2020-02-03 Issue 132 – Fundamental Behavior 5 – Embrace Diversity
Growing up, I tended to think that my life story was unique and absolutely no one else could ever relate to what I experienced. I moved around a lot as a child and lived in California, New Mexico, Texas, and New York. I went into college thinking that only I had lived a colorful life. However, my belief system was challenged when I got to college. I attended a small college in Massachusetts that was fortunate enough to attract students from North America, Europe, Africa, and South America. In my classes and on campus, I was exposed to people from different cultures and walks of life. Everyone had a story! And mine was not strange – many people I met had moved around a lot or had their own unique experiences that made their life stories interesting. I realized that what my classmates and I had in common was that each of us had our own individual tales to tell and paths that led us to the same place.
I have carried forward into my adult life my appreciation for learning about people’s life stories. I find that people I met in law school, the law firms I worked at afterward, the professional organizations I belong to, and at YKK all have experiences that make them unique. But what we all have in common is that we each have something special that we bring to the table. We have a different viewpoint created from life experiences that no one else has. As a result, each of us has problem solving skills that we can pool to develop creative solutions.
I often marvel at the great ideas that are generated during team meetings that I attend at YKK. It has been my experience that the best teams are the ones whose members are open to hearing all ideas from everyone at the table. It is important to have different voices and viewpoints present so that different ideas can be heard, shared, and considered. It is true that every idea is not one that should be implemented. However, for every great idea that materializes into something fantastic, there was much trial and error and idea generation that was exhausted beforehand.
I have been fortunate to work with many interesting people at YKK and to get to know them and hear their stories. There are many ways to get to know people here. I have found that reading the weekly Fundamental Behavior messages and discussing the Fundamental Behaviors at meetings is a great way to learn more about my NCA colleagues. I love learning new things about my colleagues’ lives. Which types of music, podcasts, and audiobooks they listen to during their drives into work. Who just read an inspiring book on leadership. I also enjoy learning why they find those things interesting.
I have two challenges for you this week:
1) Learn something new about one of your colleagues. What is their favorite book? What is their favorite movie? What is their favorite vacation spot? I bet it will be interesting.
2) Raise a suggestion in your next meeting or be open to a colleague’s suggestion. Don’t be afraid that your idea won’t be received well. It could be the idea that your team is waiting for but no one else has thought of it. And, don’t dismiss a suggestion just because it hasn’t been done before or it isn’t completely aligned with your own idea.
Have a great week.
Director and Senior Corporate Counsel
YKK Corporation of America