I still remember the first time I noticed fall. I must have been four or five years old. I was with my family driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I, through some miracle (or, more likely, maternal intervention), was sitting by the door, nose pressed against the window.
“It looks just like a bowl of Fruit Loops,” my brother Rick said.
“Why are the trees all different colors?” I asked. “Why are some of them still green? Why are there red ones and yellow ones and orange ones?”
My mother didn’t go into detail about chlorophyll and day length. She just said, “The forest has lots of different kinds of trees, and when it gets colder and there’s less sunshine, they all respond in different ways.
Another brother chimed in, “It’s a good thing they’re different, or fall would just look like Rice Crispies!”
Whenever I present a program about diversity, I remember that eye-opening drive in the mountains. People often equate diversity training with ethnic diversity in the workplace. That’s profoundly important, and essential.
But I like to remember, and include in the discussion, that all kinds of diversity–different backgrounds, work styles, attitudes, and perspectives–improve an organization’s ability to respond to change, and to meet the needs of their diverse customers. Just like trees, people come in different kinds, and respond differently to their environment.
So look around you. Do you see Fruit Loops, or Rice Crispies?