People often ask me why I’m so passionate about diversity and inclusion. The answer is simple: there’s magic in diversity. Imagine if you were surrounded by people who agreed with every word you said, or thought every idea you had was perfect. It would be tedious and counterproductive. Personally, I thrive on diversity. I seek out different opinions, mindsets, and ideas that come out of my team meetings. Innovation in tech is driven by challenging the norm. Without diversity, we wouldn’t have the disruptive technologies and inventions that have changed our lives, workplaces and societies.
This is made all the more apparent in the excellent Ted Talk from Dame Stephanie Shirley. Daring to challenge the norm can be the key to amazing achievements. I’ve never been complacent in my career, and I’ve always dared to speak up and voice my opinion. For example, when we were trying to convince senior leaders to back the cloud, I spoke my mind – frequently and with passion. Thankfully, our most senior leaders were willing to listen to what I had to say, and today, we are the cloud company powered by SAP HANA.
That brings me to my second point: diversity and inclusion require mutual respect. We don’t ever have the right to look down on someone simply because he/she doesn’t have the same ideas. If we respect our colleagues, we gain their trust, and trust is the ultimate currency. Loyalty on both sides, in turn, leads to a working model that flourishes. Over the long term, it also increases talent retention.
Although workplaces are more diverse today than ever before, I still see a shortage of women in tech. On a recent trip to see my team in Prague, I raised the question of why only men were employed in a certain team. The female manager replied that it was because no women had applied for the position! We have to do everything we can to turn this trend around, encouraging women to reach high in tech. Especially in the digital age, it is such an exciting time to be in tech. I don’t just mean coding, tech has a huge spectrum of avenues to be explored. Already, I’m taking action to help in this regard. Stay tuned for my next blog on this topic to learn the details.
In the meantime, take your career into your own hands. If you haven’t already done so, set yourself some career goals and focus on making them happen. Be bold and think big. Get on that path and follow it. There really are no limits to how far you can take your career.
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