Diversity is everywhere, and encompasses far more than what we typically think it does. Most often, we restrict diversity to race, gender, sexual orientation or religion, for example. But diversity also includes geographic and socio-economic backgrounds, education, personality, learning styles, communication styles and much, much more. Within an organization, too, there are additional layers of diversity, such as roles, titles, office locations, departments—we could go on with many more examples. So, given the fact that there are so many aspects to diversity and that it is a natural part of our daily lives, it makes sense that we all understand that diversity is here and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. And that is where the challenge really begins.
We often live our lives happily because our choices may be “working” for us. On other occasions we may not even be thinking about our day-to-day actions—we simply act and respond out of habit. However, whether knowingly or not, our decisions and choices generally contain elements of inclusion or exclusion. And, within the context of a law firm, this fact can be crucial as careers can advance or be cut short based on relationships—both internal and external. Building awareness of how we make inclusive and exclusive decisions can’t help but be beneficial.
To that end, we must challenge ourselves to start exploring what we think, say and do. We can ask ourselves: Where did I hear that point? Are there other perspectives? Did I end my search for answers too abruptly? And, if you were to revisit a message with this question—Is it still true and is it the best choice?—would you continue with the same course of action? Consider the power of collaborative potential, a critical reason for being aware of how we relate. The Japanese proverb “None of us is as smart as all of us,” is an interesting perspective on innovation and inclusion. Thinking more broadly can be fun, inclusive and empowering.