Archives for January 2021

Unity in diversity

This is an old saying, which is true in many contexts. In the workplace diversity makes for a better and stronger workforce. It means more than tolerance of differences. Instead, it’s the recognition and understanding differences provide ideas, create connections and enrich the human connection.

Be clear diversity is broad, and includes more differences than most people think of. Of course it includes ethnicity, religion and sex, but there are many more types of diversity that can benefit your workforce. These include age, experience, disability, and culture.

Focusing on diversity has tangible and intangible benefits for your business. These include different perspectives, more innovation and creativity, and expansion of the pool of possible employees or co-workers. It also can present challenges including bias and resistance to change.

It helps to keep people engaged and provide opportunities for connection. If you have or plan to have a diverse workforce, you need to integrate diverse individuals at all levels. This means having diversity in your teams, committees and management. Instituting education and activities can bring people in a diverse workforce together and create opportunities for connection and growth.

You also will need to hold people accountable. This is difficult because many people aren’t comfortable with change. As your business changes and you make accountability matter, certain longer term employees may self-select out if they are uncomfortable with the changes being made. Others will grow and rise to the occasion. This is because making a change to your workforce to add diversity will alter your company’s culture.

You don’t just decide to try to have your company change its culture to become more diverse and it happens. You need to have a plan in place. Among other things, you need to consider what types of backgrounds may add diversity you believe will benefit your business, how to go about moving forward with your plan, and what you want your company’s culture to be.

This will not happen overnight. It’s a long-term strategy. If you are able to build diverse teams in your business, the road will have bumps, but it will yield positive results in the future. It will build a stronger community that will attract good and talented people.

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The grey line between work and home

If you’re working remotely as the pandemic continues, you know the line between work and home has become more blurred and, in some cases, no longer exists. When you’re home is your office, you’re always at work, and more so than just checking email on your phone before going to bed (you know you do this!).

So what can you do to try and have some separation? The answer depends on you, but there are options. Every option requires discipline, similar to knowing you need to step away from the chips and salsa about twenty chips before you do.

You need to find strategies to help you draw a line. For me, I am calendaring time for exercise and trying to stop looking at my phone by 9:00 p.m. Both of these are works in progress. Earlier this week I went hiking in the late afternoon, but spoke with a client the entire time. With the phone, I am trying to stop using it to fill in lulls in time, especially at night. Baby steps. I still am hopeful I will improve on these goals as time goes by.

In addition to those goals, I do have dinner with my family every night and spend time with them each evening too. It certainly helps me wind down from busy days and sleep better.

All of these things are to try and take back a few hours otherwise lost to work. I enjoy what I do for a living, but am aware no one on their deathbed wishes they had spent more time working. Try to achieve some separation and see how it feels.

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One spark can become a blazing fire. Think about that. It means every idea starts the same way: it comes into your head and you choose to act on it or not. This is why many people keep a pen and paper near their bedside in case an important spark of an idea comes to them in the middle of the night. Others may allow sparks to turn into an ember that will go out before the light of day.

One thought can start a revolution. What the revolution is depends on the thought. Someone had to first think people needed to leave England to exercise their freedom of religion, which others agreed with, and which lead to for formation of the United States. Of course the bumpy road included sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to a new land and then the revolutionary war against England, but it started with a thought.

Another revolution was the idea of the Internet. Or the personal computer. Or even the in ground swimming pool. Someone had to come up with the idea for it to become a reality. If you think of any successful product or business, it started in the same way.

When inspiration strikes you hopefully you will be able to capture the idea and not let it disappear like dust in the wind. To avoid this, take the time to record the idea in some manner. I was hiking and listening to a podcast when the person being interviewed said one spark can become a blazing fire, which struck me. Upon hearing it, I stopped and typed it into a note on my cell phone knowing I most likely would forget it by the time I made it home.

Be open to ideas whenever they come to you. To not do so is to your own detriment because many great thoughts come to you when you least expect it.

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