Practicing Inclusion and Diversity at home

September 21, 2011 - 2 Comments

Do you measure the success of your family by its ROI?

Every month, I receive an invite to attend Professional Business Women of California’s professional development sessions on a variety of topics. Their recent Webinar was a particularly interesting and thought-provoking one – how we can apply the skills we have learnt in our career to strengthening the most important organisation in the world, our family.

The webinar was presented by Barbara Fagan-Smith, a successful business woman who (like many successful people) used to pour herself into her work and didn’t have the same energy for her family. She decided to start Family ROI, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people of all backgrounds apply proven business principles to revitalize, focus and strengthen their own family.

Barbara took us through four key areas where we could do this: Communication, Culture, Mission and Practices. As she was talking a thought started to come into my mind. If we can apply our business skills to our family, and Inclusion and Diversity is a key value of ours at Cisco that should be core to everything we do in our business life, then we should be practicing I&D in the home and applying it to our family life. In other words, home is a safe and reliable space to practice the skill of I&D.

As Brad Oliver said the other week – “You have to find a way to incorporate [Inclusion and Diversity] into Cisco and outside of Cisco every day – make it part of your life and your DNA.” Inclusion and Diversity should be a part of everything we do – in the home, in the office and on the go.

I believe that the basic premise of I&D is to treat everyone with respect; educating yourself and not viewing cultures, religion, gender, sexual orientation and/or disabilities as a disadvantage recognising that everyone has individual talents and skills – key lessons that many of us learn as a child in the home. And even the concept of “home” and “family” is diverse today in the sense that families have their own cultures, genders, languages, religious backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations and disabilities. I&D is something we are taught in the home and we can always go back to the home to practice it and implement it into everything we do.



  • Barbara asked us are we using giraffe language or jackal language. As the mammal with the largest heart, giraffe language is intended to connect through empathy and honesty whereas jackal language is intended to judge, criticise, accuse or interrogate? As a follow on from this are you making an observation or a judgement?
  • Do you stay connected and how often are you have regular family meetings? Do you use a variety of communications depending on the needs and preferences of your family members (this could be emails, text, IM, Facebook, videos, Google Calendar, etc.)



  • Every family has their own culture; it is the shared values that a family has based on its behaviours, traditions and identity
  • Culture lies at the heart of everything a family does and having a healthy, strong family culture will help your family achieve its dream



  • What is your family’s vision and purpose in all aspects of life: work, school, family time, community, finances, physical, spiritual, and day-to-day living
  • What are your family’s top priories and do you have a plan to achieve this?



  • What are key areas in your day-to-day family life that need improvement, and develop an action plan to implement at home?
  • Are you recognising and appreciating your family member’s individual talents and using them to approach a task just like the way you would approach a problem at work?

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  1. I love your site. keep good working.

    • Hi January,

      Thank you for the positive feedback! If there are any articles that you find particularly thought-provoking or can relate to in your role and daily live, we welcome your comments!

      Many thanks,