Entrepreneurs: A Major Lesson Learned from the Academy Awards Committee Faux Pax – Diversity

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The envelops were opened to announce the nominations for the coveted 2015 Academy Awards. Generally, this is a highly visible occasion to help build the excitement leading up to the televised Academy Awards event.

But something seemed amiss. None of the nominees were people of color. Also, a majority of the behind the scenes categories excluded women. The “Twitterverse” exploded with tweets of condemnation. YouTube lit up with videos of people ranting in disbelief. Not has something like this (exclusion of people of color) happened since 1998!

You may think: “What does this have to do with my business? I don’t care about the Academy Awards.” It does have a great lesson to offer you in your business decision making: Make Room for  Diversity.

The Academy Awards Committee members are estimated to be close to 6000 people. According to an article in the LA Times 94% of these members are Caucasians and 77% of male. Only 2% are Blacks and 2% Latinos. This does not reflect the audience that view movies in the United States, let alone across the globe. Hence, the greater probability a situation like this will occur.

Here is some of the things you can do to avoid making the same mistake:

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1) As an entrepreneur, it is critical that you think of the demographics of your target audience. Include folks on your staff (if you have employees) or in your circle of advisers (especially if you are the sole-proprietor) that reflects your target audience. We are told that one should diversify one’s financial portfolio to maximize the gains in the marketplace. The saying is true if you want to maximize your probability of the success of your business.

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2) Oftentimes I have witnessed older workers being pushed out of corporations or not hired due to their age. This is not a great practice in my opinion. Some of my best advisers have been older workers, or as I liked to call them “seasoned workers.” They have years of work and world experiences that I can harvest to help me solve problems that I encounter.

Technology changes. Usually, people’s emotions and some behaviors remain the same for generations. Some of my seasoned advisers have helped me avoid bad business decisions that have saved me money. They have also given me great advices that caused me to earn more money.

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3) In the same breath, don’t excluded younger workers because you perceive them to have less experience. I would rather take a chance on someone with less experience that have the willingness and the ability to learn quickly; than someone that has the experience but has no enthusiasm for the job.

A friend of mine was being considered to speak before a particular group. The event planner told someone that she (the event planner) thought my friend wasn’t seasoned enough in that particular area. Yet my friend helped her clients take their income from 5-figures to 6-figures in a matter of months! Obviously to me and my friend’s clients, she was doing something that was working well and could offer great information to the event planner’s audience. But the event planner had blinders on that state one has to have certain experience over a length of time to be considered “seasoned.” How unfortunate for this event planner and her audience.

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4) Include women, men, and minorities on your staff and in your circle of advisers. We all have our individual experiences that may limit our views that also limit our marketing reaching. Having a well-rounded source of viewpoints from various backgrounds (regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation) may give your business the spark it needs to attract more clients on a local, national and global level.

I thought my target audience were immigrant women. The more I deliver my keynote speeches or sell by books, I find that my message resonates with a lot of men from various backgrounds. It was a wonderful surprise. Now I include more men on my lists of advisers. This gives me a greater opportunity to spread my message and to earn more income.

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5) Include people of many nationalities as you can; if you want a global reach. As you know, the explosion of the internet has allowed entrepreneurs to have access to international markets. It seems wise to include people of different nationalities in your circles.

My circle of associates, advisers, and clients hail from many different countries with different cultural experiences and spoken languages. I revel in this diversity, because it has enriched and enlightened me in so many ways.

Did the Academy Awards committee miss a great opportunity to promote its brand in a golden light? Only time will tell. It seems that the uproar from the lack of diversity of the 2015 nominees has dulled the shine on this body of decision makers, and unfortunately taken some of the spotlight off its nominees.

Avoid the faux pax of the Academy Awards Committee. Include diversity in your staff and circles, professionally and personally. Let the tweets award your business with praises for its inclusions and successes.

Find out how I learned these tips and more from my Diamond Cutters, my mentors and coaches, pick up a copy of Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters today.

Diamond Cutters

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