Remember the old schooldays when the sports teacher would select two students as team captains (usually the most popular and sporty ones) and ask them to choose their teams?
We’d all stand there in agony desperately hoping to be the first to be picked. One by one, the captain would pick her team and we’d go stand behind her, relieved and grateful not to be the last one standing alone. The captain always chose the people who were most like her first, leaving the one least like her, till last.
Cruel, right? I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen in schools these days.
As we progress through life however, we’re doing exactly that. We become our own captains, unconsciously and even consciously, picking and choosing the people we want on our team. We choose partners, friends and work peers who are just like us. Homogeneity wins over diversity. We see it everywhere; in institutions, in our governments, in schools and in our neighbourhoods.
I admit that my own team of friends and work-mates is mostly filled with women just like me; white, middle-aged, heterosexual, left-leaning, spiritual (not religious), single (mostly), grown-up kids, strong feminists.
Black Lives Matter has caused me to feel deep shame about the lack of diversity on my team. I’ve never gone out of my way to consciously include Indigenous people or others from different genders, races, ages, sexual preferences, socio-economic circumstances or political and religious beliefs.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow but one that I must. I’ve always considered myself a ‘woman of the world’. Now I know that I simply am not. My homogeneous team choices have narrowed my education, my thinking, my love and compassion for all human beings. The knowledge sits in my gut like a cold, dark and heavy stone. All I can do right now is commit to change that. After awareness comes education and after education comes action.
We all miss out when we don’t fill our team with a diverse range of people that represent the full depth and breadth of humanity. It’s something I believe many people are contemplating and acting upon right now. If that’s you, let me know how you’re doing that. I’m keen to know.
As a thank you for following me, I’m offering The Purpose Project online course for just $97 (RRP $297) today. Use the coupon code ‘Purpose2020’.
As always, if I can be of service reach out. I’m here. I care.
PS If you missed my recent podcast Conversations on The Coronation. Listen here
About me: I’m a Purpose Educator and author of The Purpose Project. I help leaders attract and retain the best people by harnessing the power of deep purpose and storytelling. I do this through The Purpose Project for Companies, a customised consultative process for co-creating a new purpose statement and The Purpose Project Course, a 7-step online course to help employees bring their own why to work.