I recall reading a comment from Willie Randolph, the former New York Yankee great, about the rejections he received every time he interviewed to be the manager of a professional baseball team. Randolph would state, “it’s their loss.” That statement has continued to stay with me over the course of my career. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, Randolph held his head high, maintained confidence in himself and pushed forward.
Despite the fact that he had the requisite experience and qualifications to be a highly successful baseball manager, Randolph was consistently denied the opportunity. He eventually became a major league manager—and a winning one at that, leading the New York Mets to a league-best record and the National League Championship Series—but not after several rejections. Randolph knew why he was being rejected and the reason was because he looked nothing like the other major league managers.
Sadly, there are many scenarios similar to Willie Randolph’s that play out every day in corporate America. And sadly, it is corporate America’s loss when we deny people like him a fair hearing and opportunity simply because he does not fit the profile of what came before him. As the chief executive officer of a global technology corporation, I am intent on making sure our environment does not deny, ignore and exclude people of enormous talent and ability to fulfill their potential.
It starts with a focus around culture. Are we a culture that embraces differences? This means going outside the normal channels of recruitment. People who bring experiences from different companies, schools, etc. are a welcomed spice and mix to our flavor of business. In fact, 78% of the people who report to me are either people of color or female. I firmly believe that this has led to a more inclusive and intellectually stimulating culture. Everybody is not the same nor should they be.
Business is dynamic and you need creative-thinking individuals from all backgrounds and experiences on your team to navigate these difficult changes. Having a diverse group that brings different perspectives to the table is a critical component to the creative disruption necessary to compete, grow and ultimately win in this marketplace. Diversity and inclusion, I firmly believe, is the cornerstone to creating that disruption.
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