have always been a supporter of diversity, both
professionally and personally.
early age, my friends have always come from a wide
variety of backgrounds, cultures and
interests. Often, the only common
ground across my varied groups of friends was the fact
that they were friends with me.
went off to college, I rejected the idea of joining a
sorority, despite its philanthropic fundraising efforts
and its central role in social life on
campus. I felt at that time that any
group that had to judge its members prior to being
included was not a place I wanted to be.
Despite these feelings, I never held
it against anybody if they choose to be a part of
it. In fact, I had many friends who
were actively engaged in a variety of sororities and
cliques have never been my thing.
struggled with the fact that cliques are commonplace in
most social structures, especially in the
workplace. An unfortunate
result of the fundamental human need to belong is the
formation of cliques. The intent is not
mal-intended, but the result can be detrimental
You have the exempt/non-exempt
clique. The executive/non-executive
clique. The Manager/non-Manager
clique. The Company lifers/ newbies
clique. The women/men clique. The
Hispanic/non-Hispanic clique. The
line job/support job function clique.
And the list goes on.
thing I hate most about cliques is that by mere
definition of a clique; you are either in or out.
Cliques foster exclusivity and exclusivity always limits
progress and productivity.
reminded by this on my recent trip to South
particularly attuned to all of the history and details
about Apartheid prior to my visit, but being
immersed in a post-Apartheid South Africa, it became
clear to me that this country is progressing and healing
simply because Nelson Mandela saw that the solution
required changing the country's clique
see no matter what side of the clique you are on,
a clique mentality always perpetuates the clique by
maintaining the judgments and blame towards the other
saw that it was futile (and common) to perpetuate the
clique by blaming the other side. He
saw that the other side of the clique ( ie: the white
people of South Africa) had to be part of the
often, I see the same dynamic at play in the
workforce. Cliques continue to exist
and don't progress forward because each side keeps the
other at bay and in blame of the problem.
Women blame men for their career advancement
problems. Hispanics blame
non-Hispanics for their career problems. Exempts blame
non-exempts. And the list goes
the fact is that your nemesis (the other side of your
clique) needs to be part of your solution. Your
nemesis must become your ally for the situation to
change. Great leaders like Nelson Mandela and Dr.
Martin Luther King understood this very
my work today supports women entrepreneurs and corporate
executives to become more effective leaders.
This work can lead to having women-targeted
workshops, meetings and events.
Many men colleagues and men friends have
often given me a hard time about that, feeling that
these activities exclude them and other men.
this isn't true.
the inception of many of these seemingly "exclusive
groups" there is a fundamental belief that sponsors and
members are needed from the other side of the clique to
help solve the problems being faced.
Perhaps even sororities and fraternities
operate under this same premise today.
Many men are on my list and many are included on
the invitation to attend these events because they can
be women's best advocates and are in fact, an essential
part of the solution.
about you? Can you lead your situation to
a better place by making your nemesis an ally and
becoming part of your