Become an explorer in everyday life

By: Katarina Önell 23 June 2016

“Have you tested for syphilis?”
The patient with diffuse symptoms had long been a tricky case. No one had an answer. The doctor, who had been in Sweden only for a few months, visited his new workplace. It took him 15 minutes to ask the question, based on his experience. Raised in a different country. Educated in a third. Well-traveled, he came with different eyes and different knowledge.

She was 68 years old and still worked for the company when the CEO came to her with an offer.
“I am looking for an assistant and I’m interested in you. But you will also need to learn the intranet, that’s part of the job.”

She was surprised and pleased. It was unexpected and invigorating.
“Well, I want to work and have learned so many systems over the years, I see no problem with the intranet.”

So she started to work and began coordinating the CEO’s activities. With English as the corporate language, there were many trips and international visitors to take care of. Her retirement was postponed and no one was happier than the CEO for every year that passed - 5 excellent years in total. She was 73 years old when she retired for good.

Competence is a bit like the universe - infinite. And it comes in different shapes and forms, all you have to do is to find it. Thanks to the adventurers, explorers, people relocating and holiday travel, the world has also developed. So many ideas, inspiration and knowledge has been gathered from different locations and by new, unexpected meetings between people. Discoveries can occur in everyday life too.

We only need the courage to try an unknown co-worker or test someone in a new role to make it happen. The job’s unsolved problems get solved. Tasks get taken care of with new energy. A new concept can be sold or customers feel that “someone understands me” and becomes a loyal customer.

Or, as it was for the French companies in Paris that decided to make a contribution to society. They voluntarily joined together in a Diversity Charter, and offered young people training and networking in their companies. It was so successful that it became an integral part of the corporate strategy and there is now a Diversity Charter in 17 countries! For the first time ever, the EU Commission picked up a voluntary industry initiative and gathered all the charters in one platform.

All to spread more knowledge about diversity and inclusion that develops businesses and nations. Who could believe it when companies approached the young people in Paris?

So try to become a competence explorer. Be curious about other people, listen to those who cross your path and why not work together?

Then you can both learn about rare diseases and get your intranet updated!

Katarina Önell
Chairman, Diversity Charter Sweden & Client Service Director, TNS SIFO