Saturday, February 25, 2006

Driver Licence Hoop-la

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin

Do terrorists really need a state driver license? I keep reading all this hoop-la about driver license and foreign nationals and I can’t stop thinking about the whole ordeal and how insignificant it all seems. The first question I ask myself is do I need a driver’s license to drive? Why spend millions on driver license reform when I can break into a vehicle, steal a $40K car and drive all over the place without one? Teenagers do it everyday, why wouldn’t a terrorist. My recommendation to our political leaders is that they reconsider wasting dollars on a useless national scare tactic. Here in Albuquerque, there is a large percentage of drivers on the road without a driver’s license, and/or insurance. I bet the nation mirrors us in this number. Do we punish the masses for a few? Last time I checked we were all innocent until proven guilty. Don’t punish all foreign nationals because of the few outlaws. How will this New ID Act affect you? This doesn't just affect foreign nationals, it affects you, your privacy, and your security.

Unfortunately, on September 11, 1991 the United States of America failed and we lost a lot. We are now open to attacks on our soil as is the whole world. Look at the world. For example, look at Oklahoma, Ireland, Iraq, Africa, the Middle-East, Israel, the United States (even before the US as we know it existed). Without debate, attacks from within and attacks from abroad are a reality. This has always been and it will never change. The United States and our multi-cultural citizens have grown complacent in our reign of peace in the USA (on our soil). It has been said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Have times actually changed, or have we just entered into the world’s kitchen? They tell me, “If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen," but this doesn’t seem to be an option any more.

In my opinion, it is now time to play the game of mouse trap with the terrorists and leave the rest of us in the world alone. Have you ever had mice in your home? You can poison them, but you suffer the stench which is sometimes worse than the little furry critter themselves and much less humane when we are talking about humans. The best way to catch a mouse or mice is to lay a trap! Place a little bait, wait…and POW! If the mousetrap doesn't malfunction, the mouse is captured and out of the game. This method of capture is what has been coined “Strategery,” by George Bush. Please feel free to spend millions this way.

In “Oh to Disagree and yet Commit” I wrote, “Fail early, fail frequently, forget that other quote failure is not an option. If you are not failing sometimes, then I question your ability to perform. What are you doing? No one ever does everything right! You may be suffering from a state of complacency. Shake it up!” However, in this example, failure might mean loss of life or lives. Ready or not, here they come. Don’t miss quote me, I never said, “Fail always.”

In the United States we are experiencing a think-tank drain. We had an advantage for years because all the brilliant minds around the world wanted to immigrate to the U.S. Today, our tank is drying up. Although saying this, the analogy is dependent upon the perception of the tank being half-empty or half-full. If we continue to make it difficult for foreign nationals to get visas and work in the United States we are cutting off our own head and losing our mind. Some of the brightest professors of all disciplines (did I mention disciplined and experts in their field), including scientific and engineering minds desire to immigrate and become U.S. citizens and yet we operate under the monopoly paradigm and continually send them back to the beginning without collecting any dollars. We might even throw them in jail. Once again, the masses are punished for the few. If this continues, countries like China and India will fast become the leaders in technology. The Universities in United States will lose their perceived elite status and American students will find themselves going to University in other countries. What do you mean you can’t speak Chinese or Hindi? We expect other cultures to speak and read English. Are you mad (insane)? I am beginning to see the “Ugly American” stereotype emerge, and we are definitely in trouble. The “Melting-Pot” metaphor has failed. However, failure is good. Let’s learn from the failure and accept the fact that the “Tossed-Salad” metaphor is a much better American model. Let the great minds in! Does anyone other than a rabbit gnaw on plain green lettuce? Our greatness is in our diversity. No other country in the world is as diverse as the U.S. Keeping the doors open for intellectual capital is too costly to fail on.

Have you ever played the game of Risk? It's a game of strategy to battle and win by launching daring attacks, defending territory, and moving across continents with an innovative plan! Instead of wasting millions on driver license reform needlessly, spend millions on strategy. Who needs crude oil and natural gas the most? Is it the 1.3 billion Chinese? What continent has the most crude oil and natural gas? In my opinion, Usama Bin Ladin and other self-proclaimed terrorists may want to start learning Chinese and attempt to build an even “greater wall” along their border. In this game, you must attack and defend – attacking to acquire territory (i.e., resources), and defending to keep it. Business leaders like a win-win strategy and I see two big wins! America pulls her troops out and makes the world happy and China has a whole lot of natural resources at their fingertips to sustain progression. Of course, this is just a hypothetical game! Playing innovative board games as the world turns is fun, isn’t it.

