Read an Excerpt
Why This Book?
As an educator and speaker, I am grounded by a fundamental message that I have conveyed over the years to organizations who've sought my help in building platforms for the personal and professional growth of their people: The world is a collection of unlimited wealth and resources. Often, we limit our potential by moving in our own small circles because of our fears. If we change the way we view the world, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.
This sentiment is important to me because it represents a different kind of thinking -- a thinking that gives you the confidence that you can be, do, and accomplish anything.
Diversity: Leaders Not Labels is about changing the way we think about our possibilities, which is not just an option these days, it is a requirement. We are moving into an ownership society where we must become more accountable for how we are viewed and defined. The question can sometimes be ask "Who owns you?" The answer needs to be "I do."
Today we are challenged to keep reinventing ourselves while not limiting our potential as we work within the system. Growth and change do not always come easily because so many of us are programmed to stay in a box based on how we've been labeled.
We end up stuck in a routine, doing the same thing over and over, locked in place with no growth. While education is important, we get fooled into believing it's the principal tool for growth, as we memorize, take a test, get labeled with a grade and regurgitate information to teachers. Asked a couple weeks later what we learned, we've probably forgotten.
So how do you grow? How do you reinvent yourself when your core base is weak and you don't know who you are? How do you build that foundation for thinking and developing if you haven't defined yourself and taken control of your life? The millions of people of all races, backgrounds, and nationalities who have lost their personal control need to recognize the importance of regaining self-ownership and then learn a process to achieve that goal.
The law of the jungle is more applicable today than at any other time in our history: only the strong survive. As the world becomes more global and technology brings us closer together, our environment has become more diverse. Your transformation from a follower -- or someone's label -- to a leader in this competitive climate is a must.
And you must move quickly or you may not have a job. Tens of thousands of traditional manufacturing jobs have been lost and thousands of others are being outsourced or have been rendered obsolete. The business world is transitioning to a technology-based model. As job security, pensions, and other safety nets disappear, there are countless thousands who will find themselves thrust back in the workforce as free agents. People are also living longer, retiring later, and using up life savings that they once thought would be enough.
What is our twenty-first-century world -- the Information Age -- demanding? Talent, skills, performance, excellence, and results. A college education may get you in the door for an interview, but the real question will always be What do you bring to the table? What marketable skills do you have? Where does your expertise lie?
The twenty-first century is looking for people who can move past their history and into their imaginations. In the past, the business world's focus has only been on people who could help it improve the bottom line and increase sales. But the type of person who will succeed in this new work environment is one who can also transcend race and build relationships -- someone with a spirit of cooperation who is tolerant of others. This environment will require people who think before they react and who understand the consequences of their actions. It calls for self-respecting people who feel good about where they came from and don't apologize for who they are. And it calls for people who will continue to grow and develop and who will bring value to themselves and those they represent.
In Diversity: Leaders Not Labels, we will explore different cultures and their experiences to help you understand that everyone has had his or her own challenges and issues. You'll see that the process for growth and transformation are the same for everyone and that hard work, sacrifice, talent, and self-motivation are the tools for the future. In this book, we want to help people to transform and to respect others' uniqueness by first cultivating and respecting their own.
What makes us all equal is that we all have twenty-four hours. What's the question? "What do you do with your twenty-four hours?"
Copyright © 2006 by S. Graham & Associates