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

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,
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©2016 Max Impact, Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA
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