Imagine you’re walking along on a street not far from your home.
A homeless person walks up to you and asks for spare change.
What do you do?
- “I don’t know who you are, but here’s a dollar.” Whether you tell him you don’t have any or you hand him a buck, you’re unlikely to overthink it, or continue to ponder it moments later. The encounter barely registers emotionally or financially.
- “You’re like me, here’s everything I have.” What if they told you they’re from your hometown, went to the same school as you, moved here and fell upon hard times? Are you going to merely give him change, or are you going to give him shelter, food, council, and support?
You and he are still the same people. All that changed was the knowledge of shared past experiences. You realize you’re just like him. Despite not sharing the same blood, shared heritage is enough to make you behave like you do.
As teams doing important work in the marketplace, we should think hard about what heritage we share with those we wish to serve. What could it do to the quality of our relationships with them?