Tag Archives: diversity


ABC Resolution: jelly beans

jelly beans

May 7 – May 20
What if you really liked different?

Jelly beans, those sweet little treats, come in all sorts of colors and flavors. On the surface they seem pretty much the same — similar sized outsides, same jelly insides. Upon closer look they aren’t. Jelly beans are, well, different. Some jelly beans are solid coated, some are speckled and some are even misshapen. The real wonderfulness of jelly beans? They don’t all taste alike. Of course, there are the classic flavors like lemon, lime and orange. Then there are jelly beans with flavors like liver, popcorn, rotten egg, ear wax, dirty socks and …

Why put in flavors that someone may not like? Because, no matter what they look like on the outside or what they taste like on the inside, someone will like them. The more variety, the wider appeal. The wider the appeal, the more new flavor ideas are invented and consumed. Their intrinsic and inherent diversity is deliciously valuable. Treat everyone you work with, everyone you know and everything you do like jelly beans.

 resolve to: enjoy flavor


Why connect our work relationships to a jelly bean analogy? Why not, say, talk about M&Ms®? As employees the latter are no muss, no fuss and always there in readiness (not melted) when you need them. Because the difference in the two candies is a comment on true diversity. The latter candy is all the same, except for a few different colors, on the outside and all the same on the inside. This is homogeneousness, not diversity. Too many companies claim that because they have people of different colors, genders, races, ages, et al, they are diverse. Look deeper into their true culture, however, and you most often find their policies and procedures influence everyone to act, perform and be alike.

Jelly beans value difference and different outcomes. The consequences of all-the-same is a simple equation,  1 + 0 =1,  one input plus zero difference equals one, predetermined solution. As a company, department, team, et al, you need creativity and innovation, a diverse set of ideas and answers to succeed and survive. This won’t come from a group of all-the-same nature. All-the-same may have worked in the past for single-tasked, factory jobs, but even those repetitive jobs now require qualitative thinking, judgment and reasoning. 21st century businesses and work need an inclusive business strategy to succeed.

So, the next time you think about sending that boisterous, opinionated, rotten-egg-tasting jelly bean employee over to HR to be retrained and assimilated, stop and rethink. That person is probably just the flavor you need to attract a new target market or expand an old one; find a way to refine a current process or invent a better one; see work from a different perspective that results in a whole new product and profit line. Toss out that flavor and you wind up tossing out your company’s new possibilities. Keep tossing, so all the employees are the same perfect shape, size and taste, and pretty soon you have a business with as few offerings and solutions as you have varieties of flavors. The fastest way to a flash-in-the-pan, non-sustainable growth and future I know.




Microaggression – I finally have a name for a very real and rapidly growing problem. One I have experienced on numerous occassions over the last few years.


Thank you to Columbia University professor of psychology and education Dr. Derald Wing Sue for his work in this area (and the above video). I look forward to reading his book. Also thank you to Gayle Kiser. Director of Communications and Marketing, CUPA-HR,  for her blog post I found that introduced me to the word.

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Kudos to Eliza Barclay of NPR for raising the Girl Scout cookies issue. Except, everyone continues to miss the point. Girl Scouts is about teaching girls, not about selling cookies. Three years ago approached my local cookie table and ask if they had a healthy cookie. The experience so shocked and saddened me, in response, I wrote this story for the book, reprinted for anyone interested in different possibilities for future girls.

Cookies – the story

What if different leaders really led differently?

Last year, 2012, the mothers and daughters were out again in force selling boxes of cookies. I buy cookies faithfully every year and this year was no exception. Neither was the fact that I typically spend the previous months trying to manage my weight. Unfortunately, most, if not all, of the ingredients in these cookies are on the bad-for-me list — processed white flour, check; unrefined white sugar, check; hidden artificial flavor, check. As I like to support what might be budding female entrepreneurs, this year, as I went to purchase the cookies, I thought I’d go and find out if they finally had a cookie I could happily eat. Continue reading


ABC Resolution: fractals

fractals: March 12 – March 25

What is different work patterns were already repeating all around you?

A leaf looks like a branch which looks like a tree. A stone looks like a rock which looks like a mountain. Small to large, zooming in and out, and infinitely repeating, fractals are a complex geometry of shapes recurring over a wide range of scales. Is it no mistake that the World Wide Web is a repeating pattern of a spider web? Will we someday see, at its largest dimension, the pattern of the universe as that self-similar web? Employ the concept of fractals to uncover our next great social system or business innovation. We are surrounded by undetected, natural iterations, easily recognizable once we are aware of their possibility.

resolve to: recognize patterns

Women Take a Seat

take a seatBest way to spend an evening? Share ideas, stories and experiences with a great group of people. Congratulations to close the gap ca and Planned Parenthood Mar Monte for bringing together great women for a great cause – increase the number of progressive women in the California Legislature.

Here are some stats I learned last nite:

  • Women only hold 26% of the California Legislature seats but are over 50% of the population, and that number is declining.
  • 57 seats will be open on account of term limits in 2012, which means nearly half the seats in the state legislature will come open in the 2014 or 2016 elections. This is opportunity now.
  • Women often wait to be asked to run rather than self nominate. So start asking them.
  • Women win elections as often as men, they just don’t run as frequently. Let’s break this pattern.

Why should we have more women in politics? Continue reading