How Do You See Diversity 2009年6月
As a manager, Tiffany is responsible for interviewing applicants for some of the positions with her company. During one interview, she noticed that the candidate never made direct eye contact. She was puzzled and somewhat disappointed because she liked the individual otherwise.
He had a perfect resume and gave good responses to her questions, but the fact that he never looked her in the eye said “untrustworthy,” so she decided to offer the job to her second choice.
“It wasn’t until I attended a diversity workshop that I realized the person we passed over was the perfect person,” Tiffany confesses. What she hadn’t known at the time of the interview was that the candidate’s “different” behavior was simply a cultural misunderstanding. He was an Asian-American raised in a household where respect for those in authority was shown by averting (避开) your eyes.
“I was just thrown off by the lack of eye contact; not realizing it was cultural,” Tiffany says. “I missed out, but will not miss that opportunity again.”
Many of us have had similar encounters with behaviors we perceive as different. As the world becomes smaller and our workplaces more diverse, it is becoming essential to expand our understanding of others and to reexamine some of our false assumptions.
At a time when hiring qualified people is becoming more difficult, employers who can eliminate invalid biases (偏见) from the process have a distinct advantage. My company, Mindsets LLC, helps organizations and individuals see their own blind spots. A real estate recruiter we worked with illustrates the positive difference such training can make.
“During my Mindsets coaching session, I was taught how to recruit a diversified workforce. I recruited people from different cultures and skill sets. The agents were able to utilize their full potential and experiences to build up the company. When the real estate market began to change, it was because we had a diverse agent pool that we were able to say in the real estate market much longer than others in the same profession.”
Blinded by Gender
Dale is an account executive who attended one of my workshops on supervising a diverse workforce. “Through one of the sessions, I discovered my personal bias,” he recalls. “I learned I had not been looking at a person as a whole person, and being open to differences.” In his case, the blindness was not about culture but rather gender.
“I had a management position open in my department; and the two finalists were a man and a woman. Had I not attended this workshop, I would have automatically assumed the man was the best candidate because the position required quite a bit of extensive travel. My reasoning would have been that even though both candidates were great and could have been successful in the position, I assumed the woman would have wanted to be home with her children and not travel.” Dale’s assumptions are another example of the well-intentioned but incorrect thinking that limits an organization’s ability to tap into the full potential of a diverse workforce.
“I learned from the class that instead of imposing my gender biases into the situation. I needed to present the full range of duties, responsibilities and expectations to all candidates and allow them to make an informed decision.” Dale credits the workshop, “because it helped me make decisions based on fairness.”
Year of the Know-It-All
Doug is another supervisor who attended one of my workshops. He recalls a major lesson learned from his own employee.
“One of my most embarrassing moments was when I had a Chinese-American employee put in a request to take time off to celebrate Chinese New Year. In my ignorance, I assumed he had his dates wrong’, as the first of January had just passed. When I advised him of this, I gave him a tong talking-to about turning in requests early with the proper dates.
“He patiently waited, then when I was done, he said he would like Chinese New Year off, not the Western New Year. He explained politely that in his culture the New Year did not begin January first, and that Chinese New Year, which is tied to the lunar cycle, is one of the most celebrated holidays on the Chinese calendar. Needless to say, I felt very embarrassed in assuming he had his dates mixed up. But I learned a great deal about assumptions, and that the timing of holidays varies considerably from culture to culture.
“Attending the diversity workshop helped me realize how much I could learn by simply asking questions and creating dialogues with my employees, rather than making assumptions and trying to be a know-it-all,” Doug admits. “The biggest thing I took away from the workshop is learning how to be more ‘inclusive’ to differences.”
A Better Bottom Line
An open mind about diversity not only improves organizations internally, it is profitable as well. These comments from a customer service representative show how an inclusive attitude can improve sales. “Most of my customers speak English as a second language. One of the best things my company has done is to contract with a language service that offers translations over the phone. It wasn’t until my boss received Mindsets’ training that she was able to understand how important inclusiveness was to customer service. As a result, our customer base has increased.”
Once we start to see people as individuals, and discard the stereotypes, we can move positively toward inclusiveness for everyone. Diversity is about coming together and taking advantage of our differences and similarities. It is about building better communities and organizations that enhance us as individuals and reinforce our shared humanity.
When we begin to question our assumptions and challenge what we think we have learned from our past, from the media, peers, family, friends, etc., we begin to realize that some of our conclusions are flawed (有缺陷的) or contrary to our fundamental values. We need to train ourselves to think differently, shift our mindsets and realize that diversity opens doors for all of us, creating opportunities in organizations and communities that benefit everyone.
1. What bothered Tiffany during an interview with her candidate? （正确答案：A）
A) He just wouldn’t look her in the eye.
B) He was slow in answering her questions.
C) His resume didn’t provide the necessary information.
D) His answers to some of her questions were irrelevant.
分析：第一题，根据关键词Tiffany 结合bothered对应在全文开头的第二句话。A选项wouldn’t look her in the eye 对应原文never made direct eye contact，正确。
2. What kind of organization is Mindsets LLC? （正确答案：B）
A) A real estate agency.
B) A personnel training company.
C) A cultural exchange organization.
D) A hi-tech company.
分析：根据关键词Mindsets LLC对应在全文第一个小标题中。原文helps organizations and individuals see their own blind spots 帮助公司和个人认识到自身的盲区，并且在下文反复出现training、coaching、taught，可以得知这是一个培训机构，B选项正确。
3. Doug felt ____ when he realized that his assumption was wrong.
分析：根据关键词Doug对应在全文第三个小标题。原文第二段开头就出现了最高级的重要考点One of my most embarrassing moments，同时在第三段的中间出现了I felt very embarrassed in assuming he had his dates mixed up，题干中的wrong对应mixed up，assumption对应assuming，felt对应felt，正确答案very embarrassed。