Reasons to get your passport now!

Oh to Disagree and yet Commit!

All of us have been involved in the decision making process, but have we fully supported the decision once it has been made? Did you agree or not with the decision? Vocally we can openly disagree (or can we?), and freely state that we disagree, but do we then support the decision through our actions, or do we seek to come to a resolution, not agreement? Do we say yes when we mean no? Does this resolution seeking inhibit progression? Do all cultures react to the same situation on disagreeing and agreeing? The answer is no. What can we do in a world that has become very small with complex business decisions crossing over many borders?

Challenges to this disagree and commit proposal include Edward T. Hall’s monochronic and polychromic relationships to time and the differences of individualistic (low-context) and collectivistic (high-context) cultures. How is time perceived? How are decisions made? For example, if the individuals involved operate under monochronic time (time is money), and is from an individualistic culture the decision may occur in less time; however, if the decision is between an individual from both time perceptions and both decision models, you should build more time into the scenario for coming to an agreement. This includes time to disagree and yet commit.

After serving an eight year stint at Intel Corporation and having the pleasure of practicing this principle in Lithography for two years, Purchasing for two years, and Global Staffing for four years, I am very confident that it works in the United States and it works very well. Although saying this, Intel is a global company and all cultures do not have solid disagree and commit customs. Intel does a great job of building a business culture within a global culture that allows for openly disagreeing. Challenge the status quo. We don’t want to assume that any of us know the all from the end all. Disagreeing and committing reminds us of the fact that we may be wrong, but that we may in fact be right.

A personal example of when I had to practice the disagree and commit model was implementing a Change Management Process for Global Staffing at Intel. I had been conducting Change Management research and benchmark studies for a number of months. My team and I developed a change management system which we presented to senior management. A few senior managers decided we did not have enough seniority in their mind to sway them to adopt the new model we proposed. With my nose a little out of joint, I decided to disagree and commit to the direction the senior managers in opposition to our change. I tried to influence wherever possible as the change model proposal went up the chain for approvals. When the Director reviewed the team’s agreed upon proposal she pushed back on the proposal and made her direction clear. I had disagreed and committed to the team vision earlier and now the Director was saying to the team to go back and implement the model our team had initially proposed. Noteworthy is the response I received from the most senior representative on the team. The senior representative called me immediately to inform me of the decision that had been changed. He apologized for not listening initially and told me that I was right. I was excited that the proposal was now getting the commitment I felt it deserved. The leadership exhibited by the senior representative on the team, to admit he was wrong, and join forces to implement the plan they initially rejected is an excellent example of their commitment to disagree and commit.

It is obvious that there will be some differences of opinions on how best to accomplish issues needing a decision. A reality check is that individuals may see or view things differently than others, and some ideas may be in direct opposition to another’s opinion. In this case, there needs to be a resolution to where individuals can disagree and commit.

Have you ever been in a meeting where people just couldn’t agree? Have you ever been privy to seeing individuals block projects or decisions with obstacles that didn’t go their way? How do we move forward when stuck in a stalemate?

I recommend a tactic that individuals disagree with the decision, but commit to the outcome of the project. The business culture accepts disagreement, but it should also accept committing to the decision and moving forward. This type of forward thinking and buy-in is critical to effective decision making. To keep your business successful, you must be able to move forward and not stagnate and/or deadlock progress.

We all should be informed risk takers. Of course, this informed risk taking should be adjusted as acceptable levels of risk are based upon business needs and the environment. We should be making decisions with the end in mind, and these decisions should be backed up by data. An organization should seek to drive authority to the lowest possible competent level.

Decisions should be supported once they have been made, even if there is a lone wolf on the decision and no one hears the howling. Projects need to keep moving forward. Energies do not need to be used toward sabotaging the agreement that went against the grain. Move on. As a global society, enough data is collected, and from this information an informed decision can be determined. Do not use the lack of data as an excuse for indecisiveness or as a delay tactic; just realize that as an individual, you disagree with the decision. But also, you have committed and reached a resolution to support this decision. Failure is a learning tool. Fail early, fail frequently, forget that quote about, failure is not an option. If you are not failing sometimes then I question your ability to perform. What are you doing? No one ever does everything right! You may be suffering from complacency. Shake-it-up!

