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Leadership & Executive Coaching

Embrace difference: stand by for fresh thinking

Sunday, 23rd of November 2014

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover my last newsletter was opened in over 25 countries. It was exciting to realise how far and wide my audience is - literally all over the world and growing.
It made me think about the subject of diversity, culture and inclusion. It can be a touchy subject. We have a tendency to work and be with people that are like us rather than those that are different. It’s human nature.
I live in London - a city of a huge diversity and culture. According to the most recent census there are 100 different languages spoken in almost every London borough.

I’ve also lived in several other countries and I’ve seen first-hand the importance, and the rewards, of embracing differences in culture and background – on a personal level and in business.
If we embrace diversity we can challenge the staid and boring sameness, and make sure we connect in a more authentic engaging way , and with a larger audience.

Different people bring contrasting skill sets and by including people from different cultures in our teams we create a vibrant melting pot of ideas and fresh thinking. It’s great for our personal development as it pushes our comfort zone, belief system and raises our emotional intelligence.

One very obvious way in which we have gained through accepting cultural diversity is in the choice of food we now have in our restaurants, take-aways and in our shops. And celebrity chefs cook all sorts of food, from roasts to authentic curries and exotic desserts.

With that in mind think about the opportunities that could open up for you and your business if you engage with people of different cultures and backgrounds. Think of the new and exciting directions it could lead you in.
Remember that brilliant HSBC ad campaign that showed the importance of recognising cultural diversity and adapting accordingly? Here’s a reminder. And another.

As the ads show, as well giving us a personally enriching experience, there are obvious business benefits to embracing diversity. So here are a couple of things to think about.

  • How do you engage with people from different backgrounds to yours?
  • Consider how your sales and marketing materials may translate to other cultures.
  • Does your management style work across cultures different to your own?
  • Do you already adapt or could you do more?

I’d like to share my own vision and mission for my business, which I wrote in 2006:
I work with people to enrich their lives by dreaming big and making small changes that have a huge impact. I see each individual become the leader in their life and confidently shine their individuality. As they shine their light, others join in and do the same. The power of this this joint light brings people together across cultures, colours and continents. This creates a community where difference is respectfully valued and the gaps are replaced by strong, powerful bridges.

And I'll leave you with this wonderful quote from Anita Moorjani author of ‘Dying to be Me’

"In the tapestry of life, we're all connected. Each one of us is a gift to those around us, helping each other be who we are, weaving a perfect picture together."

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