Ann Francke's message to President Trump: fewer "baby boomer billionaire white men", more humility

20 January 2017 -


Ann Francke today warns President Donald Trump to avoid the “Groupthink” that is the root cause of leadership failure

Matthew Rock

CMI chief executive Ann Francke today reminds the incoming US president that the most successful organisations and societies are diverse ecosystems in which many voices are represented.

Speaking on BBC News, Francke said that Donald Trump “looks at America as America Inc, and he’s the CEO” and that he has appointed “the least diverse Cabinet since Ronald Reagan.”

Citing the Airmic Roads to Ruin report, which analysed the 20 major corporate crises of previous decade, Francke pointed out that the largest “corporate implosions” have as their root cause a lack of genuine diversity among their leadership.

Mckinsey reinforced this in its Diversity Matters study of 366 public companies, which found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians; companies with the greatest gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform their industries.

“If Trump is to become a successful President, then he needs to lead and identify with what is one of the most diverse – and successful – countries in the world,” says Francke. “President Trump has professed his vision of running the US government like a business. But businesses suffer if there is no diversity in the management team.”

The predominance of “baby boomer billionaire white men” in Trump’s announced Cabinet “doesn't augur well for a government genuine in its ability to empathise with those born less white, less male, less rich and post baby boom,” she says.

“There's a reason this should make us very nervous. It's a textbook example of ‘Groupthink' – identified as a root cause of the largest business failures of this century. The risks here transcend the economic; they include social, political and military ramifications as well.

“This is a chilling reminder of the risks we face in this Trump version of stewardship and governance.”

In her BBC interview, Francke also commented on President Trump’s leadership behaviour, observing that effective leaders are prepared to admit to mistakes which, in turn, can inspire their workforce. “You don’t get much of that from Donald Trump,” said Francke, “he’s not particularly humble.”

Here are more insights from CMI into the MoralDNA of effective leaders.

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