by Linda Jimenez
Chief Diversity Officer and Staff Vice President Diversity and Inclusion
We’ve started a new year and as we said goodbye to 2010, we had an opportunity to review where we stood in terms of our personal goals as well as our organizational metrics. For corporate diversity practitioners, this review inevitably covers the perspective of how well the company performed in terms of leveling the playing field.
Leveling the playing field refers to the fairness with which individuals are treated and the allocation of opportunities within not only organizations, but across society. For example, the handicap in Wii’s Tetris game levels the playing field in the competition between me and my kids, in much the same way that computers, the Internet and social media have leveled the playing field in business, enabling small and minority- and women-owned businesses to compete with larger, more well-established businesses.
“Leaders in business organizations are expected to take actions that help their companies succeed.”
A level playing field typically means that all people have a fair chance, based on their ability and initiative, to realize their potential. I am a “high-hope” diversity practitioner, one who has the determination or mental energy used to initiate and sustain goal-directed action that includes routes around or beyond obstacles to goal attainment. In today’s woeful economic times, amidst budget cuts, reductions in force and restructuring, it is individuals with resilient personalities who are survivors and who are prepared to be successful diversity and inclusion change leaders.
Leaders in business organizations are expected to take actions that help their companies succeed. Leaders often become high-hope individuals because achieving success requires the development and encouragement of corporate cultures that motivate associates to realize their full potential. In the context of increasingly diverse workforce demographics, the success of cultural diversity and inclusion initiatives is directly related to the extent to which they infuse hope into organizational cultures, which means supporting the dignity and encouraging the hopefulness of all associates.
In setting goals, it is important to harness that magnificent and creative quality of imagination. Take a few moments and review what your intention is when you set goals. Use your imagination in whatever way feels appropriate for you – visualize, sense or know – and feel yourself in the place where your goal is accomplished and working well. For example, your workforce demographics at all levels in the organization match the demographics locally, regionally or nationally, or your employee resource groups are clearly integrated into the business operations of your company and support the company’s growth strategies.
As you imagine this accomplishment, what emotions are present? Is it power, safety, contentment, peace? The emotion present will provide the creative energy necessary to keep yourself inspired. These emotions and understanding will provide the perseverance required to overcome the challenges that may arise and address setbacks that occur, or to develop new relationships that may be necessary to achieve your goals. My high-hope attitude comes from one of my favorite quotes: “Goals: There is no telling what you can do when you get inspired by them. There is no telling what you can do when you believe in them. There is no telling what will happen when you act upon them.” —Jim Rohn, Author and Speaker.
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Linda Jimenez is a native of San Antonio, Texas, and attended the University of Texas at Austin where she received her B.A. with honors. She is also a graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and has spent 20 years specializing in labor and employment law.