Chapter 7

The Tools in Your Toolbox

“To the man who only has a hammer in the toolkit, every problem looks like a nail”—so said renowned humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow. In much the same way, it is essential that leaders, managers, and employees focus on building and establishing the appropriate tools needed to turn their work environments into a truly diverse, cognitively rich meritocracy—with fairness and a level playing field for everyone aboard the ark. Using that approach, we can avoid the traps of diversity, and decode some of the unconscious cloaked behaviors. There is a way to find the tools that are necessary, discover a different way of managing, or uncover a new method of expressing yourself that ends up being more productive. In other words, we can—with enough deliberate thought and practice—find more than just hammers in our toolboxes.

The more tools each of us has to work with, the better off our end product will be, and the more success we will have with diversity. To have only a hammer or a screwdriver makes you less able to do any sophisticated management or career advancing—what you also need are a wrench, a dowel, a level, and tape measure. In any organization, the responsibility for making the corporate Noah’s ark a success rests with both tools of the individual and the institution.

Members of the management team represent the institutional culture and style, and as I have emphasized, each manager has a playing field, or an area of responsibility ...

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