Naval Surface Warfare Center, Port Hueneme Division (NSWC PHD) hosted a Leadership in a Diverse Environment Event (LDEE) on site, May 30.
The educational event was sponsored by the Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA)/NSWC PHD LDEE II cohort of 16 appointees at the command serving as “change agents,” whose primary goal is to promote strategies to create and enhance an inclusive working environment for all to reach their leadership potential.
LDEE II meets a command strategic objective for “building and shaping a mission-focused workforce.”
“Diversity in the workplace is central to carrying out our mission,” stated NAVSEA Executive Director for Naval Surface Warfare Center and Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Don McCormack, via a pre-recorded video message displayed at the event. “We need the best people and inviting everybody with good ideas into the workplace makes our contribution to the fleet better.”
“The power of diversity provides an opportunity for personal and professional growth,” stated NSWC PHD Technical Director, Paul Mann, during opening remarks. “We must ask ourselves if we are involving everyone in our mission. Inclusion requires a conscious effort from everyone.”
Keynote speaker, Steve Robbins, delivered a message on diversity and inclusion.
“Diversity and closed-mindedness leads to misunderstanding, miscommunication and conflict,” said Robbins. “Diversity plus open-mindedness equals synergy, resulting in positive outcomes, innovation and embracing change.”
According to Robbins, an expert in the field of cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and communication, “A bias is a patterned behavior and cognitive shortcut that the brain takes to save energy. People patterns, such as stereotypes, and mental models, are a form of psychological noise.”
“Noise prevents others from understanding you and your message, whether verbal or nonverbal,” stated Robbins.
Noise also can place others as outsiders, leading to social exclusion, which can manifest as mental pain and internalized feelings of oppression and rejection.
“Practice open-mindedness,” advised Robbins. “When you encounter someone who may have different beliefs, keep in mind three things—their journey and whether you understand them; remember your journey; and consider why you think you are right.”
“The true measure of a person is how well you care for strangers and outsiders,” continued Robbins. “Practice mindfulness and notice outsiders in your midst; when you include them you can gain friendship and trust and be a role model for others.”
“The lesson of open-mindedness applies to all of us here,” stated Mann in closing remarks. “If we remain committed each day to learn about our blind spots we can help each other; none of us are without opportunities to improve.”
The NAVSEA Warfare Centers held the inaugural LDEE in 2017, establishing cohorts across the Enterprise. This is the second LDEE held at NSWC PHD; the next event is scheduled to occur in November 2019.
Steve Robbins is a motivational keynote speaker, whose message on inclusion draws from extensive research in understanding human behavior and leveraging human differences in modern organizations. He holds a master’s and doctoral degree in communication science from Michigan State University, and an undergraduate degree in communication from Calvin College.
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