Transforming Hidden Talents into High Performance



Santa Claus was an Inclusive Employer

According to Inclusive Employers, an inclusive employer is committed to developing an inclusive workplace. They avoid the pitfalls of discrimination, and they work to get more from their workforce. This is a terrific commitment. Imagine the good will they have with customers, clients and employees. There is evidence that effective inclusion raises performance at all levels and increases productivity in measurable ways. Great plan, but the problem is that small businesses typically cannot afford to spend valuable resources needed to learn how to become more inclusive, to develop an inclusion plan, and especially to implement the plan.

Well, Santa Claus was an inclusive employer, but based on the well-known story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, he didn’t get training or have a plan for inclusion. What he had was a desire to get the work done. Little Rudolph had been the butt of jokes and mistreatment by the other reindeer. He looked different and had this odd looking large red nose. The others didn’t have such a nose, so naturally they assumed (without thinking) that Rudolph couldn’t do the one thing that reindeer on the North Pole are there to do?pull Santa?s sleigh all over the world to deliver toys to children on Christmas Eve.

Then came the very foggy Christmas Eve. Timely toy delivery was at risk. None of the other reindeer had attributes that could save the day. But Santa noticed that Rudolph?s nose was special and asked him to lead the way.

I see a lot of lessons worth noting in this story. There is someone who is different. Because of the difference, he is seen as being less than the others, not as able or as competent. This assumption is usually made without any critical thinking?it?s just an unexamined assumption. Then something changes. It could be an environment change, a demographic change, or technological change. We?re facing all of them in our workplaces today! The other reindeer still did not see value in Rudolph. This is pretty typical?we have to be mindful of change and consciously see our world through different eyes to see the hidden talent embodied in others and ourselves. It?s not easy, and usually hidden talent remains hidden.

Santa was an inclusive employer. He was able to see the ?hidden? talent he needed and saved the day. He didn’t choose Rudolph out of a sense of guilt or a desire to be meet employment equity requirements. He didn’t have a diversity management plan. He wanted to put the best reindeer in the right place to get the job done.

As a manager, are you overlooking the talent in your midst because of unexamined assumptions? You can learn about those assumptions?most of which are unconscious?with the tools that I can provide you. Invite me to your organization for a group assessment and training. In coming months you will also be able to subscribe to my website to get monthly tips on the every-day actions you can take as a manager working with different cultures.

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