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How Unintentional Racism Impedes Business Genius

By March 8, 2016 No Comments

Every organization has brilliant people who are “under the radar.” They are the geniuses who may not look like everyone else, think like everyone else, or who have been ignored because they don’t fit your image of success.

Despite the focus on diversity and numbers, and adding the word inclusion, there are those people who are potential game changers, innovators and revolutionary thinkers who do not feel included, remain unrecognized and unacknowledged and who will either leave to work for your competitors, start their own businesses or remain invisible.

Space invaders

Are you discovering and uncovering those hidden geniuses in your organization or are you oblivious to their possibilities and unaware of the obstacles that will make you miss out on the next big idea.

Here are three obstacles to finding the hidden genius in your organization or in potential candidates

  • Unconscious, conscious or “every day” racism and racial bias. Any kind of racism or racial bias in an organization results in either subtle or overt pressure to conform, labeling and stereotyping those who may speak, dress or think differently, or exclusion of people who express their ideas outside of an old structure or the group’s comfort zone.

Racism today is more than refusing to hire someone based on the color of their skin, supporting segregation or obvious discrimination. It shows up in not recognizing, believing or trivializing the experiences and perspectives of people with different color skin or physical characteristics, assuming someone is not qualified based on subjective factors and a racial bias, and not giving as much credence to their ideas.

Employees that feel invisible, shot down, and not heard will not speak up and share their genius.

Solution: Take the time to learn about the manifestation of racism and racial bias in the 21st century and examine your own behaviors and beliefs as well as those of your employees.

No matter how much you like an employee, how long they’ve worked with you, do not let comments and actions based on race go, or make excuses. Everyone has a responsibility to speak up.

Get to know employees that don’t look like you, and ask for innovative solutions and suggestions for new products and services. Find new ways for people to contribute and get their genius on.

Simma Lieberman

Author Simma Lieberman

More posts by Simma Lieberman

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