I recently shared, on Social Media, that I would be the motivational keynote speaker at a large global event. Unfortunately, the best image that showcased 'yours truly' included two other white men. The optics were not great considering that I am an advocate for women's leadership and have signed a pledge to not appear on all-male panels.
There were some women and other ethnicities speaking at the conference and the panel was diverse, but not diverse enough. I called the organizer, a former mentee of mine, and he shared his frustration that he had asked many women, but they refused to speak.
I have faced this same issue before when I organized physical and virtual events. It can lead to weird conversations like,
"We are missing a Black Woman or an Asian man, and we have nobody representing LGBTQ".
In a perfect world, we would have the best person for the job, regardless of ethnicity, gender, age,...
I was once working with a CEO to help get his senior leaders to be more open to input from multiple sources, including younger employees.
“Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas”, he said.
“Wow!”, I thought. What a great mantra for diversity, inclusion, leadership, management, and just common sense.
But as Winston Churchill once remarked, “Nothing is as uncommon as common sense”.
Well, the human mind is hard-wired to consider ideas and perspectives from our own tribe as superior to those from the outside. This human tendency leads to political partisanship, regardless of the facts, and can lead to a senior leadership team that looks the same and thinks the same. The dangers of this ‘we are right, everybody else is wrong’ mindset is obvious; especially in times of rapid change, when past ways of doing things are losing or have lost their relevancy.
If a closed...