When we get down to the business of organizational transformation the road to success is difficult at best. If we desire for the principles of inclusion and cultural competence to be central to transformation the difficulty can be exacerbated.
Most people I know have some type of passion in life. This passion is coupled and/or often met with the energy of reason.
In the the classic book, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, the speaker says about Reason and Passion:
"Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction."
Many of the people I have observed who are committed to this conversation about cultural competency and diversity are very passionate about it. In fact, they have been so passionate, that their reason has been "a flame that burns to its own destruction." Their passion has met with the reason of others and the reason has rationalized away the importance and intrinsic value of the passion.
Historically when a person passionate about diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency has had their ideas or budgets minimized, it has in many instances been the result of not doing the diligence of finding the passion(s) of others in the organization. As a result, when there is an opportunity to validate one idea vs. another, the result is often a cyclical resistance of one passion to protect another or to suppress a passion with reason because of a perceived imbalance.
I think we are at a crossroads in the evolution of business in this country and perhaps globally. The crossroads is one that lies between passion and reason. Often when there is a crossroads it means that we have to make a choice. The choice for most is seemingly dichotomous. But as Gibran reminds us:
"Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing; And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes."
So, as we enter into these discussions where a passion for diversity is met with a question about viability, a business case, ROI, a bottom line rationale for why what we do should be done--get excited! Get excited as we are able to meet the reason of one with the passion of another.
We are also able to discover the passions of others that we were potentially unable to discern because of our resistance to what we thought was their attempt to suppress our passion. The coupling of reason and passion allows us the space to create something that goes beyond the simplistic rift that we have historically created.
When we can understand our passions and use them as impetus for discovering the passions of others, reason when it arises is a gift. It can be seen as a balancing element of a chemical equation; an opportunity to validate something that could be transformational--the beginning of possibility.
Make it a great day!