By Geraldine Plott, CPCU, FCLA, SCLA, AIC, ARM, AIS, AINS, CIIP, DAE, CLP
“Play nice and you need to share.” Remember these words? I feel sure as a child you heard them and if you have children or grandchildren, you have said them at some time. Play nice, a very simple sentence. Even at a very young age, the meaning was understood. What happened to that simple sentence as we grew up? When did we stop playing nice? Did we get too grown or become too competitive to play nice and share?
Today we hear the terms diversity and inclusion—is this the adult version of playing nice and sharing? No one wanted to be the last to be picked for a team, we all wanted to belong and be part of the group. Isn’t that inclusion? Did we forget that feeling of being left out — the feeling of being different? Do we hide behind anonymous posts on social media—is this ‘playing nice’?
Is gossip at the proverbial water fountain now considered the real meaning of ‘sharing’?
Is being different a bad thing or a good thing? What a boring world it would be if we were all alike; if we all looked alike, if we all thought alike. For many years our business culture forced diversity training on employees—but that training has been found to be ineffective. It placed people into categories causing noticeable separation.
Unfortunately, when we think about diversity, we think of it in black and white terms. Diversity is not about integration but about cultivating meaningful relationships. It’s about interacting with others in a way that is respectful and genuine—it’s about treating each person as the individuals they are. It’s about fostering an atmosphere of flexibility. It’s about including and encouraging individuals to participate and it’s about having genuine regard for the feelings, wishes and traditions of others. It’s about “playing nice” and “sharing”!
Many studies have focused on how diversity and inclusion affect the business industry. Diversity brings different perspectives, new ideas and new ways of doing things. These studies have shown that all cultures bring something to the table; something of value that can assist in how we do business. Inclusion in the workplace brings a more informative and productive element to the environment. Some studies have shown an increase in productivity and more satisfaction in the work force.
Every person has the ability to lead by example. Be part of the solution. Influence others by demonstrating your respect for others, your desire to seek diverse perspectives, your sincere desire to include everyone in the process/conversation/projects—by playing nice and sharing.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou
Geraldine Plott, CPCU, FCLA, SCLA, AIC, ARM, AIS, AINS, CIIP, DAE, CLP
Retired after more than 35 years in the industry – 20 years in operations and the last 15 in claims. A member of IAIP since 2002, holding many positions on all levels, Geraldine is a strong advocate for education and leadership.