“David, your message is important and relevant to our times”
Barack Obama, US President
In my new book Diversity Gold, I will make the case that diversity is a goldmine and it is here to stay. It is good for our personal lives, families, and businesses. In order to comprehend this new phenomenon, we need to understand exactly who these new cultural communities are and where they come from. What are their world-views, what are their buying patterns, and how can we connect with them for the long term? How can we maximize our relationships and build bridges?
In order to compete in the business world, it is very important to understand, and be in tune with, our contacts and customers. When a famous soft drink company from North America wanted to expand their business to Saudi Arabia, they experienced a few years of stagnant sales. The company enlisted the services of one of the top advertising firms in the USA to see what could be done. After extensive analysis, the new marketing chief came up with a TV commercial for the Saudi Arabia viewers. The commercial had two captions, one before and one after. The before caption showed a guy who was tired, exhausted, fatigued, and desperate for a drink. This was immediately followed by the second caption showing the same guy full of energy — excited and drinking the cola. After a few weeks of this new ad campaign, however, the sales plummeted to an all-time record low.
The management was baffled and could not understand the reason for the sales slump. Then the company hired a diversity consultant whose mandate was to solve their problem. After watching the TV ads, the consultant simply reversed the two images and the sales rose to new record levels.
What was the key to the diversity consultant’s solution? In many Middle Eastern countries, where Arabic is the natural language, words are read from right to left. In North America, and in many languages, we write from left to right. In the left-hand caption, the cola drinker was tired and exhausted — in the right-hand caption, he was very happy, refreshed, and excited. This sent the mistaken message to the Saudi consumers that when you are happy and excited, drinking the cola will make you become tired and exhausted. This example explains how important it is to understand the cultural nuances of those outside our day-to-day home-grown experiences. What we say and how we say it may not express what we mean to say at all.
People have arrived from the four corners of the world and have come with their families, languages, skills, cultures, creativity, innovations, and wallets! We should recognize and appreciate how these people and their diversity can enrich our lives, enhance our businesses and stimulate our economies.
Have a look at this West Coast telephone company’s slogan. It says, “The future is friendly and it is bright.” The future has arrived, because the amount of immigration to the major cities in North America continues to increase. It is a tsunami wave, it is already here, and we should celebrate it instead of trying to fight it. Have you ever tried to swim in a tsunami wave?
We no longer compete in only the local markets; we compete in global markets. Think globally and act locally but I would add – think global and act global. Our partners are the USA, Canada, Mexico, India, China, Brazil and other countries.
Stereotypes - Workforce Diversity
Today, people from different ethnicities and from different nations work together on a single project. Collaboration between different cultures helps in bringing success to the project. We realize and accept that delivering quality products or offering marginal prices are not enough to remain in business in this competitive world. We work in a global affair. We no longer have the local market as our primary customer. Adopting workplace diversity is essential to the growth of one’s company.
In the past decade, the North American workforce has changed dramatically. More than ever, a workplace is a diverse collection of individuals proud of whom they are: their gender, their sexual orientation, their religion, their ethnic background, and all the other components that make an individual unique.
The challenge becomes: how can we make these diverse individuals work as a team? We all know what happens to organizations that don’t have effective teamwork: they fail.
One of the biggest barriers to diversity is stereotypes. Stereotypes can be so subtle that we don’t even realize we’re applying them. The human mind thinks in categories, and we need these categories to help us organize all that we experience as we go through daily life. Without categories, our brains would be filled with a jumble of disconnected facts, impressions, sights, sounds, thoughts, ideas, and sensations. The categories help us make sense of the world we live in and give us a shorthand way to respond to people and events.
The categories in our minds contain not just facts and data; they also contain meaning and evaluation. Our categories are not neutral. We usually have feelings about categories. These feelings may be positive or negative. Mention of a category often triggers an instant reaction, almost a reflex. Most of us have judgments, opinions, and feelings about most categories of things. This is appropriate and normal.
While categories are not a problem in and of themselves, they become a problem when we cannot distinguish between the characteristics of a category and the characteristics of an individual item, or individual person, within that category. Put another way, the category turns into a stereotype when we can no longer see an individual tree, but only see the forest. When we assume that all trees within a forest are identical, and cannot see that each individual tree has some characteristics in common with the others, that is when our category turns into a stereotype.
A common defense is, “stereotypes are sometimes true.” Stereotypes, by their very definition, cannot be true. For example, think of the stereotype that all African-American men are good at basketball. Some African-American men may be very good at this sport, but there are certainly African-American men out there who are not good at this sport. Therefore, for the man who is good at basketball, that is simply an attribute of his character, not proof that all African-American men are the same as he is.
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The Diversity Gold Book
The Diversity Gold book offers the following ideas, principles, and strategies. It will help to increase profit and productivity.
Who is David McLauren?
Credentials & Fast Facts:
• Author - Diversity Gold: How to Increase Profit & Productivity
• Founder – The Centre for Multi-Cultural Ministries
• Two Masters Degrees and a Ph.D. in Inter-Cultural Studies
• Diversity Champion Award nominee in 2007
• Over 15 years of professional speaking experience
• Professional Member, National Speakers Association, since 2007
David is helping companies to increase profit and productivity through leadership and diversity. He speaks five languages, brings a wealth of education, proven strategies, and expertise to businesses, and brilliantly helps companies increase their profits and productivity through diversity.
David is a highly sought-after keynote speaker, facilitator, and expert on Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion, Change, Productivity, Business Growth, Sales. He consistently energizes, educates, and empowers his audiences.
Book David to speak at your next event!
·7 Steps to profit from Diversity
·Create High Performance Teams in a Low Performance Economy
·8 Secrets to Powerful & Meaningful Employee Engagement
·Lead Through Changing Times, While Staying Ahead of Your Competition
Our mailing address is: McLauren & Associates, P.O. Box 2022, Hurst, TX 76053
Copyright (C) *2011* *David McLauren* All rights reserved.