Why Diversity Matters: Always Has, Always Will

Why Diversity Matters: Always Has, Always Will

April 16, 2014

I love catching up with old friends. Just the other day I caught up with with fellow entourage member Bruce Perkins, who is known as a leader in supplier diversity. Like me, Bruce believes that when diversity and inclusion is combined with collaboration everyone wins: individuals, organizations and our world. He brought his belief to life daily at companies like Merrill Lynch and Siemens. Here are a few of Bruce’s insights, which I excerpted from a speech he gave at The College of New Jersey.

1. In the global environment success within corporate supplier diversity programs, and in business, includes understanding different cultures, biases and government policies.

2. Accept the observation and documented fact that cultural biases, which we all have, have a major impact on the decision-making process and the resulting success of individuals and entrepreneurs.

3. Inclusion of diverse individuals in organizations, and in society impacts the quality of decision making as well as the quality of life.

4. Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged, stated that the basis of racism is collectivism, an anti-individualist philosophy in which all members of a specific ethnic/gender group are considered all identical, resulting in the unfortunate expression “well, you know how they are.” In today’s global environment, this type of bias, if not racist perspective, is non-productive and will result in your inability to work successfully with employees who are different than you.

5. Be cautious in selecting a highly specialized career that can lose demand, or disappear, and never return; thus, explore courses that offer a diverse path.

6. Your ability to drive value is linked to your ability to innovate; one’s ability to innovate is hampered by an unwillingness to embrace collaboration with people of all cultures and races.

7. Build a network of trusted relationships with people who have different skills, knowledge and thought processes than what you possess and who come from different socio/economic backgrounds.

8. David Dinkins, former Mayor of NYC, talked about the great mosaic or rainbow of the diverse people in his city. Physics tells us that a rainbow is the result of the reflection and refraction of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light. That means the white light actually consists of many intense, saturated, vivid colors. It’s the same in all global societies. The resulting rainbow, and its colors of different people, will add to your success in the global marketplace and in your personal life.

Bruce Perkins can be reached at bwperkins4@gmail.com