Dispatches from #SHRM14 Day Two: Keynotes, Conversations & Cultural Sensitivity?

The second day of large conferences has always been my favorite day. Everything is still fresh and new, the speakers are excited, and the attendees are excited… well let me rephrase that, the attendees are excited until they realize that their next session is across the convention center.

Day two here at #SHRM14 was another excellent day. One of the more innovative things that I’ve seen this year is the programming in the “Connection Zone”. While this idea and iteration is not new (the last two conferences in Atlanta and Chicago had “The Hive”) it’s great to see and hear some fresh voices and ideas and to see individuals get some stage time.

Finally, I’m trying to get over a quote that Tuesday’s Keynote speaker Mr. Thomas Friedman. His quote got reworked to be a bit more “twitter friendly” and it didn’t sit well with me. His original quote “Think like a new immigrant; stay hungry” is innocuous when read in its original form. The quote that’s causing me angst is the one that’s being passed around it is simply “Think like an immigrant”

Let’s pretend we’re not in a state where immigration is a pretty big deal, hell let’s pretend we’re not at an HR conference (with international attendees), can someone share with me just how “immigrant’s” think? Do they think different? How do I know if someone is an immigrant? Do they have a….. See what I mean? See how ridiculous and culturally insensitive the quote appears.

It’s hard to hear quotes like “HR must exercise expertise and influence” at the conference and see an internet meme that starts with the line “Think Like an Immigrant” .

Let’s see if we can “Transform” our thinking to something a bit more culturally sensitive…

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COMMENTS 1

Comments

Oh my. We have become so politically correct that we need to be afraid of saying anything. The comment was clearly intended as a compliment to immigrants. Traditionally immigrants believe in hard work, education fro their children and advancing up the socio-econimic ladder. Do native born Americans believe that too. Sure, but there is no denying the history of immigrant parents instilling those values deep in their children. Lighten up and accept the comment for what is was intended to be-a compliment.

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