Is Your Business or School Culture A Melting Pot or a Tossed Salad?

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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Founded over 200 years ago, the United States of America is a country of diversity. And in the ensuing years, a belief system evolved in which individuals and their respective traditions were asked to assimilate into the existing culture. This “melting pot" approach presumed that the strengths of each contributor meld together made the country stronger.

Now, with even greater diversity, does this approach acknowledge and, more importantly, work with the natural strengths of individuals? Possibly, a more innovative strategy needs to be considered which blends all the contributors together without losing their strengths resulting in a more dramatic and flavorful recipe.

For a few moments, envision a tossed salad. The salad bowl is brimming with a variety of different greens including romaine, endive and spinach. Within this sea of greens, are mixed bright red tomatoes, thinly sliced orange carrots, strips of yellow peppers, bits of Swiss cheese and black or green olives. Even before the salad is covered with a favorite dressing, each individual ingredient in this bowl enhances the overall flavor of the dish.

Using this analogy, think of individuals within your business or school as the greens, the vegetables, the fruits, the cheese and the olives. Each of these individuals brings their natural strengths to the every day actions that make any organization a success. Now, further imagine the dressing to be the strategic plan that covers everyone and binds all actions together. Wow, what an incredible mix! And, just think about all of the potential opportunities and possibilities?

If you believe that winning teams win because of the individual strengths of each team member, then doesn’t it make sense to leverage those strengths for your business or your school to create the high performance culture that you desire? Possibly, by thinking of diversity from a blended recipe perspective instead of a bland conformity one, may help you take your organization to that next level of success.

Word Count: 320

Copyright 2005(c) Leanne Hoagland-Smith,

This article may be freely published. Permission to publish this article, electronically or in print, as long as the bylines are included, with a live link, and the article is not changed in any way (grammatical corrections accepted).

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M. S. CEO of ADVANCED SYSTEMS located outside of Chicago, IL, is the Learning and Process Specialist. With over 25 years of business & education experience, she helps her clients to double their performance. By uniting systems, strategies and people to create loyal internal customers, Leanne brings a unique perspective to training and development that delivers ROI solutions in 4 key areas: financials, leadership, relationships and growth & innovation within a variety of industries including education, healthcare, manufacturing and professional services. As co-author of M. A. G. I. C. A. L. Potential: 7 Capacities for Living an Amazing Life Beyond Purpose to Achievement due for 2005 release, Leanne speaks nationally to a variety of audiences. Please contact Leanne at 219.759.5601 or visit to read how you can connect your passion to your purpose to double your performance for unheard of results.


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