October 26, 2021

In the latest installment of Inside Your Brand, host Daniel Fellows was joined by special guest Dr. Karl George MBE – a thought leader, author, and internationally established consultant in governance whom he described as “a knight at the realm!”

As for Dr. Karl, he introduced himself to listeners as “the guy that sometimes gets called the governor and not in a Guy Ritchie gangster kind of way but in an all things governance! I am the guy who gets boards looking at how they operate, to make sure they operate correctly [...] and get the best out of their organisations.”

It transpired that Dan and Dr. Karl had connected through Get-Optimal’s non-executive chairman, Gary Elden, via a new RACE code that draws together over 200 recommendations outlined in reports, charters, and pledges which aim to tackle diversity and inclusion challenges.

The code caught Dan’s eye “because it’s one of the core principles and motivations of what we do at Optimal,” said the founder and CEO of Get-Optimal.

Developed by Dr. Karl following the death of George Floyd in the United States and the global Black Lives Matter campaign, the code provides one set of standards and an overarching accountability framework based on current laws, codes, and best practice.

Dr. Karl commented: “Real change only happens when you are able to influence leadership – the board and executive management – and hold organisations to account. So, the focus of the RACE Code is firmly on how we deal with race inequity in the boardrooms and senior leadership teams of the UK.”

He continued: “Organisations need to look at four key areas when thinking about RACE equality – Reporting, Action, Composition, and Education.

“First companies need to report on what they are doing. They need to have definable actions and be accountable for what they are going to do. Then we have C for Composition. We need to find out what the data is telling us about different demographics in an organisation. Everyone has different experiences.

“Finally it’s about education. How do we make sure people are educated in the right way – and I don’t mean going on a training course. It’s about creating psychologically safe environments for everyone to thrive and feel included and have a belonging.”

Early adopters of the RACE code include around “25 NHS organisations, housing organisations, and chambers of commerce,” shared Dr. Karl.

Dan was curious to know as to whether “People are adopting DE&I programmes and initiatives from a compliance approach or because they really understand the need to create more equitable hiring and a more inclusive working environment?

Dr. Karl replied: “You’re right Daniel. It does take a commitment. It's not a quick fix. We want to make people aware of what issues are and then take action to change the dial.

”There are organisations that know there is a challenge but are scared to talk about it and are almost hoping the BLM movement will go away. I am proud of the early adopters of the RACE code who have put their hands up, acknowledged there is a problem, and are doing something about it.”

Alongside developing and launching the RACE Code, Dr. Karl somehow found the time to write his second book, Governance 3.0 – The Third Generation, the follow up to his bestseller The Effective Board Member: What every board member should know.

An impressed Dan wrapped the educational yet entertaining episode up by asking: “ What is the one thing that every board member should know?

Quick as lightning, Dr. Kark replied: “That we can change the world, one board member at a time.”

Details on the RACE Code can be found at: www.theracecode.org.

Catch episode 16 of season two of Inside your Brand over on Get-Optimal’s YouTube channel.

Dr Karl George MBE was episode 17, season two’s special guest
Dr Karl George MBE was episode 17, season two’s special guest