eight percent. In 1980 a significantly higher percentage of the population were military veterans. Today in North Carolina more than half of our veteran population is over 60 and has already aged out of the workforce. If you aren’t a veteran, if you don’t know a veteran maybe you aren’t so inclined to hire a veteran.”

[We captured a portion of Ilario’s presention on Periscope so you can watch more here.]

If you aren’t ____________, if you don’t know a ____________ maybe you aren’t so inclined to hire a _____________. Fill in your blank of choosing and you have one of the reasons that employee referral programs have contributed to a lack of diversity and inclusion in companies.

The power of intention involves first changing the way that we think about something. This in turn changes the way that we act. The combination of how we think and how we act is what drives change. Kimberly and Ilario have built this into their public-private outreach aimed at increasing the percentage of military talent hired and promoted in North Carolina.

We all have an opportunity to use our awareness of some of the causes for not yet fully realizing the potential of diverse and inclusive workplaces and communities. We also have the opportunity to change not only how we are thinking about diversity and inclusion but to also take more meaningful action to intentionally do things differently.

What made the NC4ME Military Employment Summit stand out for us was the fact that each speaker first stated the case for the opportunity that is to be realized by hiring military talent.

We heard from Brigadier General Kenneth Beard, Assistant Adjutant General-Sustainment, NC National Guard, about the benefits to be realized from hiring and supporting military talent.

Hard to argue with the fact these are all desirable qualities.

Secretary John Skvarla of the North Carolina Dept. of Commerce pointed out that something as simple as a mix-match in nomenclature, between corporate and military job descriptions, is one of the key reasons for military talent being untapped. A simple fix if the intention is there.

We have written before about the fact that we love to see things move from discussion towards action and the NC4ME Military Employment Summit did not disappoint.

Each person in attendance was asked to take the power of their intention beyond just thinking differently about military talent and to take meaningful action in the form of a pledge of commitment.

Kimberly Lindsay closed the event by asking each person to consider committing to adding a military veteran to every hiring or promotion pool. We’re calling this the Kimberly Lindsay Rule in response to the recent focus on the Rooney Rule which Facebook recently committed to and the similar Wilson Rule that Xerox recently recommitted to focusing on. Both the Rooney and Wilson rules state that there should be a female and a minority candidate for each leadership promotion slate.

The Kimberly Lindsay rule goes one step further and asks that each of us have the intention of being more aware of adding military talent to both our hiring and promotion slates. This is one powerful intention that we look forward to supporting.

This is what our pledge to commitment looked like:

What will your pledge of commitment look like? We’d love to hear from you, follow us @GapJumpers and subscribe to our weekly Diversity Agenda newsletter featuring the best reads of the week. Like to know how our blind auditions can help you to realize the potential of untapped talent? Request a demo. In 30 minutes we can share what we are doing and learn more about what you are doing as well. We are all about a win/win approach and helping you to be successful when it comes to achieving your talent acquisition goals.