Randall Tucker possesses a rare kind of superpower: He knows how to talk about diversity and inclusion so that people will listen.

Tucker, the Chief Inclusion Officer at Mastercard and the most recent guest on NLI’s Your Brain at Work podcast, believes organizations can get the most out of people when leaders start with strategy. So rather than begin, as many organizations do, from a place of instituting mandatory training, Tucker says, he encourages leaders to first think about what they hope to accomplish.

“When we think about inclusion and diversity at Mastercard, I’d like to think of it as inclusive leadership skills because I think the term ‘bias’ sometimes is seen as a deficit, quite honestly, where someone has to dig their self out of something,” Tucker says. “I just don’t like the way that’s positioned. I think each of us, I don’t care what color you are or where you come from, we all have an opportunity to be more inclusive leaders.”

The best talent is diverse

Of course, leaders do want to be mindful of recruiting a diverse team — and keeping those people — so Tucker advises on the importance of backing up recommendations with data.

“What I do is say based on the population of wherever where we are, I could be in Asia, or I can be in the US, or in Europe, I kind of look at the census of where should we be pulling based on the representation, based on just making sure that we have a full view and leveraging all of the great talent that’s in that location?” he says. “Because talent, the best talent, does not come in one wrapping.”

At NLI, we look to embrace the science of bias to help people see that bias is a part of having a brain, not a character flaw. Our approach is to help employees develop a common language for calling out biases in real-time, based on the SEEDS model, all in order to make more effective decisions.

Check out the entire episode with Randall at Simplecast.

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