Ending The Confusion About Inclusion - Diversity 2071

On this blog, we try to offer a thought-provoking take on all subjects related to job seekers and their experience on the job market. As I've mentioned, we believe that empowered job seekers will have a significant impact on the overall turnaround of the market itself. So when we decided to write about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), we wanted to offer an outlook that you might not find anywhere else. Having a clear unfiltered picture of what a totally inclusive culture would mean to the business world will explain why so much effort is being put into creating it. As job seekers, it's important to know that D&I isn't going anywhere and that it's in everyone's best interest to understand why it is essential to their success to have an idea of where it is headed.

In order to envision the future of D&I, I began considering what kinds of careers the next generation would reflect upon having grown up in a digital age driven by technologies that allow us to connect and share information with increasing rapidity. I even chose the year 2071, to illustrate the year that children born today would be eligible for retirement based on the current government recognized age of 62. Living in a time when anyone can contribute their thoughts any time they want via social media platforms, I wondered if they will laugh at our generation for ever needing Diversity training in the first place?

Considering the way the internet is being used today really put D&I in perspective and the more I thought about it the simpler it became. When you really break down D&I, it's driven by the fact that--on an individual level--everyone just wants to fit in somewhere and express their creativity freely. With virtual worlds, online gaming, social technologies, and search engines, being able to experience this is increasingly becoming a cultural norm. As more and more people engage across digital platforms, it will become more difficult not to engage in other social arenas as well. So when you eliminate all of the distractions it becomes clear to see that D&I efforts are suited to facilitate the highest level of engagement. Now for many, this may sound too simple and it definitely doesn't present a clear business case for why time and money should be invested in programs and training to try to get entire organizations on board. So there must be more to it.

Well while companies know that what's driving the need for D&I is fundamentally simple, it isn't easy at all. Transformation never is. It is uncomfortable and challenges everything we know. It demands vulnerability in exchange for growth. And the rewards that come from our efforts will only meet us halfway. That means we must extend ourselves. In essence we must put ourselves out there and learn by doing. For many of us that is too scary. We'd rather just close our eyes and wait for change to pass us by. But, that's not going to happen. We'll be pulled in eventually. Just ask anyone who reluctantly created a Facebook page or people on the job market who are finally accepting the value of a LinkedIn account. It's the same process. And if you still think social media has nothing to do with Diversity, just wait.

I deleted an earlier version of this post because in the end it was just one more post telling us what we've already heard before. If Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity, and the idea that diversity breeds innovation were convincing enough, the discussion would have ended long ago and people would be volunteering to learn how they could help the process move forward. But because in large part, mankind's fear of loss still generally exceeds their desire for gain, the D&I dialogue will continue until we reach the tipping point where resistance is obviously costing us more than voluntary compliance. Understanding this is leverage for those willing to take a front seat on this transformational roller coaster. By the year 2071 when the confusion about inclusion is no longer an issue, the retirees will be able to look back on what it took to get to an inclusive culture and simplify it into a definition like the one below.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) - A systematic process designed to facilitate information transfer through converting a culture from a driving mindset of "What's In It For Me" (WIIFM) to one of "What's In It For Everyone" (WIIFE) .

Now, you might still be asking what this has to do with your job search. The answer has everything to do with market relevance. The market is headed this way and if you are not, your POTENTIAL to contribute will be irrelevant since your resistance will represent an information bottleneck. When it is all said and done I believe the retirees of 2071 will demonstrate that the business case for Diversity and Inclusion never had anything to do with the categories that we break ourselves into and everything to do with increasing the flow of ideas and information.

Google is growing by leaps and bounds because it feeds our need to know and gives us access to information on demand. Every time we go to a search engine and look up anything, we increase our expectation to find answers quickly. We are in an age where information is currency and anything that gets in the way of our access to information will be minimized and eventually eliminated. It is inevitable. We are fast approaching a point where the only hang ups in communication will be individuals withholding information because they are operating on an obsolete paradigm. So I submit that in the future of business this will not be tolerated from anyone regardless of a person's race, color, national origin, sexual identification, age, religion, or disability. The business case for D&I can't get any clearer than that.

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Comment by Marsha Keeffer on November 23, 2009 at 6:29pm
We're nearing 50 years away from Selma, Dr. King, Mrs. Parks' courageous ride and the inspired student members of SNCC. I think you're right, but not because of the business case. As we work with people from different backgrounds we see that we're all the same. The internet is helping bring all of us closer, as well.
Comment by Pedro S. Silva II on November 23, 2009 at 7:03pm
I hear you. Without coming out and saying it I was trying to indicate that eventually there will eventually be no distinction between the business case and respecting the individual. Transparency, our interactions on the internet, and the opportunities it affords to express oneself will shift the social landscape to a point where people will not feel that they "need" their jobs to be fulfilled. This creates empowerment. When all people are empowered, a true and very natural order of being can emerge where people will gravitate toward relationships (business inclusded) where they know they are valued. At least that's what I see for our future.

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