PROUT EMPLOYER Campana & Schott
“Openness and tolerance are here to stay.”
Dr. Christophe Campana is the founder and managing director of Campana & Schott. He has over 25 years of experience in (top) management consulting and is a member of various expert and advisory boards. His main areas of focus include “strategic project and portfolio management” as well as “new forms of collaboration” with a special focus on social collaboration. Dr. Christophe Campana is the author of over 50 publications on the subject of project and portfolio management.
In simple words, Campana & Schott is providing advice to their customers on strategies to keep their finger on the pulse. What role does diversity play here?
Dr. Christophe Campana: Events such as climate change, radicalization, populism, etc. have led to the point that more and more people are concerned with meanings and values. Most people have recognized that “healthy” progress and prosperity cannot be done without moral values and sustainability. Diversity is one of these values and therefore an essential part of this overarching development. Excluding people due to their sexual orientation promotes hatred and prevents a sustainable better future for everyone. There is still a lot to be done here.
Campana & Schott received three awards as a “Great Place to Work”. The list of your commitments towards the diversity of your employees is long and you are building on long-term cooperation instead of “hire and fire”. Has the PROUT EMPLOYER cooperation been the last piece of the puzzle for an open and inclusive work environment?
Dr. Christophe Campana: There will probably never be that one last piece of the puzzle. For us, the cooperation with PROUT EMPLOYER is an important part of our commitment, which we are constantly developing further. I keep learning new things, e.g. only recently the Federal President Steinmeier made a very clear point in the context of the anti-racism riots where he said: “It is not enough to not be a racist. We have to be anti-racists.” This view also applies to me with regard to diversity and our corporate culture. I am convinced that in the future there will always be topics that managers should deal with in the interests of their company: openness and tolerance are here to stay.
“I understood that as an entrepreneur you have to take a visible and public position on this in order to reach out to the community and signal: Live your sexuality as you want: openly or not – both are fine.”
What advice would you give to companies that are just starting their commitment to LGBT*IQ diversity?
Dr. Christophe Campana: At Campana & Schott there have always been employees who have lived out their homosexuality openly. Therefore, homophobia had no place in our company. For a long time, I believed that this was enough. Only later, I understood that as an entrepreneur you have to take a visible and public position on this in order to reach out to the community and signal: Live your sexuality as you want: openly or not – both are fine. But if you want to live it openly, you will not suffer any disadvantage in our company. It’s just a small step, but it does a lot – and only good.
From our experience we know that LGBT*IQ diversity has the greatest impact in a company when executives, diversity management and the company’s corporate networks regularly come together. Is that also your recipe for success?
Dr. Christophe Campana: Yes, I myself regularly meet with our LGBTQ+ network and have learned a lot from these meetings, e.g. the so-called “Monday lie”, when colleagues chat with each other during the coffee break about the last weekend and some prefer to describe their life partner as “a friend”.
I could immediately emphasize the stress associated with this white lie when my employees told me that they had felt like this for very long periods of time, sometimes even years. That is why the close exchange is so crucial: You start to better understand the problems of the community and can actually start changing things more targeted.
The last question: There are turbulent times coming for employees. Considering your commitment to diversity, how would you react to the statement that starting from now, there are more important topics than LGBT*IQ diversity?
Dr. Christophe Campana: There is a difference between the urgency and the importance. The unexpected severity with which the corona pandemic has affected all areas of life resulted in existential challenges for many companies which we will have to deal with. Just because you douse a fire in an apartment doesn’t mean that your general life in the apartment becomes unimportant. This crisis overshadows many issues, which, however, do not become irrelevant – on the contrary: I am convinced that companies with an open and appreciative culture will get through the crisis better. Diversity is an essential part of corporate identity and contributes to the performance and resilience of an organization.