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How Are We Alike? - Diversity and Inclusion

Today it seems there is so much discussion about diversity and celebrating people of various backgrounds. Most large companies have created initiatives and programs to encourage a more diverse workplace and drive awareness of cultural insensitivity. These things are all great of course. However, I think more change will happen when we focus on how people are similar instead of focusing on differences.

Differences are easy to see. They are honestly one of the first things we recognize about someone we meet. Black, white... blonde, brunette... man, woman... rich, poor.... young, old... short, tall. And it goes on and on with a number of ways that I differ from you and you from me. Looking at the image below, it's is easy to notice the different colors. People come in all kinds of colors and when joined together they can make for beautiful artwork. 

So what happens if we spend time to focus on what we all have in common? Every person on this planet has at least one thing in common with someone else and likely much, much more. We are all human and we all need the same resources to survive. Going deeper we find that we may share the same love of a certain sport or sports team, have both attended the same university or maybe we work within the same industry.

Think about a time when you first met someone. How did you feel when you learned that you shared a trait or interest with them? Maybe it made you feel that you could trust that person more? Did you want to get to know them better? Personally, I connect with a person easier, when I notice things that we have in common. 

Initiatives where employees are encouraged to value each person's differences to build a culture of inclusion are great. I think firms should continue to do this, however, I feel that we should begin with more dialogue around our similarities. This is what brings people closer together. Differences tend to tear people apart. 

Let's focus on how we are the same, then we will celebrate our differences.

Happy Sunday,

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