Visiting speaker teaches staff how to ‘build a house for diversity’

Visiting speaker teaches staff how to ‘build a house for diversity’

R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., D.B.A.

R. Roosevelt Thomas Jr., D.B.A., visited Christiana Care Nov. 30 to discuss his Strategic Diversity Management Process™, which is helping to set new standards for defining and managing our nation’s diversity challenges. He held an educational session at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center attended by about 75 employees.

Thomas’s trademarked process says that diversity exists wherever any two or more entities mix, and that the mixture is naturally accompanied by tensions and complexities. Strategic diversity management is the craft of making quality decisions in the midst of tension and complexity, he says.

In our nation’s workforce, people from various ethnic, religious and other culturally diverse backgrounds represent different entities mixing and experiencing tension and complexity, which in turn create a perception of the need for greater harmony and respect.

“We need to move beyond harmony and respect,” Thomas says. The craft in strategic diversity management is in leveraging unique strengths to benefit an organization.

A centerpiece of the educational session was a video and discussion based on the book, Building A House For Diversity: How a Fable about a Giraffe and an Elephant Offers New Strategies for Today’s Workforce,” written by Thomas with Marjorie R. Woodruff. The book takes a simple allegory fable about two dissimilar animals who try to become partners in a woodcraft business based in the giraffe’s home. Their enterprise finds trouble when it becomes clear that the elephant doesn’t fit in the shop designed for the giraffe.

Using the fable as a springboard, the book follows up with real-life examples in stories about human behavior and lessons in cultural competency.