Scott McLennan

Embracing Social Change in the Workplace.

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Over the past couple of days the world has undergone a change. Peoples believes have been challenged, something has happened that many don’t want to believe is true and as such the vitriol is spilling, the intolerance and the fundamental believe that 1 group of people are more entitled or more equal than another is displayed. Whilst some are celebrating that they are now equal in law, others are plotting, stonewalling, or mocking with disregard. Where I found it interesting is the perspective that conversations pertaining to people, their lives, their values, their families and their communities should not be discussed on one social forum versus another, only limits the conversation, and that is something we should not encourage.

I refer to the often repeated line I see from self-appointed moderators; Linked-in is Not Facebook, personal opinion should not be discussed – or the various interpretations. Whilst I agree displaying recipes, cats, and children at another performance is not necessarily contributing to the professional discussions and sharing that we do on Linked-In. I do strongly disagree that people use this line to limit social and community change – because they feel uncomfortable, or they disagree with the discussion. Todays adult adaptation of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing. Ignorance is bliss. As leaders – we need to amend this behaviour, and help our friends, colleagues, and our communities through this time of change.

It is acknowledged that the most important resource an organisation has is its people. Not just the people who work in the organisation, but the myriad of people who support the organisation, their customers, and the friends/families of those who engage with the organisation. Why would we as leaders of people want to minimise the discussion about a significant social shift that influences our most important resource? Why would we jeopardise an opportunity to be involved in leading our peers, our organisations our communities?

Change. As a vernal rule humans hate change, it is difficult, it is hard, it takes time and a lot of effort – and the old way is always the best way. The most effective and efficient method for a community or an organisation to deliver change is through communication. Working with your people to inform, enable and enact the change.

So why is the current social change important for business. 

The U.S. Supreme Court has decreed that all people shall be treated equal, regardless. That all people in the eyes of the law, may celebrate one of societies oldest traditions – marriage. Where two adults share with the world their emotional connection and celebrate their bond in a ceremony. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favour of marriage equality, not gay marriage, but Marriage Equality.

The fundamental human rights as outlined in the US Declaration of Independence “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness“; your home, your love, and your spouse (husband or wife) are clearly central to this fundamental human right of happiness. When your people have the freedom and the independence to pursuit happiness, your workforce, your most valuable resource is strengthened.

It is interesting this happened in the same month as United Nations was formed, that Segregation was abolished, and that the last group of people were recognised as humans – not fauna.

26 June 1945, 70 years ago, The Charter of the United Nations was signed and agreed that we the people of the world through this organisation will work:

  • to save the future from the scourge of war,
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of all
  • to establish justice and respect for the each other and our cultures.
  • to promote social progress,
  • to practice tolerance and live together in peace
  • to unite our strength

The US Civil Rights Act of 1964 – signed on July 2, was the final documentation that decreed discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or nationality was wrong and illegal. This document ended centuries of discrimination, and racial segregation

In Australia, Aboriginal Australians (the first people of the land) were not counted as part of the population until a referendum was held in 1967, and the first inclusive census taken in 1971. Finally in 1983, an amendment to the 1967 Act was made removing any differentiation or distinction based on race in the Australian electoral system. All Australians were considered equal. 

Leaders, Organisations and how the Marriage Equality success is linked.

Over time the interpretation of what is right and what is wrong has developed and changed.

  • We no longer see the world in monochrome.
  • We no longer base our laws on the will of Men – society is un-gendered.
  • We no longer treat our “single” employees different to our married employees.
  • We no longer have to care whether some or all of our teams, our people are more equal than others.

As the leaders of organisations and professions; as people who are part of this world; as someone who can contribute, share, influence and enable an environment that is inclusive, we have the power and the ability to ensure tomorrow comes.

Equality and diversity in the workplace, in our professions, in our communities; this demonstrates success, trust, loyalty, and compassion, whilst encouraging innovation, creativity, and longevity. A cohesive functioning team, that collaborates succeeds.

The United Nations, the governments of the world, and our people are embracing change. We as leaders – it is our role to show that social change is an exceptionally important topic to discuss, to embrace, to champion because equality should never be sacrificed, belittled or ignored. Lead, empower and embrace Equality for all – regardless. That is our role!

The future is bright with a rainbow


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