When we come together to collaborate, it’s important to have different voices at the table.
We often think of these different voices as coming from people of diverse ethnicities, genders, orientations, and religions. Of course, having those voices is incredibly important. Representation matters and creating a bigger table is vital to creating holistic organizations.
But when AME board member Billy Taylor — the leader of AME’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives — talks about DE&I, he often points out that he doesn’t just mean those important traditional categories. Billy likes to also mention diversity of thoughts and experiences. People from different generations, geographies, political leanings, professional and personal experiences all bring new perspectives to a situation that can make our outcomes stronger.
When we create teams to solve problems, we should keep both the traditional and this broader definition in mind. Collaboration should be a give and take where we lean in with our strengths and step back to let others showcase theirs. Creating a team with diverse experiences and perspectives draws out the contributions from everyone by showcasing individual talents to better the whole.
Collaborating with a group that has different experiences can get messy — especially when strong personalities are involved — but a good facilitator and some solid ground rules can help teams avoid gridlock and navigate conflict. A good leader knows when to offer help and opinions and when to let those with the know-how to carry the load.
When I think of a group like this, I think of our conference committees. Each year, the AME International Conference is created by a group of volunteers and staff who are a manifestation of both the traditional and expanded definitions of diversity. These teams bring together ideas from industry leaders from different sectors, subject matter experts, and strategic and tactical thinkers who have created successful events that deliver real, tangible value to our participants. For 2022, we’ve already seen how a group of volunteers thinking outside the box were able to work with AME Hall of Famer Cliff Ransom to lock in one of our biggest keynotes ever, Larry Culp, GE’s chairman and CEO.
As this team continues to build out an AME Dallas 2022 program that is sure to help our community embrace disruption, you can be certain that they’ll continue to rely on the diverse thoughts, experiences, and expertise of all involved.
In the meantime, I encourage you to bring your unique perspective to the conference experience. Submit a proposal to present a session, workshop or tour now.
As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.
P.S. Don’t forget that when you register by 12/31/21, you’ll get 40% off an individual registration for AME Dallas 2022. The clock is ticking! Take advantage of this unprecedented deal now and save $959 USD on your registration: ame.org/Dallas.