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Build it and they will come!

Has anybody been around cinema long enough to remember a couple of the famous lines from Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, A Field of Dreams: “build it, and he will come” or “go the distance”? Now I have to admit, the film I automatically think of when I hear Kevin Costner’s name is “The Bodyguard.” Blame it on the soundtrack, but I digress – tee hee hee!
Kevin Costner’s character in A Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella, was practically mocked, ridiculed; and he almost went for broke for building a baseball field on land that had historically been used for farming – something predictable and something that upheld current social patterns. Perceptions, relationships and other variables were immediately strained, as Ray felt compelled to transform the land and eventually the hearts of the people in his community. Why would Ray change what on some level was working. The land was familiar, traditional and it just “fit” into the existing community, expectations and cultural patterns.
Without rehashing the whole movie, Costner’s character hears a “prophetic” and, dare I say, transformative invitation: “if you build it, he will come.” The he that is referenced served as a lynchpin for many things to fall in place. The premonition led to Ray cultivating his land in an unconventional manner, which rekindled lost joy and it helped reconcile some strained relationships. These actions released possibilities and hope that had not been experienced prior to Ray’s courageous acts to innovate and design.
Similarly, in recent months there have been a number of initiatives calling for a more diverse workforce. With a slight variation and continual play on Costner’s famous line, if you build it, they will come cannot only come to fruition, but this new reality of a diverse workforce can remain sustainable, if we “build it” and if we “go the distance.”
I see the following steps as critical in cultivating an inclusive work environment that attracts and retains diverse talent:

  1. Foundationally, build an organizational culture where there is no differentiation in human value – every human is valued and respected as a living being.
  2. Respecting and honoring each individual, while striving to understand our connectedness.
  3. Encouraging professionals to bring their talents and their whole, authentic selves to create, design, and engage in the work of their respective organizations.
  4. Leverage diversity to innovate and to build synergy.
Go the distance!

  • What needs to be uprooted and cultivated in your current environment to not only attract but also retain diverse talent?
  • What DEI measures have you started that you need to go the distance on?
  • Which beliefs and assumptions need to be challenged in order to transform your team, department and/or organization?

Light and Love,


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