Gina Greenlee, Margaret H. Greenberg March 11, 2024

Racial Equity Business Case: The New York Times Company

During the Q&A portion of our presentations, webinars, and podcast interviews the questions we receive share common themes. Chief among them, “What do you recommend for an organization like…” The person asking the question enumerates characteristics of their organization, the milestones they’ve achieved thus far on their racial equity journey, the challenges they are experiencing, or, if they not yet begun, they ask where to start.

Our answer: We are not traditional DEI experts. With deep backgrounds in business, OD (organizational development), and coaching we invite readers of The Business of Race to explore what’s needed at the individual, team, and organizational levels to reimagine a workplace that mirrors the experiences of their varied and numerous partners.

Case Study

In The Business of Race, we share scores of case studies. We do so not as formulas but to inspire your own “race work.”

Race work includes the inner work of raising our awareness and building new ways of thinking and being in the world. It also includes the outer work that organizations conduct to develop, implement and measure policies and practices to create and sustain a racially equitably workplace.

In addition to the two-dozen plus interviews we conducted with business professionals for the book in 2020 and 2021, as we continue to learn about organizational practices in our lane – racial equity – we will share them here.

In our research we came across The New York Times Company’s 2021 report, Building a Culture That Works for All of Us.

What We Like About This Report

  • It’s public – in 2021 when released, and it remains public today.  
  • Includes background of both the inner work (individuals and teams) and outer work (organizational systems) undertaken to develop the report and the plan of action.
  • All strata of the organization were involved in its development.
  • Direct in language. It recognizes what has worked and also clearly names what isn’t working without shaming or blaming. “For many, this report is long overdue. For others, it will be a new and uncomfortable portrait of The Times. For all of us, it is a call to action.”
  • The 20-page report includes a comprehensive, organizational wide, reality-based action plan that meets S.M.A.R.T. criteria most business professionals are familiar with: Specific. Measurable. Action-oriented. Realistic. Timebound.
  • Created and implemented with an Organizational Development lens rather than in program, department or training silos.

Why We Share It

  • As long-term OD professionals, we know that sustainable workplace cultural change happens only through organizational practice.
  • Had we known about this report before our book was published in August 2021, we would have included it as another model of OD architecture to emulate. (In addition to our Coca-Cola case study in Chapter 3 of The Business of Race).
  • It’s now an online resource we are happy to include through our Website, which we view as an ongoing learning space – for us and users of the site.
  • As we read the report three years ago, we were struck by the alignment of our OD training with The New York Times Company’s cultural change architecture. We have never, nor do we now lay claim to DEI expertise. We’ve always used our OD education, training and experience as one of the primary lenses for our shared work, The Business of Race. Why? Because we know the only sustainable organizational change is holistic. A company, such as The New York Times that has been around for 173 years, likely wants to be around for at least 170 more.)

This isn’t a quick fix. It’s the next leg of an ongoing journey.