perspective

7 reasons you don’t need to worry about diversity in your company

Lots of talk about diversity these days, but you may be wondering if it’s for you. I’ve created a short cheat sheet to help you decide if there might be any benefits to creating more diversity in your team or company:

1. You already have diversity handled. You’ve checked all the boxes and have at least one of every demographic with legal ramifications.

2. You find differing facts, perspectives, and ideas to be distracting. You continue making the same decisions you’ve always made while waiting for this whole “innovation” fad to pass.

3. You’ve branded yourself as the “buggy whip manufacturer of [your industry].” You view falling hopelessly behind as adhering to tradition and you’re ok riding tradition right into the ground.

4. You hate all the challenges caused by people who are different from each other. Some days it actually forces you to manage people or even (gulp!) lead them.

5. You see no connection between performance, innovation, creativity, and differing perspectives.

6. Every single customer and potential customer has the EXACT same thoughts, concerns, problems, and needs as you.

7. You are so fantastically awesome that the only way you could get better is to surround yourself with people EXACTLY like you.

Any other reasons I should add?

 

perspectives

The BBC recently posted an article about John Taylor, the bass player from the ‘80s group Duran Duran, and how his perspective has changed from 1985 to now. He had one comment in particular that really hit home:

“I made a very definite decision a couple of years ago [when he was 50 – ed] that I was now middle aged. And it was actually a really good decision to make, because I’d been feeling like a very tired young man for quite a few years, and making that acknowledgement, suddenly I felt like a very sprightly and hip middle aged guy. [emphasis added]

Here’s what I really appreciate about this: he’s the same guy. Nothing has changed, except how he views himself and his corresponding expectations of himself. He’s not doing wishful thinking and clinging to the past and he hasn’t turned himself into an old man before his time. He got rid of his delusions of youth and was able to look at his reality and define it in a way that really works for him.

The great and incomparable Zig Ziglar also spoke of a similar transformation. He grew up poor in a small town in Mississippi and talked about thinking about himself as a little guy from a little town when he started out as a salesman. Then, after encouraging words from a hero/mentor, he saw himself differently. He shifted his perspective and began thinking of himself as a salesman with the potential to be one of the greats. Same guy, same skill set, different perspective, different attitude, different approach, and different results.

Our perspectives and beliefs can inspire us to grow or turn us into our own worst enemies by shrinking, confining, and crushing our potential. There’s a lot in this world we can’t control, but one of the things we have full power over is how we look at ourselves.

What perspectives are you choosing?

life’s not fair

My son, 1st grader that he is, was moping along as we walked across a big parking lot to get something out of the car. Playfully I said, “C’mon son, head up shoulders back, walk like you’re going somewhere. Life’s good, let’s rock!”

“No, it’s not.” He responded. “Life’s not fair, so it can’t be good.” That kind of stopped me. Then I thought, how often do kids hear or tell each other that “life’s not fair” when they complain that they can’t get something they want? They hear it so much that there’s little reason for them to doubt it.

What I didn’t tell him, but he will start hearing more often is that perhaps life isn’t fair, but complaining about it doesn’t do any good and all any of us can do is start where we are and work with what we have.

Further, statistically speaking from a global perspective, life may not be fair and – like many of us – it’s probably not fair in his favor. Born in a first world country in a stable, educated, two-parent, gainfully employed household, healthy, attending a good school system, etc., etc., and etc. is, statistically speaking, a huge leg up on a large percentage of the world, and a decent head start  over even many of his peers. Heck, eating breakfast every morning will give a kid a statistical advantage.

Realistically, if you’re reading this you’re probably in the same boat in that you’re literate, have access to the internet, have a little free time, and likely aren’t spending your day struggling to find clean water or enough calories to keep you alive. The problems you face are at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, not the bottom.

Interesting though, is that we tend to judge ourselves against people similar to us. This means that, we don’t compare ourselves with the entire planet, only the few people we know. We can be very well off comparatively (e.g., indoor plumbing, central heating, and air conditioning, reliable transportation, etc.) and feel very poor. Studies have shown that, illogical as it seems, people would rather make less overall money as long as they were doing slightly better than their peers. That is, we’d rather make $60,000 in a group where the average salary is $50,000 than make $70,000 in a group where the average salary is $80,000. We have a hard time understanding our absolute blessings, but are pretty astute at recognizing our comparative blessings.

Son, recognize your advantages, count your blessings and practice deep gratitude, and always, always strive to make the best of any situation. Life isn’t always fair. Everyone’s got issues, everyone’s got wounds, everyone’s fighting their own battles. Judge your success based on your own dreams, effort, and potential rather than comparing yourself others. You got it good, kid. Now go make it better.

And put your head up, shoulder’s back, and walk like you’re going somewhere.