YKK Stories

2019-07-29 Issue 110 – Fundamental Behavior 5 – Embrace Diversity

September 13, 2019
Author: YKK
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I have been blessed to work for a company that I feel truly does embrace diversity and has done so since its humble beginnings.

While the word “diversity” can be and has been analyzed thoroughly for all the many aspects it can represent, I would like also like to focus on the word “embrace.” “Embrace diversity” does not just mean to accept it or agree to understand or tolerate it.  It means to willingly and enthusiastically support diversity, and to “take this action to one’s heart.”  I feel you can only do that by willingly reaching out and being proactive in the process.  Take time to get to know all your colleagues and listen to their feelings and ideas.  Then learn from them and share your thoughts and ideas back with them. Be open.

A strong workplace has a variety of ideologies. This helps us connect with customers and also avoids the type of mindset where everyone thinks the same way and leaves us open to failure.

I have been fortunate that my job has allowed me to travel and given me the opportunity to truly embrace diversity in different countries. For over 10 years from 1990 to 2000, I spent about 3 weeks of every month traveling all over the country of Mexico.  Through these travels, I made many great friends in Torreon, Mexico City, Puebla, Aguascalientes and Irapuato. How fortunate I was to be able to learn and grow from those experiences.

Many of us don’t have the opportunity to travel for our jobs, but we can still enjoy the same experiences just by reaching out to others within the YKK office and company we work at.  Embracing diversity at our workplaces has many benefits.

Anka Wittenberg, SVP and Chief Diversity Officer at SAP, has summarized it very well. Look her up.  She is well published and considered an expert on the subject.

Anka’s 4 Ways to Embrace Diversity for Workplace Success

  1. Learn to think like an intrapreneur.

Intrapreneurship, or disrupting internal processes or cultural norms, is at its heart about innovation. When faced with a difficult task or situation, seek out advice from new and diverse sources. Most likely you will find an improved approach.

  1. Discover new places to network.

Simply by connecting through social media channels such as Twitter or LinkedIn, where you can virtually engage in conversations with anyone, you put yourself in a position for growth. Inside your organization, you can join or organize a powerful employee network with a diverse set of peers. While interacting with your network, look for, accept and appreciate differences.

  1. Focus on the strengths everybody brings to the table.

Challenge yourself to appreciate the differences of others and see them as potential drivers of change. The more opinions, the more variety, and the more diversity we bring to the table the more we can unchain our creativity.

  1. Stand up to discrimination.

Stand up if you see or experience discrimination. Raise your voice for the unheard opinion. Help others appreciate how every person has a different strength and realize that in that strength there is opportunity to grow and be more productive.

Brian Miller
Director and Jeans Industry Leader
YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.