“I consider myself an educator. They say we teach that which we most need to learn. That is true for me.”
I am a cis-gendered, straight white man living in the U.S. If I want diversity in my life, I usually have to go get it. Because of our social group identity, men like me can avoid the ambiguity and discomfort of diversity if we want, but we also miss out on the richness it brings to work and life. It’s a privilege but it’s also part of why we don’t recognize or understand the experience of others. Embracing difference upsets the status quo in good ways. It exposes us to a richer mix of people and ideas that almost always creates better results. At these times, life and work become richer.
Now like never before, the opportunity before us is for people like me to join with those who have been working for inclusion their whole lives not because they choose to, but because they have to. When our colleagues don’t all look the same, or communicate the same, or think the same, the world as we see it becomes clearer and we become more connected to it.
In every culture, organization, and group, those who are perceived as “different” and those who are perceived as the “same as” end up having very different experiences moving though the world. Then, the narrative of the others often gets minimized, disbelieved, even labeled as “wrong.” Imagine how that must feel. Wherever we work around the world, we pay attention to this dynamic by helping everyone create a new narrative where they can contribute to creating a world that works for everyone, not just dominant group members.
Exclusion—only involving the people who look, act, and think like we do—is easy. Inclusion—valuing, creating, and nurturing the mix—is hard and it takes support and practice to do well. I should know; I’ve been working on how to do it as a leader most of my career.
Fortune 500 companies and
100s of leaders
I work with leaders who want to support diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging but may not know how to do so effectively. From there, I help their organizations develop engagement strategies that bring everyone to the table.