- Category: Advice & Tips
- Published: May 29, 2013
- Written by Tru Pettigrew
Building a successful career requires a lot of things, and in today’s workforce, the ability to embrace and effectively integrate into a diverse organization is high on that list of requirements. It’s ultimately about building and maintaining healthy relationships. We always hear about the importance of chemistry in a relationship, but it is typically associated with romance and/or sports teams. That same chemistry that fuels a marriage or propels a sports team to dominance will also help businesses thrive. It will also help you to succeed with your personal brand.
Young people entering the workforce today are experiencing organizations that do not necessarily share in the same spirit of inclusion and cultural curiosity that they are accustomed to. Millennials have grown up in a very diverse world where they are accustomed to a diverse circle o friends and experiences. The leadership in many of these organizations did not grow up with the same level of technology, diversity and experiences as this millennial generation and these differences obviously create a generation gap. Generation gaps, however, are nothing new; they exist from generation to generation. What is new though is the size of the gap that exists between the current leadership of Generation X’ers & Baby Boomers and Millennials.
The gap gets even wider for multicultural millennials that are entering the workforce. There is the generation gap to contend with that exists for all millennials, and then there is the additional layer of the cultural gap for the multicultural segment entering into corporate cultures with predominately 40+ white male leadership. This is why Culturational Chemistry is so important. Culturational Chemistry is the seamless inclusion, integration and productivity of culturally and generationally diverse teams that is achieved when both cultural and generational gaps are bridged among an organizations workforce.
Many organizations are just beginning to explore ways to bridge the generational gap that exists with millennials but have not yet properly addressed the culture gaps with the multicultural segment. Multicultural millennials that are entering the work force should not expect the onus to be on the companies alone to resolve this. I encourage the diverse young talents that are launching their careers to take as much ownership for their own destiny as possible. As much as I hold corporations accountable for creating stronger climates of inclusion across cultural, generational and gender lines, I also believe the individual has to play a role in impacting change as well.
It’s time we raise the B.A.R. With all due respect to all of the lawyers out there, below is a personal B.A.R. exam for my multicultural millennial all-stars to take. This will help ensure you are doing your part to achieve Culturational Chemistry in your career.
B – BELIEVE. You have to believe in yourself and what you do. If you do not believe in yourself and what you are doing, no one else will. Lack of belief will also reflect in a lack passion and conviction and it will show. Also know that just because you see or do things differently than others, this does not make the way you see or do things wrong. It’s just a different perspective. That perspective has been shaped by your background, culture, education and upbringing. The unique perspective that you bring adds tremendous value. Always be open and willing to learn and adjust, but do not feel compelled to suppress your culture and values to conform.
A – ACHIEVE. Let your work speak for itself. Do not feel that anyone owes you anything or that you are entitled to anything that you have not proven yourself for. Make sure that you clearly understand the goals and success measures for the organization and for you as an individual. Once you understand what the success measures are, you then have a proper point of reference for success and can evaluate your own report card. Put in the work and disprove any stereotypes and remove any stereotype threats. Remember that you are not rewarded for effort; it’s the results that matter. No Shortcuts.
R – RECEIVE. Be open to receiving information, insight and knowledge from others; particularly those that are older and more experienced. Just because you have a lot of information that does not mean you have a lot of knowledge. Be willing to receive from others that are willing to pour into you. Even if you think you know something, take the time to listen to those that are more experienced. We learn through repetition anyway, so even if you do know, it wont hurt you.