Remember, you may have chosen to disagree with the decision; however, ask yourself to commit to the goal.

A management book worth reading is “Change-ABLE Organization: Key Management Practices for Speed and Flexibility by William R. Daniels & John G. Mathers. (ISBN Number: 0-87584-949-0)

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Little “Nacirema” are exposed in Japan

The next intercultural experience occurred in the ship’s bath house. A little bit off the subject, and yet again not, it is my recollection that Professor Brad Hall at the University of New Mexico introduced me to an article by Horace Miner titled “The Nacirema” or it’s actual title: “Body Ritual among the Nacirema.” If you are familiar with this reading please continue on, if not this would be an excellent opportunity to take a moment to read a great intercultural story. The story isn’t terribly long, but is definitely culturally enlightening.

Back to the story, I don’t know about you, but I had never bathed in the way the Japanese do in all 11 years of my life (not all Japanese, of course), does the age 11 seem young? Am I making too big of a deal and are my expectations of youth to high? Don’t even go there. A teammate and I were looking forward to a solo, private, American style, hot shower. Can you relate?

We walk into the men’s bath house and we immediately experience culture shock. Everyone is naked, together (not sexually I must add). There were a few Japanese men that were tattooed from their neck to their wrists and then down to their ankles. My teammate and I looked for private showers in panic and in vain. Eventually, a Japanese gentleman that spoke some English instructed us on the process. We were pointed in the direction of a white tiled area with plastic shared stools, that other naked, dirty rumps had lathered up on before us (by the look of them, for years). The tiles were covered in soap scum and whatever else and out of the tile came a water hose spigot or in other words a water faucet. In America, you can get an idea of what it looks like as most homes are equipped with one out in the backyard for watering purposes. In my recollection, while living in England, I was paying a hose tax for the use of the same spigot.

Picture this if you will. An 11 year old boy sitting on a well used plastic stool with a water faucet to wet himself down with, lather up with soap and rinse himself off. Sound fun, I can inform you from experience it was not very pleasant at all. Typically, I do not practice open displays of public nudity; especially today, as forty years of gravitational pull does wonders for the figure. In order to get back on track, I forgot to mention the other 10 or 12 well used plastic stools with individuals performing the same bathing ritual concurrently. However, saying this, without the removal and cleansing process we under took, we would not have been able to experience the rite of passage, the joy and the relaxation of all the wonderful and clean hot tubs, cold tubs, and massage tubs that were absolutely worth the initial embarrassment and culture shock of public nudity. It is my recommendation if you are in this situation to cleanse yourself first and get into the tubs. I would wager that most of my American teammates would have rejected their available slot on the trip and the travel to Japan, if they had informed us of the cultural differences upfront. For the purpose of learning and such a wonderful cultural experience, I am glad they did not disclose all that would come, otherwise what would I Blog about?

As we are on the subject of Japanese bath houses, I have another story to share. This time the story occurs on the mainland of Japan, I believe it was in Tokyo. Most of my Japanese hosts I was privileged enough to stay with, used public bath houses, only one family had their own private family bathing area, this was of course the 1970’s. As twenty-nine years have passed I do not remember the name of my teammate, but I do remember his number as it was my number before the All-Star selection. My teammate was number 5 and I believe he played second base. He was African-American. The reason I share this information will come to fruition as the story unfolds.

We were soaking in one of the hot tubs and taking in the natural beauty of the surroundings. As we discussed baseball at length and games played, we noticed two Japanese men across from us take their towels from their waist and slip them over their heads. Intrigued by this we watched as the Japanese men took deep breaths and disappeared under water. Being young and adventurous we moved over to where the Japanese men were sitting and we looked beneath the water where they disappeared and discovered a tunnel. We could see light at the other end. Supposedly, curiosity killed the cat, but we were young and intrigued and we were following the Japanese men through the tunnel anyways. Unlike our Japanese predecessors we tightened our towels around our waist to ensure they wouldn’t depart from us, took a deep breath and we commandeered the underwater tunnel. Did I mention that we were not Japanese and we were wearing 1970’s hairdos? My friend had a “big fro” and I had a “scary do” on me. When we emerged on the other side, gasping for air, we heard screams of shock and dismay. As the water drained from our eyes and we regained our focus, we realized that we were 2 young Americans standing amidst bathing Japanese women and for some strange reason we were not blending in at all. Although, I must admit that this form of public nudity was a little more comfortable then the experience on the plastic stools, thanks to our towels being strategically placed and tightened about our waists. Almost immediately, we duck dived back into the tunnel and disappeared. On my way under I caught a glimpse of the two Japanese gentlemen sitting off on the side enjoying the view and activity. I now know the secret of the towels. The 2 Japanese individuals were able to blend in with the towels over their heads as they had very little facial hair. This was my last time swimming into a tunnel without knowing what was on the other end. It’s generally the unknown that scares us most as individuals. The unknown becomes shock, a narrative and then I post it to the shock-a-Comm Blog.

