August 19, 2004

News & Opinion: Discrimination is Good, It Is Right, and It Is Necessary

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:34 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

If we are to transcend (philosophically) the traditional definition of diversity, we must also re-visit the much-aligned concept of discrimination. The word discrimination got a bad rap during the Age of Diversity, but it cannot be an automatic conclusion that discrimination is always malicious or even wrong. As a manager, if you never discriminate, you are not a manager.
The key, however, is to discriminate based upon relative value and performance. That kind of discrimination is not only good, it is right, and it is necessary in the Age of the Individual, and in a meritocracy. Its not an option. Workers cannot have it both ways. If you want a culture that celebrates their individuality, you must also assume the responsibility of making a valuable individual contribution.
Critical to making a successful transition to a meritocracy is education. Educate your workers as to the performance criteria by which survival and success are measured, and that if individuality is to be a celebrated core value of your organization, then the individual must also be responsible for earning the right to be treated as an individual, to be a weirdo of worth!

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.