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Best selling author and US Navy SEAL, Thom Shea discusses what life is like when you stop quitting and become the best version of yourself.


Mar 9, 2020

Many companies and leaders get this equation completely wrong!


I have to acknowledge upfront many of you will get twisted while listening to this podcast about diversity and inclusion.  Clearly, not only the nation, but also the world misrepresents the true power of diversity and inclusion by no using the wording as an equation.  Diversity as a stand-alone notion is cool and politically charged.  But diversity is as nature as the air we breathe.  Diversity is everywhere in nature and signifies nothing of value.  Diversity happens without effort.


Inclusion is a hot topic everywhere across the planet and is both natural and exists in every species in every endeavor.  Alas inclusion is so politically charged we seemed to now consider it rare and impossible.  Inclusion is earned and often rewarded. 


Taken separately, as both are now, instead of as a systematic way to succeed, both terms and topics used in a political nature and hammered with reprisal on industry create the unintended consequence of angry, lazy, soft, dysfunctional individuals.  Individuals unable of calmly dealing with adversity.  People lethargically sputtering through all endeavors.  With age groups too vulnerable to quitting when they lose cellphone reception for 20 seconds.  Worse, every individual person seems to be unsuited to working with anyone else.  Diversity instead has created adverse conditions to thrive.


I get it, politicians and news media are trying to make a name for themselves and get caught up in trends and bend the trends into completely unusable items.  Inclusion is a normal process that is earned and the best way to discuss inclusion is “you will eventually earn it in time and effort”.  Truth be told unless you prove or earn your seat at the table where your ideas and efforts may be included in the solution, you literally will kill the solution.  Not everyone should be included just because. 


Like I said diversity is nature.  Put one person in a room and diversity doesn’t exist.  Put any two people in a room you have diversity of all kinds: background, education, ability, skills, capacity, and on and on.  Diversity doesn’t have to be forced, it happens.  However, forced diversity is pre-mediated destruction of a team or organization.  It never works it always implodes.  Forcing percentages of races or sexes into a team or organization kills the outcome.  Try putting a white male into a black female company and force them to integrate and see what happens.  Try forcing a 16 year old (male or female of any race) into a position they haven’t earned and force the team to work with them and see what happens.  Before you do either action, call me and I will get a line of betting in Vegas because I can make some real money shorting your effort. 

I have witnessed forced diversity for 30 years in the SEAL teams and in business and have never seen it work ever.  Not ever!


I have been on some of the best functional teams in the history of war and history of human kind.  None of them force diversity, but instead allow diversity to happen.  And trust me diversity in the SEAL teams is natural and necessary.  But is never forced.  Functional teams allow of any type of person to earn their way on the team.  Functional teams demand diverse ideas and diverse experiences and never force a diverse perspective or person into the team just because. 


One mind, one thought, one race, one species, one sex never lasts very long and is very destructive.  Forcing different minds is equally destructive.  Forcing me to think like you will cause me to have a bad day as it will you.  Forcing races together is horrific.  Forcing, for some political up-righteous idea, diversity at any level causes adversity.  Adversity is good for politics but bad for business and humans. 


However, let’s consider earning at seat at the table as the primary means to succeed and grow both as an individual or a company. 


Imagine 20 people at the decision table.  Let me tell you their backgrounds make no difference.  The only thing that matters is they earned the right to be there through actions and decisions made prior to being there.  The initial stage of decision making is diverse ideas.  Further imagine a topic or goal is put on the table and each person puts their idea or notion on the table.  Each person gets a chance, they are included.


Yet here lies the undiscovered truth many find hard to adapt to.  In high functioning teams everyone is included.  All ideas are allowed to be heard.  To leave the table and take action only one direction is chosen.  Your opinion, your diversity, your singularity does matter up until action is required.  Once you move you all must move together in one direction.  That is the major issue with the current politically charged diversity and inclusion … no one can unify and move forward as a team.  Johnny wants to go left and feels like no one listen.  Mary wants to wear something that is important to here but makes no difference or is of danger to the effort.  Or one group has decided the direction is good bad or against their upbringing and nothing gets moved down the road effectively.


Since the 1940s SEALs have allowed anyone in who could earn their way.  It works.  Every mission takes into account everyone’s ideas and the most effective one is selected.  And more to the point even when a bad choice is made or one that just doesn’t have enough details is made everyone unites and supports it with 100% of their commitment and skills.  No one goes off and does their own thing once a decision is made.  And everyone supports each other.  Diversity + Inclusion = Unified action.


You cannot force any of it.  You cannot even force unity you have to earn that too by failure to unite under one cause. 


Earning diversity is hard because success doesn’t care if you are white, black, brown or purple.  Just that you do what it takes to succeed.  Earning the right to be included is what causes success.  Your unearned opinion has no value.  Success cares nothing about your opinion just that you do what it takes often in spite of your point of view.  To really succeed you need harmonious, synchronized actions.  Even a single individually trying to synchronize his or her own activities is hard.  But success demands it.  Unifying a group of individuals is very hard and is not possible if everyone was forced there and every individual direction will be taken.


I feel sorry for the youth who are caught up in the politically charged diversity for diversity sake and the forced inclusion just because someone said it was a right.  Failure looks for forced, unearned righteous efforts.  Don’t you fall prey to forced diversity and force inclusion.  Earn your way to the table so that you unify your actions with a team.