Coming Together As One: Race in America

Guest Author | Steve Hanamura, Hanamura Consulting

A well-known consultant and speaker, Ken Blanchard, says that there are four things that must be in place to help an organization be successful – mission, vision, values and direction. As I think about these four attributes, it would seem that mission and values represent the places we must work from while vision and direction assist us to move forward.

One example of these distinctions might occur when two friends differ on the sports teams they cheer for.  My friend Dick is a New York Mets, New York Knicks and Denver Broncos fan.  The New York connection represents where he grew up and the Denver connection is based on where he is currently living.  I live in Oregon, but my teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers because they represent where I came from.  In both cases, we are claiming our roots.  No matter what is happening with our sports teams, we stay loyal to them through the good times and the bad. In like manner, a mission represents where you come from. Even during its highs and lows, you stay true to the mission through its joys and sorrows.

I began to wonder if not being able to truly speak about where we come from is getting in the way of our being able to bring about racial harmony, for example. No matter whether we are talking about people of color or people who are white, neither group has an opportunity to truthfully examine their place of origin as a place marker when addressing differences in race. The inability to do this has both personal and organizational consequences.

We as professionals have been primed to focus on skills development in alignment with the mission and vision of the company.  While skills and alignment, are important, we see a flaw because most mission statements focus on the forward motion of where to go instead of examining the place marker of where they are coming from.

The onset of diversity, inclusion and equity are understandably designed to assist organizations to meet the" bottom line needs."  We believe that the four values that presently are driving employee behavior are safety, safety, safety and safety – physical safety, emotional safety, political safety, and spiritual safety.  This is the place they are working from, which precludes their ability to look forward to totally engage in helping one another meet the "bottom line needs."

At Hanamura Consulting we operate from the mission Celebrate Oneness.  We define Oneness as the foundation from which we build a collaborative workplace culture.  Oneness empowers individuals and organizations to develop themselves to their fullest potential.  Oneness means learning how to be diverse together.  And Oneness is the place we begin to explore the difference between unity, sameness, likeness and commonness.  Even in the most difficult settings, we claim Oneness in some form or another.  Like rooting for your sports team in the highs and lows, when things are not working out individually or organizationally stand in the place of being one with others.

I think that as we move into 2017, the new normal will be helping employees feel included and safe, perhaps even addressing topics that have not previously been addressed on the job.   Nevertheless, we must stay focused and continue to work towards bringing about inclusive workplace cultures.

Author Biography
Steve Hanamura, founder of Hanamura Consulting, Inc, is committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations. Steve enables organizations to build constructive relationships through collaboration, increased understanding and new insights. Whether speaking to a thousand or training ten, Steve inspires and changes lives.