Hidden Figures

Set at the time when USA seemed to be losing the space race to Russia, Hidden Figures tells the story of 3 African-American women who made significant contributions to America’s space programme.

It’s an enjoyable watch, with some great lessons too.

Aside from the basic wrongness of the practice, the film made me think about the waste and lost opportunities caused by discrimination in society. How many social, medical and academic advances have we missed out on because we held a person’s skin colour, or religion, or gender as more important than that person’s ability and talent?

It reminded me of a point Sara Tucker from Lion made during her presentation to the Bragato Conference.  It’s not just about different puzzle pieces. It’s about bringing those pieces together the right way. (See previous posts on Lion’s workplace diversity and equality programmes and the diversity-puzzle analogy)

How much more could Kathryn Johnson have contributed if she wasn’t running a quarter mile for every bathroom break?

Having a diverse workforce isn’t enough. We need to make sure we give our teams the tools they need and create the right cultural and physical environment to bring out the best in everyone.

What are the unique needs of your team? Are they being met? I’m not suggesting you go all Kevin Costner with a sledgehammer, but what changes could you make to your business’s premises, practices or processes to meet team members’ different needs, and to help your team members thrive?

By the way, I enjoyed Hidden Figures flying home from a business trip and enjoyed it so much that I rented it to watch again with my family. It’s a great watch, for the whole family and prompted some good discussion around America’s civil rights movement and discrimination.


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