Today’s Recommendation:

Take yourself out of your comfort zone and experience something new.

If you are not familiar with: Regent Professor John (Jack) Carl Condon at the University of New Mexico it is worth your while to investigate him at

Note: I was fortunate enough to attend a culture and discourse seminar with Jack Condon & Richard Harris at the University of New Mexico in January 1999 on Space, Nature and the built environment. As a bonus to this class we spent an afternoon with Edward T. Hall in Santa Fe.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Breaking WA and Losing Major Face

My first intercultural disclosure to the Shock-a-Comm Blog occurs in 1977. To set the scene I was 11 years of age and living on an island called Okinawa. People nicknamed the Island “The Rock,” as it was one mile long from side to side in the thinnest part and about 60 miles from end to end. Baseball is what we did. Okinawin’s play baseball everyday of the year. Baseball is part of their culture and as long as we had base-a-ball-roo we learned to communicate with Okinawin children our age with sand drawings and symbols. Let’s just say we played a lot of ball!

If the Dodger’s Coach Cooley is still out there, I want to thank you for your grooming and all the opportunities you provided in baseball and in cultural understanding. I loved to hit that ball! Unfortunately, the baseball strikes and 1979 destroyed my love of the game and my desire to play ball, even today the baseball dream is gone (another story in itself). Call me a hopeless romantic.

Getting back to 1977, I made the All-Star team as a Center Fielder the first time and a third baseman the second. Our team was preparing for a trip to Japan. We were a diverse group of young boys heading off into a new cultural experience. We were going to Japan without our parents and we were going to live with our Japanese hosts. Awkwardly, we were not prepared culturally for the excitement that lay await for us ahead.

A ship pulling out of Naha, the name I do not recall at this time, is where the journey sets off. If you haven’t traveled with a diverse group of American boys your eyes are about to be opened. Our team consisted of all American children in the 1970’s, but for today’s society I will classify the children as; Japanese-American, African-American, Anglo-American, Native-American, and Mexican American. The team had full run of the ship for two days and the team was out of control. We didn’t travel first class, we were in an open seating, sleeping area. No, there were no chairs we were on one of the huge tatami mats. If you are unfamiliar with tatami, a tatami mat is a Japanese style of floor covering designed for comfort and durability. Tatami Mat is constructed of 4 layers of natural fiber sheets, covered with a high grade, tightly woven rush-straw, sewn to the base layers, and then bound with a high grade wooden border. Anyway, I think you get the point; there were no beds, no pillows, and no sheets. How in the world does an American boy sleep? Exactly, the team dropped off our luggage and baseball equipment on the tatami and went on an adventure. Thinking back, did we remove our shoes? It is customary in Japanese culture to do so. I can’t remember, but I would guess not. No one touched, moved or removed our personal belongings. As a side note, I don’t recommend doing this on an American Ship. Unfortunately, there seems to be a secret code called “Finders Keepers” in the United States and a possession is 9/10ths of the law assumption. Although I would say most Americans live with integrity as a value there are enough immoral individuals to ruin it for the rest of us. In other words, when in the U.S. operate under a “lock-it-up” syndrome. Today, this is a global human decline, which is not uncommon in many cultures around the world. I have my opinions on this too, but I will hold them for now and continue on.

So the All-Star team wanders around the ship as long as we can, some longer than others, although my eyes were burning and trying to shut much earlier than most. I was returning to my tiny place on the tatami to sleep. I found my luggage and stretched out using my bat bag as a pillow. I was totally exhausted and emotionally drained from leaving my parents on the Okinawa shore. As I am an early to rise, morning person I was asleep much earlier than most of my teammates. Some of my teammates left to their own ways were practicing the stereotypical “Ugly American” over generalized behaviors as other teammates and I lay asleep on the rush. For example, when the team ran out of coins for the pinball machine, some of the players decided to get destructively innovative by breaking the back off the ships pinball machine and offering themselves never ending free games. The team members involved played as long as they could until a Japanese Ship’s man discovered the ploy and put an end to their fun. How embarrassing for the Coaches and the individuals involved. I am still embarrassed and it has been decades. As American’s we lost some major face and broke harmony on the ship. How do think this incidence reflected on the Japanese observer’s perception of Americans in general? Trust me, it wasn’t nice and unfortunately the experiences to be shared get worse.

