In a global business environment and rapidly expanding multi-cultural society what are the payoffs for practicing inclusiveness ? It
1. Helps us adopt a global rather than an ethnocentric approach.
When we see ourselves as “world citizens”
Where we are curious about and seek contact with others outside of our culture
And as we strive to learn from others rather than shut them out
Our horizons and sensibilities are expanded.
Think for a moment of how you may view an artful quilt. Your focus could be on an individual panel (narrow). The other perspective is to step back and see the whole pattern (global or inclusive) where you would have a far richer experience of the work of art.
Our natural impulse is to view life as the one panel of the quilt, i.e. my world. There is a tendency for, “What’s in it for me” to take priority over “What does this mean for others”. And so nationalism trumps internationalism and independence displaces interdependence.
We position ourselves to expand our humanity and increase our business capability as we get out of the bubble of our own world.
2. Takes us beyond toleration to deep acceptance of others.
Toleration involves a grudging acceptance of others and their world. It barely touches the perimeters of inclusiveness.
It is only when we adopt a radical acceptance of the other that the belief “what they are is perfectly fine” emerges.
It is then that we have grown beyond mere tolerance and moved towards acceptance.
The latter can never involve a full understanding of the other as we have found in our Mexico experience. The are complexities in this culture that we will never fully uncover. But as the years pass we come to appreciate Mexico more and more.
Acceptance also helps us develop the realization that we have more similarities than differences. As Sting said in one of his songs “The Russians love their children too.”
3. Reduces the gap between people
Referring to others as “them” or “those people” reflects a deep disconnect and prejudice. It also widens the divide between people that quickly slides into rejection. It also sets up a stereotype that neglects to see the diversity within individual cultures.
The quest for and practice of inclusiveness involves exposing ourselves to people from diverse backgrounds. This has the power to narrow the gap between people. How many times have you heard “I was so biased against……(fill in your own category) until I started working with someone from that group.”
The journey of inclusiveness can lead us to some of the most gratifying relationships we ever will have. It also facilitates the growth of our true selves. It is of note that all the major religions of the world seek to live by the tenet “love your neighbor as yourself.” The more we appreciate others the more we heal the divide within our own hearts.
What has been the value of inclusiveness in your life?
What steps can you take towards being more inclusive?
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