Working for an international oil company not only opened my mind to diversity and inclusion, it's shaped who I've become. What a beautiful gift! Our world is indeed becoming more diverse and accepting of difference. We do still have a long way to go, but it's quite uncool to be narrow about diversity, today. You really stand out if you can't tolerate the obvious things or learn to understand what makes the world truly unique: people. PEOPLE ARE EVERYTHING. Say it again, EVERYTHING. Nothing gets done without them.
Inclusion is where the work gets really tough. My colleague and D&I coach and friend, John Sequiera, donated a book I won at an employee network event last fall. Many did I get lucky! It's called The Inclusion Paradox by Andres' T. Tapia with Hewitt Associates. It's quite a book - buy it. The first paragraph is quite meaningful for me:
It turns out that the warm, "let's all just get along" connotations of inclusion are misleading. Achieving true inclusion is hard - very hard. It's harder, in fact, than achieving awareness, tolerance and sensitivity. It's harder than diversity itself. Ironically at the same time, it's actually becoming more hip to talk about diversity and inclusion. Around the world, corporations, non-for-profits, educational institutions, police departments, governments, and the military are catching on that the workforce is changing in dramatic, unstoppable ways. After years of ignorance the swelling demographic tsunami, finally they grasp that these changes raise myriad implications of how organizations hire, manage, develop, promote and reward their workers in ways that will motivate them to stay and do their best.
Inclusion goes beyond color, sexual orientation, religion and the obvious. It's about tribes of people -- that have common value and causes and things important to them. If you have to chain someone to a desk, throw the standard greenback at them to get them to stay, you've got a real problem. Money isn't everything to everyone.
Pensions are a good example of a handcuff reward. My father has 2 pensions. It's a generational reward that is tied to years of service. YEARS? When the world is changing in a matter of minutes, who thinks of years?
SHIFT HAPPENS! Check out this video here if you need convincing... I cannot tell you how many people approached me in the past 7 days about my departure...curiosity around "how, why, when" etc...and commented how they are chained to years of service. How irrelevant is that in today's employment market? Service? Years? Those words seem obsolete to me. Imagine a world where people spoke their minds and drove innovation because it was the right thing to do. Innovation comes from the freedom to create. How free are you if you are chained to a piece of currency?
Seth Godin speaks of the world with more options today than ever and no more time...if anything less. We're all on a timeline. We don't know when how and why...that's decided by someone else. What we do have to do is choose to include ourselves in the world where we can make a difference for what's important to us.
So when you are thinking about walking the "ledge" and making a leap. GO. Choose to INCLUDE yourself in this world of opportunity. You will always be relevant, important and meaningful if you focus on what's important and drown out the noise of living in other's plans. They will be okay. They will get over it and so will you. Forgiveness is for later so make the decision, NOW!
Make that Leap. The World Needs You!