Columbus Day and Reflecting on Cultural Diversity

This Monday is the celebration of Columbus Day. The majority of the United States has kept this title, although a few cities like Berkeley, CA and Denver, CO have renamed it Indigenous People’s Day. Other states have decided not to recognize this day at all, and other countries title it, Day of Discovery, Day of Respect for Cultural Diversity and so on.

Dream Catchers

Politics aside, as organizations, it is important to reflect on one of the main focuses of this holiday – cultural diversity and for that matter, diversity in general. Working with a diverse group of people is critical for organizational success and sustainability.

Here are a few simple to implement ideas for increasing your diversity scope:

1)   Take a point from Apple’s and Google’s playbook and purposely try to situate yourself near people you have never met before. Both Apple and Google designed their headquarters to increase the chances of people randomly bumping into one another so as to encourage interaction. You can do this as well. Try taking your laptop and working in a different setting; you will meet new people and maybe gain some new perspectives.

2)   Keep an inclusive mind state. One step towards doing so would be to invite people from other departments to your meetings – and give them the chance to speak. When you open your team up to different points of view, it will help in expanding their ideas, and in turn, helps increase innovation and creativity.

3)   Think globally. When you are assigned a project and your team lacks cultural diversity, go online and research what other companies with similar projects are doing around the world. Such global benchmarking uncovers new possibilities.

4)   Network, Network, Network! Seek out meet up groups and/or associations that relate to your line of work and start meeting people. Or better yet, join groups that have nothing to do with your line of work and see if you can apply what you take away from the group members to your own area of expertise and knowledge.


These are just a few ideas. What other ones would you add? We want to have as many different ideas as possible.

Contributed By,

Rebecca Stern


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