When I start talking to the mostly white male audiences about diversity, many think the following:
- I’m calling them racists and misogynists.
- I want them to blindly hire more women and minorities with no regard to talent or skill.
- I want them to admit their sins and repent.
None of these are true. In fact, my focus on diversity has very little to do with women and minorities. Don’t get me wrong, the AEC industry needs more women and minorities. It not only will make us stronger and better with more diverse ideas, it will go a long way to solve the current workforce development crisis. We’re currently driving away millions of women and minorities because they don’t see the opportunities. Take a look at most boards and C suites. It’s mostly white males. Take a look at middle and top managers. Again, mostly white males. There are few women and minorities coming into the industry and many of the ones who enter don’t stay.
My focus is more about embracing differences of all types. The lack of women and minorities are just a symptom of a much larger issue. We are not good at disruptive change and embracing new ways of working. It shows up in the typical emotional profile for the industry. As a group, we have high problem solving skills and reality testing (right/wrong thinking) and low flexibility. This profile indicates a tendency toward control and perfectionism. Great for specifications and processes. Not great for innovation, creativity and diversity.
So when you hear the word “diversity”, check it out. This concept of embracing new ways of doing things and new ideas will propel us into the next decade, and the industry will become stronger, more resilient, more agile, and more innovative. And the by product of more women and minorities will be icing on the cake.
Our course on diversity and inclusion explores these mental models and biases and gives you tools to be able to overcome them. And our course on innovation and creativity explores how to break down the barriers to innovation in yourself and your company. And if you want even more resources on emotional intelligence and all of the critical people skills your folks need to succeed, click here for information on our online courses called The Total Leadership Library.
If you want more free information and resources, download my white paper that includes two of my bestselling books and another white paper on how to build the people before you build the project. It will give you the tools you need to make your next project a huge success! Click here to download the white paper.