The Power of Diversity


wanted to write a piece on diversity because there is such an opportunity for leaders to create something wonderful simply by understanding the uniqueness that each person brings to the workplace and what can be created because of it.

Instead of writing a lot of prose on the subject though, I offer you a poem by Shane DeRolf that illustrates what leaders can create if they simply view the diversity of their workforces as a gift for the accomplishment of great things.

The Crayon Box That Talked
By Shane DeRolf

While walking in the toy store

The day before today

I overheard a crayon box

With many things to say

“I don’t like the Red,” said the Orange

and Green said, “Nor do I”

and no one here likes Yellow

But no one knows just why

“We are a box of crayons

that doesn’t get along”

Said Blue to all the others

“Something here is wrong.”

Well, I bought that box of crayons

And I took it home with me

And laid out all the colors

So the crayons could all see

They watched me as I colored

With Red and Blue and Green

And Black and White and Orange

And every color in between

They watched as Green became the grass

And Blue became the sky

The Yellow sun was shining bright

On White clouds drifting by

Colors changing as they touched

Becoming something new

They watched me as I colored

They watched until I was through

And when I’d finally finished

I began to walk away

And as I did the crayon box

Had something new to say

“I do like Red,” said Orange

and Green said, “So do I”

and Blue you were terrific

so high up in the sky

“We are a box a crayons

each one of us unique

But when we get together

The picture is complete.”

I’m thinking that, for me, a good way to start a new year would be to consider the wealth of diversity around me and to make a conscious decision to be open to ideas and possibilities that I may not have considered before.  How about you?

Here’s a link to Shane DeRolf’s website – Respect Diversity Foundation



Filed under Leading Change

3 responses to “The Power of Diversity

  1. How wonderful!

    Been thinking a lot about diversity lately, not in the traditional sense of gender and ethnicity, but in the sense of diversity of perspective and values. We tend to be drawn to the people who are like us including the ones who think like we do. It is often only when we see them “draw” something incredible with their uniqueness that we wake up to the possibility of what they can contribute. This is such a great metaphor.

    Why is embracing diversity so hard? The question this poem provokes is how can we learn to embrace diversity before it is “proven”?

  2. Gywn- this is so awesome! I love it, and can not wait to share! There is so much application for leaders, for teachers, and for students! I love your blog- keep the inspiration coming!

  3. prissyperfection

    Susan, Yes if we could only get away from the notion that diversity relates only to ethnicity. If we were to accept that each of us has something special to offer, as human beings, and find a way to keep it simple, maybe we would all be that much richer! Thanks for your usual insightful comments.

    Angela, Thanks so much for your comments and your encouragement. I love your enthusiasm for learning and for life!

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