A major employer located in downtown Detroit was experiencing a
changing clientele for the second time in its stellar history. It already
successfully adjusted itself from a predominantly white clientele to one
that was almost 90% African-American but now he found the need to
adjust its model to one servicing almost equal parts of African-American,
Hispanic and
Middle Eastern cultures with a small minority of whites.

The employer want to make sure that all staff members understood how
members of the new cultures would react to the current policies and
procedures. It was important to them to change the way they do
business without running afoul of any laws in their highly regulated
business sector.

They felt they needed an expert so they called in Dr. Max, an
experienced diversity consultant. Soon a doctor-like approach was
begun to find the underlying causes that emphasize the need to address
situation, diagnose the root causes behind those symptoms and then
prescribe a solution for a long lasting impact.

Here is what that medical approach to the business situation discovered:

The Symptoms.
Employees were beginning to feel awkward in dealing with specific
cultural issues unique to the new ethnicities. Human resources was
dealing with employees felt an adequate to properly address the way new
customers are reacting to establish policies. At the same time there was
a rising complaints from customers who felt mistreated using the same
tactics that have been in practice for many years.

While senior staff members had experienced the first shift in ethnicity
many had forgotten the experience of working with new cultures.
Furthermore many had never looked at diversity as anything other than a
black-and-white issue. To them diversity was only a matter of skin color.

Stereotypical views of the new minorities were common and had been
shaped by the media instead of personal experience.

The Diagnosis.
The entire staff needed to address the situation with a shared
understanding and blended approach so as not to disturb the
relationships of current African-American clientele while reaching out to
the new customer base that was developing.

The racial approach that had worked the first time would not work again
as ethnic and religious components were important this time.

Diversity training alone, if properly presented, would provide the staff
with what they needed to effectively manage the business shift to the
new patrons. However traditional diversity training, which is designed to
get people to tolerate each other, would not have the long-term effects
that management needed.

The Prescription.
A training program was developed to first approach the complexity of
the elements of everyone’s character. Over 20 separate elements were
identified that could easily be related to every individual that would
undergo training. The simply training on these differences that every
human being shares would not have been effective.

“People need to understand who they are before they can understand
why others have developed different beliefs and traditions,” says Max
Impact. “Understanding others is very difficult until you understand
yourself.”

Once materials had been developed a nucleus of employees across all
departments attended the sessions. They quickly became very popular as
a sessions were fun and had application both on and off the job.

Future Prognosis.
Once the program was completed customer retention levels increased
and employee stress and turnover decreased.

“I really did not think I would learn anything through this program,” said
one participant. “I thought I knew who I was but was horribly mistaken.
Understanding my background as an African-American baby boomer
really made me understand and appreciate the differences of the younger
employees with whom I work.”

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"Dr. Max" shares his success stories by looking at the symptoms of a
business problem or opportunity, his diagnosis of same, his prescription
for success, and the prognosis for the future. For more case studies,
click here.

©2016 Max Impact, Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA
Customer ethnicity
change