On a personal note: If you were on the ship, I humbly apologize for the disrespect of the 1977 All-Stars. As a collective group we did not act responsibly or respectfully. Most of us were ignorant of the Japanese culture, this includes me. I have been wearing this ribbon of shame and using it to share intercultural learning with others. Hopefully, others will learn from the mistakes we made.

As we return to the tatami and my sleep, I awoke with amazement at what seemed like a sea of Japanese people sleeping all around me. I couldn’t even see the tatami mat there were so many people. Have you ever played Mikado or Pick-up-Sticks? Envision this, as in the game the people sleeping are the sticks. I had individual’s feet up against my legs and heads up against my bags. What American child would be comfortable sleeping with hundreds of Japanese strangers? The Japanese people were all comfortable with this scenario and totally inside their cultural idea of acceptable proximics (personal space)? On the other hand, my western more so American idea of personal space was so much greater in need, due to my observed acceptable American standards.

We are space cravers in the U.S. more than any other culture around the globe. Americans need too much personal space in my opinion. After traveling and working in countries like Japan, China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia I have seen the light in regards to space. Am I living it? No, I am still stuck in my American way. However, I am aware and awareness is the key to ultimately understanding.

I want to keep going but I must end for today. Comments, Concerns, and Questions welcome

Today’s Book Recommendation:
Tuan, Yi-Fu, (1990), “Topophilia: A study of Environmental Perception, Attitudes, and Values” NY Columbia University Press

If you are traveling and/or working with the Japanese, I highly recommend a company called Charis Intercultural Training Corporation and their 8 hour class called “Working with the Japanese.” They also have a great course called “Working with the USA.” If you are interested in honing your intercultural skills check out all the classes that Charis offers. Requests for more information to Attn: Marian Stetson- Rodriguez.

Friday, February 17, 2006

40 Years of Shock Communication Faux Pas

40 years of traveling the globe and making cultural faux pas

February 17, 2006 marks my anniversary of 40 years traveling the globe and making cultural faux pas (i.e., mistakes). I think 40 years makes me an expert at making mistakes. It also marks my life long journey in trying to understand other cultures and appreciate the differences, some more difficult than others. Of course, today is my 40th birthday. Although I resemble 40 years of cultural mistakes, I have also embraced 40 years of learning from these wonderful life changing events. My global travels began at 6 weeks of age, from Arizona to the United Kingdom.

I only have knowledge of the faux pas brought to my attention during and after the event and these are the ones I intend to document and share for the benefit of others. Are you reading? Can you hear me now? Of course, at the present moment I am not sure if anyone has even stumbled upon my writing or if anyone even cares. It doesn’t really matter as I am having fun remembering the narratives, the laughs and the tears. Some of the experiences I will never forget and others I will read and reread hoping to experience a little amnesia. That never happened to me… you know what I mean.

Some of these stories are rather innocent and some are hilarious to people who have encountered the same, some are embarrassing and some I would not like to share at all, but I will. They include a childhood baseball trip to Japan in 1976, Meeting a Jordanian Prince in the 1990’s and other key learning moments in my life. However, you will have to keep coming back to my shock-a-comm Blog to read them all beginning with my next post.

Interestingly enough, some professional individuals I have knowledge of don’t believe they need cultural understanding or awareness, as they are seasoned travelers. I hear the “seasoned comment” all the time. If you believe this, seasoned bologna, I laugh out loud and say, “You have no idea about what you don’t know, and it appears that you don’t even know, about what you think you know.” Aristotle once said, “I know nothing,” and yet he was one of the most brilliant men who ever lived. Get the point? We all have something to share and learn.

If you haven’t noticed, look outside and see how small the world actually is. If you don’t believe me, check it out and build the solar system yourself. See the small dot in the universe spinning around, look for your country, your city, your home, and where you are at this very moment. I am presently living in the United States, in New Mexico, in Albuquerque, on the NW side of town, in my house, in my home office, sitting on my chair. Talk about feeling insignificant.

