America’s Founding “Bruhs”
When you think about it, America’s first startup was America itself. A group of visionary entrepreneurs come together, fail fast, disrupt the status quo, learn and iterate and change the world forever. Even the leadership team resembled something out of Silicon Valley, weighted along a homogenous gender and racial profile. But while the thinking and ideas that sprang from the minds of Jefferson, Madison and Franklin succeeded spectacularly, imagine where we’d be today if the Founding Fathers had also included a “Sally,” a “Barack,” or a “Sotomayor”?
“America is a nation of nations, made up of people from every land, of every race and practicing every faith. Our diversity is not a source of weakness; it is a source of strength. It is a source of our success.” Colin Powell
Diversity is a critical component for any organization’s ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment; introducing us to new perspectives, new ways of thinking, new ways to look at and solve problems. Sameness of perspective eventually leads to a sort of tunnel vision, where the collective team gets lost in its own tribal narrative. This leads to a sense of “Us vs Them,” with them being anyone who doesn’t share our mode of thinking. Social media reinforces this constricted outlook — witness your Facebook feed which is either celebrating or condemning the activities of California Senator, Kamala Harris in her first term as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
America’s current administration is a generational throwback, a text-book example on how not to hire; 87% Male and 87% White. Not surprisingly then, we get photo-ops like the below when Vice President Pence and a group of 30 all-male Republican representatives convened to discuss an amendment to AHCA, allowing states to revoke Medicaid coverage from new mothers who haven’t found a job within two months after giving birth.
It seems highly unlikely that having more diversity in past presidential administrations wouldn’t have worked through best and worst case scenarios and avoided some of the unimaginable pain suffered over the past 240 years as we’ve haltingly struggled to fulfill our country’s stated mission “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
That said, all the diversity in the world, won’t create lasting change unless we are all receptive to challenging our existing bias and remaining open to trying something new and untested.
“Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.” James Surowiecki
Happy Independence Day Everyone!