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#ebbfdiversity – keynoter Fateme Banishoeib on “Diversity is a burden”

ebbf annual conference speaker Fateme Banishoeib is a perfect living example of a multicultural background and she offers below an interesting angle on the theme of the event “How can ethical business build the future going beyond diversity?” .

She even just recently wrote a book “The Whisper” which you can find more about including a video introduction on her website here or even go and purchase her book here. The way she introduces her book is “I became a scientist because I wanted to save lives and I wrote poetry to save myself. My book of poems, The Whisper, is a lyrical conversation I had with the tiny voice that I had ignored for years while I climbed the corporate ladder.”

Here below is that Fateme had to share about the theme of the ebbf event.

Diversity is a burden

We hear a lot about diversity. It became a buzz word. As we hear it and read it daily we might have the impression that is the holy solution to all our problems. Especially because it is presented as a source for innovation, increased performance, competitive advantage and creativity. This potential, however, is only accessible when we practice inclusion. Diversity alone is not enough. Diversity becomes a burden when not paired with inclusion, only when combined they become a competitive advantage. The real advantage comes for engaging into a conversation with the world that enables creativity, freedom and true sense of purpose.

We need to be aware and acknowledge the fact that for example in the workplace (and outside too) diverse teams face higher chances to get into conflict compared to more homogeneous or less diverse teams. By diverse I refer to different opinions, background, skills, values, beliefs and more. Those conflicts get on our way to advance inclusion. It is not uncommon to associate negative meaning and even emotions or feelings to the word conflict. This is the result of our upbringing and evolution. As a result, we tend to suppress it by exercising power. Yet, I believe that we can find the resolution to conflict in the tension that generates from it. In so doing we become more inclusive.

A typical example is conflict arising from diversity of value system. To be able to overcome such a conflict we need to find a language to communicate and resolve. We need to have real conversations which means we must listen to all the voices that take part to the conversation. It is crucial we understand where our own core values and others’ lay for engaging into a conversation. Only then we can think about our own motivation and needs and articulate them with a true voice, while remaining, at the same time, open to others’ voice.

As we engage in these conversations we need to be aware that tapping only into our intellect, wont be enough to solve any conflict. I honestly do not buy any formula that prescribes us to leave the emotions out. First of all I do not believe that is possible and second I am truly convinced that instead we need to find ways to access them. The understanding of our emotions and the needs behind them helps us to engage in the creative process to find resolution. We need to find a common ground that integrates both the rational and emotional starting first with ourselves and then include others.

One tool we have to integrate both rational and emotional is writing. Through writing we can access our thoughts and emotions so that they do not remain unconscious. We know, and science has proven it, that beyond logic and reasoning, emotions and intuition are critical to what we do and how we make decisions, either we are aware of them or not. As we gain clarity and self-awareness around our emotions and thoughts, we learn how to self-manage ourselves. We understand more of what trigger us, what nurture us and by understanding more about ourselves we learn how to relate to others more effectively.

My motto is “Inclusion starts with self” this means that we need to start by being inclusive of our emotions without shaming or repressing them. By being inclusive of our own emotions and thoughts as of others is the key for meaningful conversations.

You can meet with her and all the other speakers and global audience at ebbf’s next international event in Geneva

more info here, only very few places left if you are interested.

<a class=”LinkButton” href=””>More info on the ebbf event and speakers</a>

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