The U.S. is such a unique and rewarding place to live as every culture of the world lives here. We all co-exist in one country. During my studies at the University of New Mexico, the now late Ev Rogers once spoke about the United States and the early American coined term the “Melting Pot.” In Latin it is referred to as E pluribus unum (i.e., Out of many, one). In a book written by Everett M. Rogers and Thomas M. Steinfatt called “Intercultural Communication” (Rogers & Steinfatt, 1999, p.189), they write about a new metaphor replacement for the melting pot, instead of melting into a hideous mixture of soup, we have actually become more of a tossed salad. Every culture complements the salad (i.e., lettuce, tomatoes, croutons, bacon bits, eggs, cheese and dressing).

Recommended Reading:

Rogers, E.M., & Steinfatt, T.M., (1999) “Intercultural Communication” IL, Waveland Press, Inc. ISBN 1-57766-032-3

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Avoid Cultural Faux Pas and become Globe Smart

Everyday individuals travel and promote business in countries that they have no background, experience, or cultural understanding. Hiring Managers may even sponsor individuals from diverse cultures, and have a limited knowledge of that particular culture. This formula leaves a large margin for error in cultural differences. I have overheard the comments made by co-workers while traveling abroad in foreign countries, “What I don’t know, won’t hurt me,” and “ignorance is bliss.” To counter these statements, I am quoting the opposite “What you don’t know may portray the perception of ignorance to others or other cultures” and/or “Ignorance isn’t an excuse, it is avoidable through proactive knowledge seeking and experience.” It is important to note that not knowing about cultural differences might even cause you physical pain.

In order to facilitate global business knowledge and experience for individuals who travel internationally (personal or professional), or manage an employee from another country, I am highly recommending a company called, “GlobeSmart.” If your company travels abroad or works virtually and does not have this resource at the fingertips of their employees then you need to challenge the status quo and begin implementation of this online resource. Although this is not a free resource, I am personally very interested in your feedback from using this tool and your thoughts on providing this as a resource tool for your company in the future. My company just launched GlobeSmart as a resource for our employees and I am willing to share my personal experience with you.

GlobeSmart provides information on communicating effectively, managing and training employees, and improving relationships with colleagues, customers, and suppliers from different cultures around the world. GlobeSmart also shows background on specific countries and cultural knowledge, business skills, local news and politics available 24 hours a day.

GlobeSmart Six-Minute Demo: highlights the benefits and features of their webtool.

Recommended Reading:

Ernest Gundling, "Working GlobeSmart: 12 People Skills for Doing Business Across Borders"
CA: Davies-Black Publishing ISBN 0-89106-177-0

Sunday, February 12, 2006

How Does Homophily Affect Your Hiring Decisions?

How does homophily affect your hiring decisions? You’re probably asking yourself what in the world is homophily. Have you ever heard the expression “Birds of a feather flock together?” Well, homophily is like the birds together.

I define homophily as a similarity that causes individuals to communicate more effectively due to sub-conscience attributes of knowing each other’s experiences. The individuals share common meanings, beliefs, and mutual understandings that go beyond the external far into the internal meanings of life. Sharing common ground helps us to relate easier to individuals similar to ourselves.

For example, if I was from a farming community in Idaho, I went to Harvard University and participated in rowing as a sport, I would be more likely to look for someone with a similar background when recruiting or when hiring someone to replace me, work with me, as I know the life experience combination has worked well for me. Someone with a totally different experience may not even get the opportunity to be looked at or recruited.

On the other hand, without homophily how do we communicate, relate, understand, or form a friendship? What common ground do we have?

Communication is uncomfortable as we can’t relate to experiences, backgrounds, life –styles and so forth that do not match our own. During your company’s hiring and recruiting events, I ask that you be aware of the type of individuals you are interviewing and make a cognitive effort to being open to difference and diversity. Don’t allow homophily to break-down or put barriers to communication with non-similar people than you. Call awareness to homophily "informed risk taking" if you will.

You may be aware of your company’s hiring tendencies, which are natural and can be sub-conscience and yet you are willing to try and understand someone different than yourself. Examples of difference include demographic characteristics like: age, gender, ethnicity, sub-cultures, education, disability, intelligence, experience, language, hand-shakes and attitudes.

Remember that our job as individuals is to hire the best for our companies. Keeping ourselves knowledgeable and educated about our company’s needs and interests will help us make the right hiring decisions. Don’t be afraid of difference, be open to it. Posted by Picasa