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Can Batman fly?

As I sat in a coffee shop waiting for my friend and fellow entrepreneur to arrive, I couldn’t help but overhear snippets of conversation from two women at a table next to mine.

“So wait, Superman is an alien with powers and Batman is just a man with gadgets? I thought Batman could fly.”

“Yes, Batman is just a man with gadgets, but he can fly - he has a suit that lets him fly. But he can jump really high.”

“And Spiderman, is he an alien like Superman?”

“No, Spiderman was bitten by a spider which gave him magic.” 

“Oh. They should make a movie with Superman and Spiderman.”

“I believe they are working on one.”

At this point I was fidgeting in my seat, fighting the overwhelming urge to interrupt and correct them. That conversation desperately needed a little more diversity – someone like me, with a very healthy love for the superhero genre.

This led me to wonder, how many of these conversations are going on right now – conversations where someone is being given the wrong answers, but delivered with confidence? How many of these conversations are happening in our organization – Impacting profitability, organization liability, retention, safety? And, how many of those could be avoided with a more inclusive culture that values accuracy, and involvement?

Where are answers coming from in your culture?

When searching for answers in your organization – from the ramifications of regulations and new laws, to predicting how markets will react to changes in product and marketing, to knowing if batman can fly – where is information coming from?

Does your organization have the diversity it needs to have a holistic view to answer these important questions – the backgrounds, experiences, knowledge, passions, and interests?

Does your organization have the culture it needs to ensure that the answers are good ones? Do you have a culture that demands accuracy and validation of information and recognizes that water-cooler gossip and coffee chatter is just that – gossip and chatter? Does your culture welcome and value others contributing to the conversation and encourage people to branch outside their ‘circle’ to seek out answers from a wider, more diverse group when required?

Because if not… you may just end up with decisions driven by data about as accurate as “batman can fly?” and I don’t think anyone wants to be the company that wants to be in the news for developing the batman injection seat without a parachute (did I take the analogy a bit too far?)

And for the record… Batman cannot fly (on his own)

  • Batman cannot fly or jump really high – he is just a man with gadgets, though some of those gadgets include things that can fly or glide.

  • Spiderman is better described as mutated by the spider that bit him not as ‘having magic’

  • There will not be a movie with Superman and Spiderman because Superman is DC/Warner Brothers and Spiderman is Marvel/Disney. 

Whew! – I feel better now.

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