What If I Told You Diversity Has Little To Do With Race?


When my kids were small there was an event that would inevitably teach me volumes. We entered the mall at Christmas to purchase secret Santa gifts. My daughter went with my wife. The three boys with me.

Our parking deck opened to the top level. We walked to the stairs. As we approached the bottom there were two women with clip boards engaging with passerby’s. As I approached her she glanced towards me then turned her attention to someone else. Well I was dismayed. I stepped closer and again she ignored me. Deciding I the diversity consultant would teach my children a valuable lesson I decided we would go to the mall manager’s office and jut give him a bit of my mind. After all there shouldn’t be any racial prejudices. Turning the manager;s door I thought perhaps I should tell the “instigator” my concerns so she would learn her lesson.

I with my little band i tow walked back meandering through this and that. She looked at me again and turned her back. Hmmmm. Strategically I inched closer. My youngest son saying “Dad, maybe we’d better not.”

With her back turned I stepped in. Just as I was about to give her a piece of my mind I could see as she spoke to another person what was on her clip board. It read, Women’s Breast Cancer Detection center.” Looking to my left and right I saw she was only speaking to women. When she turned I smiled and then asked if I may have information for my wife.

Do you see the lesson? There is much to be learned from every situation if we seek it.

In the case of diversity. I was raised in the south where I literally picked and chopped cotton. I went to my mother to sit in the back of the room the post office etc. I have learned over the years that some times people just don;t like me. Not my race. Now, I could go on. But I think you get the message. We see what we want to see but not always we we need to see.

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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