Reading time ( words)
I know it’s only January, but I want to say The Business of WE: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace by Laura Kriska is the timeliest book of the year, as well as the most important. Why? Because it deals with the issues that we are facing right now. The gap that Kriska refers to is the one between Black and White, women and men and, as the title suggests, “we and them.”
If you don’t think I’m correct in my assertion, then you’ve not been paying attention. Besides the pandemic, 2020 (and the short bit of 2021 so far) has been filled with incidents that brought on the “Me Too” movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the resurrection of racism that culminated in the attempted takeover of the U.S. Capitol by people carrying the Stars and Bars and wearing shirts with the vilest of antisemitic slogans.
This book, which deals with all of the issues of “them and us” is timely, if not long overdue. Although the book deals primarily with business organizations, its ultimate message reaches all corners of our society. It deals with the proverbial third rail subject of reducing diversity animus and replacing it with diversity embracement. How do we not only accept our differences but overcome them as well? How do we accomplish cross-cultural compatibility?
While not an easy subject, and I have to admit that given the incidences so far this year, it’s a fully daunting one. I feel that we have gone backward rather than forward when it comes to celebrating our differences, which makes this book all the more relevant.
Certainly, we all know racism when we see it, right? Or do we? We do when it stares—or should I say slaps—us in the face like the demonstration in Charlottesville. But what about the more subtle ways the gap between “them and us” shows up in the workplace? The off-color joke in mixed company? Or the ethnic stereotyping that seems to come up when talking about sports? Do we know it then?
We have all heard, if not said, these kinds of things, sometimes even thinking we were being complimentary. Like when an east Indian friend of mine felt insulted when an IT person told him he ought to be able to figure out his software snag himself. And when he told me about it, I just laughed and said, “So you're insulted because you have a stereotype of being smart?” Only later did I realize that any stereotype is bad and should never be stated.
This is exactly the kind of assumptions we all make. This is the kind of oversight our nurturing has taught us to take for granted.
And this is exactly the sort of thing that Kriska deals with in this important book’s three steps:
- Foster awareness
- Take action
And they work! Since reading this book, I am ready to admit that I am much more aware of not only the way I look at things, but the way I treat people. Because I am more aware, I try to do something about it.
I conclude by saying that this is a book whose time has come, a message that must be heard, and steps that must be taken. This is to all of you good people who are committed to making the world around you a better place and to becoming better citizens of that world. Please read these words, and then pass it along to one of your friends who needs it the most.
The Business of WE: The Proven Three-Step Process for Closing the Gap Between Us and Them in Your Workplace
by Laura Kriska (Author)
Harper Collins Leadership and Imprint of Harper Collins
Copyright: January 12, 2021
Paperback, 224 pages
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.