It’s a priority at EPM to not only be inclusive of people from different backgrounds, genders, and cultures; but to include people who may have radically different perspectives on the same issues and different viewpoints on how to solve problems.
It feels counterintuitive sometimes to embrace disagreement in order to create solutions. It can be uncomfortable and takes some adjustment at first. But with ground rules in place for truly embracing our diversity and learning how to come together, we can make monumental shifts not only in the success of our organization but the success of our industry.
Growth Through Discomfort
Finding people that think differently and bringing them together is not a new idea. Abraham Lincoln did this in the 1800s. As the leader of a country that was heavily divided, he still knew that the greatest ideas come from an understanding, respect for, and collaboration of different perspectives. The gifts from people who can lend a different perspective put new energy into forwarding evolution.
Unifying is not about agreeing or kowtowing to every idea. It’s about leaning into learning other points of view even when they make us uncomfortable. It’s about finding ways to have honest and candid discussions with people we disagree with, knowing we still have the same end goal in mind.
Having experienced the things I did as a Cuban immigrant’s son has informed my worldview in unique ways. The benefit has been to come together with other leaders and people who empower others, share our differences and diversities, and find opportunities and solutions that would have never been created if we lived in an echo chamber. The ability to humble ourselves and admit where we have made mistakes that we have learned from, take action, reflect, adjust, celebrate wins, and keep going has contributed to EPM’s success and sustainability.
The Impact on our Communities Inside and Outside of EPM
When we embrace true diversity and inclusion, we have a two-way street with how benefits and successes are translated through our culture plan. We strive to listen more and give opportunities to authentically meet the diverse needs of the people who come to work with us every day. We prioritize finding ways to address the challenges they may be facing and implement upgrades and resources so we can encourage a healthy momentum.
Embracing diversity of thought and perspective makes it possible to face challenges with innovation. It helps us set goals to meet both predictable and unforeseen challenges. We can create motivation within our teams and look at performance through a different lens. We need the planners and the creatives, the logical and the free thinkers, the managers, and the performers. Seeing the value in the differences is essential to moving us forward.
If we present education and consumer opportunities to our communities with this same concept of inclusive thinking, we can paint the picture using different perspectives, and help people consider all the facts. We gain trust and a reputation of integrity as we move forward, knowing we’ve considered and challenged barriers, investigated obstacles, and helped create empowered and satisfied consumers. This naturally translates to a culture shift with individuals who report having positive impacts at work, and in their daily lives as parents, partners, friends, and community leaders.