When HP’s CEO Dion Weisler talks about the importance of diversity inclusion, he really means it. The legendary company, famous for printers and PCs, has told its vendors that it expects them to “step up” to make gender and racial diversity a priority at their companies—or else—HP (HPQ) won’t do business with them.
“If you want to make a difference, be prepared to make the tough call. And so we did that,” Weisler says. “That’s the power of being in the leadership position. That you can influence an ecosystem. That you can step up and lead as a leader across an organization larger than your own to make a difference in the things you really believe in.”
Surprisingly, the ultimatum is having a profoundly positive impact, according to Weisler. “They all stepped up,” Weisler says of HP’s suppliers. “And the ones that stepped up more, are getting more work. And the ones that didn’t step up aren’t working for us any more.”
Beyond the business case for this brand of leadership, Weisler offers up another explanation. “More importantly, your people care,” he explains. “They want to work for a company that cares about making a difference in the communities where we serve and so for us it’s a business imperative.”
Speaking to Fortune, Weisler also weighed in on the controversial decision by Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, to close the coffee chain’s stores for a day of racial bias training after two black men were arrested at a shop in Philadelphia while waiting for a friend.
“My take is, action is always better than inaction and if that’s the right thing for them to do, that’s the best way to do it. More power to them,” Weisler says. He adds, “We need to make the decisions for our company. Other companies and other CEOs and leadership teams need to make the right decisions for their companies. But we ought to be doing it.”
Watch the video above for more from our interview with Weisler.