2017-07-17 Issue 6 Fundamental Behavior 5 – Embrace Diversity.
What is diversity?
Diversity can be defined in many different ways, but I’d like to share one thought-provoking definition I read recently: “Diversity is a commitment to recognizing and appreciating the variety of characteristics that make people and communities unique as well as creating and sustaining an atmosphere that promotes and celebrates individual and collective achievement.” Those characteristics include age; cognitive style; culture; ability/disability; economic background; education; ethnicity; gender identity; geographic background; language(s) spoken; marital/partnered status; physical appearance; political affiliation; race; religious beliefs; sexual orientation.
What value does embracing diversity offer?
Simply stated, we make better decisions when we consider multiple points of view and act as a team with common goals. Numerous studies have been conducted that support this finding. The more diverse a company is, the more likely it is to grow and remain profitable because its decision-making and innovativeness benefit from the myriad perspectives represented in its diverse workforce.
What steps do we need to take in order to embrace diversity in our personal lives and in our company?
People tend to feel most comfortable associating with other people who look and believe as they look and believe. It’s simply human nature. But studies have proven conclusively that a diverse team that is able to appreciate and respect the beliefs and values of all the other members of the team will be more successful that a less inclusive team.
One company in the YKK NCA Group that proves this point very effectively is YKK Canada. At last count, 38 nationalities are represented among their approximately 100 employees. Rather than viewing this as a burden, YKK Canada celebrates its diversity and continues to adapt and grow through innovation and excellent teamwork.
Fundamental Behavior #5 gives us some clear guidelines on how to better embrace diversity: “Be curious and be inclusive. Embrace people of all backgrounds and with perspectives different from your own. Be sensitive to the intrinsic differences that make us individuals. We make better decisions when we consider multiple points of view and act as a team with common goals.”
Our goal is to provide working environments in which every employee can aspire to reach her or his goals. I hope your discussions about Behavior #5, Embrace Diversity, will lead to healthy and constructive discussions of your personal aspirations, of any obstacles you perceive to achieving your success, and of productive ideas about how we can better embrace diversity throughout our company. At first, these discussions may be uncomfortable, but the more often you have these conversations, your ability to engage in more meaningful dialogue will expand.
I would like ask everyone to work together toward this critically vital goal of embracing diversity and to strive to make our departments, our plants, our companies, and our region the best examples of this behavior.
Chairman and CEO
YKK Corporation of America