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Diversity as a Third Rail


As a Leadership and Team Effectiveness consultant I find myself dealing with two very different perspectives on addressing workplace diversity. There are people who firmly believe that diversity is good for business – it brings energy, creativity, growth, and all kinds of other good things. Others see the need “to do something about diversity” but are rather cautious about approaching it.

Here is a very simple test that clearly identifies a difference:

If diversity were a Third Rail, would you say it is something that is

  1. essential for moving forward, going the distance, and arriving to your business goals (see definition # 1 in the picture above); or

  2. potentially so dangerous that it is better not to touch it at all?

I believe that real leaders prefer to drive their business train leveraging every source of energy they have. Those who don’t eventually find themselves standing on a platform left behind by trains that used to be under their command.

One last note: every train engineer learns to understand how the actual third rail works and how to treat it with attention it deserves. Trying to leverage diversity by one’s enthusiasm alone leads to a “train wreck” much too often. Diversity in a workplace works wonders but only when it is well understood and mindfully incorporated in all aspects of people working together for the success of their teams and organizations.

At Connecting Differences our approach to diversity can be described by two simple phrases:

  1. Wherever there are people there are differences; and

  2. Diversity is a fact of life; inclusion is a behavioral choice.

We help leaders, organizations, and teams to reach and maintain their strength when it comes to navigating differences of all kinds.

Are you ready for a good train ride? Are you ready to leverage diversity while keeping your train firmly on track and getting to all the stations? Contact us and let’s get started!

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