I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Diversity matters. Equality matters.
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you can see me, you can be me,” but imagine the converse, working in an industry where people in power don’t look like you. (You may not even have to imagine.) Many AV professionals find themselves in that situation today, although there is the potential for great change on the horizon as we strive for diversity of thought, gender, race, abilities, and more.
Being an advocate of diversity isn’t just good for your soul—it’s good for your bottom line. According to a 2019 study by Gartner (opens in new tab), “75 percent of organizations with frontline decision-making teams reflecting a diverse and inclusive culture will exceed their financial targets.” On top of that, “gender-diverse and inclusive teams outperformed gender-homogeneous, less inclusive teams by 50 percent, on average.”
In addition to fostering diverse teams today, aging industries—like the pro AV industry—should be building diverse generational leadership, which can help to create what some call “cognitive diversity.” Experience matters—there’s no substitution for years of on-the-job, hands-on experience—but lack of experience can also be an asset if harnessed properly. Younger generations are often fearless. They haven’t been around long enough to make our mistakes … so they’re not afraid to try their “crazy” new idea and fail. Or maybe their innovative thinking will work. Something everyone thought was insane could end up being the million-dollar idea that saves your company.
[Check out the young innovators featured in SCN: The Nine (opens in new tab)]
My hope for the future is that, one day, I won’t have to write editorial letters about why the industry needs to be more inclusive. I hope I’m able to write about how the industry turned the page and set an example for others. Remember, there’s room for everyone, and when we bring more people into the fold and pass the mic, everybody wins.
P.S. I’m proud to say the team at Systems Contractor News has signed the AV Industry Pledge for an Equitable Future (opens in new tab). We encourage you to join us.