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Facing the Possibility of Going Over A Cultural Cliff

CliffDwellings200095

It couldn’t have been lightning. Election of a biracial POTUS struck twice in the same place. Exuberant cries of a “Post-Racial America” rise from the streets and descend from the airwaves. The demise of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and legalized gay marriage promise a Post-Sexual Preference America.  Women in combat positions spurred one American soldier’s “Post-Gender” prediction of a gender-neutral military within ten years. Women the new political majority, white males second, immigration dialog focused on Latinos and Asians, rapid growth of the Islamic community, all just a beginning of the fulfillment of the promised demography, right on schedule. Demographic dominoes topple, signaling a “Post-Diversity America.”

Diversity dialog, pro and con, peppers the media and Internet. In tandem, Diversity posters pepper corporate walls, physical brick and mortar walls, as well as corporate website and Facebook walls. But…might corporate C-Suites consider diversity awareness and a peaceful transition to a diverse workforce to be enough — a mission accomplished?  Are C-Suites considering that current levels of heterogeneity are at least approaching a Post-Diversity state of affairs? Could “enough” be a primary driver for the seeming slowdown and midflight stall-out of Corporate Diversity programs around the nation?

Not to be lightly brushed aside are the nagging voices of unmet expectations from those who view Corporate Diversity as having largely failed to bring about loftier results of equity and parity rather than merely a new demographic for the working class and working poor.

The Hindenburg is an icon of tragic failure. Few could imagine buying tickets for the inaugural flight of the “Hindenburg II.”  Yet, Human Resources and Diversity consultants are desperately trying to reinvent Corporate Diversity, busily pinning tails on Diversity Programs, “Inclusion,” “Transformational,” “Innovative,” “Disruptive,” “Dignity & Respect,” “Civility,” each prefix/addendum a tacit admission of the failure to achieve those things with Diversity 1.0 alone, yet each vying for Diversity 2.0 status.  Who is ready to climb on board, given the tragic in-flight failure of Version 1.0?

America may be having its “Hey, wait a minute!” moment after decades of being trapped in a blithesome sound bite. An amorphous term and equally ambiguous management process, “Diversity” operated at full tilt without metrics, like a treadmill stuck in the “High Speed” position with no speedometer or distance gauge. Is corporate America looking for a way to gracefully jump off, absent a clear business case for staying on board? Or dare it drive off the “Cultural Cliff” with nothing to replace Diversity as a more meaningful vehicle for organizational and professional management of the cultural conflict that accompanies diversity?

InclusiveWorks™ has developed a set of operational principles for averting that cultural precipice.  Contact us for a look at the CultureNeutral™ Framework and how it can benefit your organization, or your career.

© Robert D. Jones 2013, All Rights Reserved

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