“The day we understand that we are ALL foreigners, we will begin to understand that no one is a stranger“. This great phrase was uttered by my dear Professor Itamar Rogovsky, few days ago at a conference in Barcelona about the feeling of foreignness in the organization.

The current plight of refugees is putting once again to the fore the issue of solidarity and inclusion in diversity. Moreover, this is something that spreads systemically in any area of our lives: family relationships, professional, neighborhood…

We must understand the need that makes us respect, or even fear, what is different from us. Although we are more rational than before, humans are still animals, hence we have automatic mechanisms to avoid or survive the unknown.

Understood and accepted this, we must also be aware that in the words of Professor Itamar, we are all foreigners from the moment we were expelled from our mother’s womb.

Who has not changed his country, it has changed region or neighborhood, or business, or job, or group of friends, or football team, and we could go on and on.

So nobody, absolutely nobody, can be stand-alone or local in life in all its dimensions.

And when a person decides, or is forced to make some of these changes of the “tribe” needs to be integrated, rejoin another tribe, because the human being does not know live alone and isolated. And as Itamar says, the foreign comes to stay abroad without losing the identity (something that you cannot give it up). And if they do not let him do your normal life in equilibrium with his identity (although has been partially integrated into the new situation), he will revealed and will strive to meet his needs.

We have countless examples of this in the social, political, economic and business, and seems that we do not want to understand. It is true that we do not know how to do it; it is also true that we have made progress because life pushes us to integrate and mingle in all its diversity and nuances.

But it is also true that we can put more intention and means, from governments, communities, businesses and individuals in general, to make our lives easier.


We are all foreigners in the organization


As a social system, the organization also requires courageous leadership that do not tame its members trying to create monochrome or unique cultures, but rather opportunities for dialogue among this huge vital diversity.

That is why more and more companies opting for measures that go in this direction, such as:

  • Enhance team diversity, starting with the steering committee, with high cultural differences where members come from a variety of latitudes and backgrounds
  • Encourage the communication channels and events where the exchange of ideas or perspectives generate debates
  • Include corporate values principles that are sensitive to promote diversity and to enhance relationships, creativity and innovation in the organization
  • Policies, procedures and standards that include and protect all different sensitivities
  • Development and training programs that promote diversity management and knowledge of other cultures, languages, ways of doing, generational issues, etc.

I would like to end this article recommending to click the following link to see a dance show of Swedish dancers about the current situation with refugees in the world.

Suffering, perseverance, struggle and passion for life. This is what the refugees in the world show us every day. And they are us.



Enric Arola