On Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show in 1969, comedian George Gobel joined Bob Hope and Dean Martin as guests. Gobel said, “When you come out last, did you ever get the feeling the world is a tuxedo and you’re a pair of brown shoes?”
I’m sure many of us have felt the same way when we showed up last or late and everyone else is already involved in conversation. What makes the situation even more uncomfortable is that no one breaks out from their groups to greet you. And for many people of diversity, it happens even if they are on time.
This could happen at a small business meeting, a conference, a church gathering or a party or even at a restaurant or business meeting when no one is there to greet you. It’s an uncomfortable and often awkward feeling, to say the least. Being ignored is being just that – ignored; even if it’s just for a few minutes.
The “Type A” personalities have difficulty with this situation, too, and are especially critical when it happens. On the other hand, you have a responsibility to seek out the leader and introduce yourself. To become included doesn’t mean you have to wait for others to always make the initial introduction.
Businesses and organizations are now recognizing the importance of inclusion with their members, employees, vendor and suppliers and, most importantly, their clients. Inclusion simply is the state of being included. It means respecting other people’s values and treating people fairly. If you are not included, then you are not on the team. Everyone in your company or organization should be engaged/included in the goals and operating process to make your team run efficiently. Would you want to work in a place where you didn’t feel included? NOT! Nor would you want to do business with someone who ignored you.
The positive side is that businesses and organizations that have become more aware of the importance of inclusion of their employees and partners in the workplace have become more successful and profitable. Diversity plays a big part. We are often too quick to judge people based on their gender, race, religion, sexual preference, politics, disability, dress, geography or culture. We all do it. We have to get over it, and quickly, as in NOW.
Getting along with others can be a real challenge for us at times. We can make the challenge less difficult by setting aside our assumptions and our pre-judgements. Let’s look beyond the “outside” of others and instead accept the fact that on the inside we are all equal in many ways. Let us not look for fault, but look for solutions. In so doing, your group or business will find that teamwork you were missing, and positive results will occur. Recognizing diversity and implementing inclusion in your business or organization is paramount to success.
Northern Arizona SCORE is dedicated to the “Infusion of Inclusion” in our relationships with our clients, our volunteers and our community. We teach it to our clients via mentoring and workshops. And we prove it by treating everyone fairly and respectfully. If you are interested in becoming a SCORE volunteer or meeting with a Certified SCORE mentor to help your business or to help others, please call us at 928-778-7438 or visit northernarizona.score.org/. QCBN
By Jerry Jones
Jerry Jones is the president of SCORE.