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.