Ridiculing and excluding good performers because of their differences at Santa's workshop? Could this happen in your workplace?
There are lots of valuable lessons in diversity from Rudolph's story.
Rudolph succeeded and became famous because of his differences.His dramatically different bright red nose allowed him to do what "normal" reindeer couldn't do, lead the way on a "foggy Christmas eve."
We need different team members to address different challenges well. Different players can do different things. When we all are exactly the same, we may do certain things well but we are very limited in our flexibility and ability to meet new, unexpected challenges.
How well do teams of affluent white male ivy leaguers understand and address marketing preferences of black single mothers, first generation Latino immigrants, upwardly mobile Asians?
If you don't include these groups on your team, you won't understand how these groups think, what appeals to them or how to market to them effectively.
It's dangerous to discourage talent, you never know when you will need them. Rudolph waited patiently, enduring the other reindeer's ridicule. When the opportunity came, he stepped into the lead position cheerfully without the support of others and did a stellar job.
Rudolph was obviously qualified to lead and had no trouble assuming the lead position.
What would have happened if Rudolph had become discouraged and moved away? Santa's sleight would have gotten lost in the fog and millions of children would have been very disappointed.
Doesn't this happen to major corporations as well?
What was Santa thinking? He allowed Rudolph to be ridiculed and excluded. Is this the reputation he wants for his workshop? Is this the message he wants to send to children he urges to be nice, not naughty?
It sets a mean spirited tone in his workshop. Rudolph was discounted and dismissed until he was needed.
Suppose Rudolph's difference was not so obvious and immediately valued. Would Rudolph ever have been accepted?
Is it okay to ridicule and exclude team members who are different? Managers who allow this to happen loose flexibility and their ability to meet new challenges. This eventually sinks them.
Creativity and flexibility require diversity of thought. Embracing differences keeps team minds open, flexible, willing and able to address new challenges and change.
Remember Rudolph when you think about diversity.