Years ago I was a coordinator for Charles Black recreation center on the westside of South Bend, IN. This side of town was nicknamed the lake.
On one particular day we where visited by a young Caucasian male that was 14 years of age named Shawn. He walked into the gym with a mismatch pair of sox and a faded t-shirt with a baseball cap. Not the usual dress code for the basketball players in the neighborhood at the time.
And that’s when it happened! On a rebound one of the players on Shawn’s team thru the ball out to Shawn, and Shawn without hesitation thru up a three point shot that hit nothing but net. Shawn’s team never left the floor for hours beating everyone that stepped on the court to play them.
On the way out Shawn waved to everyone and the player that picked Shawn on his team came over and ask him, “Where you nervous to play in the hood with us.” Shawn responded, “I was more nervous that I wouldn’t be picked! I know how to play I just needed the opportunity to show you guys.”
When it comes to Diversity and Inclusion it is very important to look at all of the potential players on your team. Some plays you may need players with a certain skill set while other plays you may need to grab someone off the bench. Do you know the skill sets of the players on your team? Or are you ignoring and looking over them only to play the same players with the same results. As a business owner, manager or leader sometimes you have to pick someone off the bench, because when it’s game time the objective and vision is to WIN.
As a manager and/or team member it is everyone’s job to stay focus on the Vision (what we are here to do the objective) of the task so that team members needed to execute the vision can be chosen. Successful managers and leaders understand that Diversity and Inclusion is needed to execute the overall Vision of the organization. So if that means grabbing someone off the bench that will give you a different perspective for the overall vision of the company, then let it be.
Quick Diversity & Inclusion Exercise: Get you staff and team members together and ask them to write out the vision of your organization.
After each member writes out their vision for the organization, ask them to write out how they believe they contribute to the overall vision of the organization. This exercise will be very revealing to you and your managers because it will reveal the team members who enjoy sitting on the bench and the team members that are eager to play in the game.