We didn’t plan it to be like this. Being an inclusive company is something that happened naturally without us even noticing it, and I think that’s precisely the reason why it’s so much meaningful this way.

I personally hate when people talk about all the measurements they have implemented for their company to be "inclusive" and "diverse". If you have to force it to be so, then your environment —your company culture — is just simply not good enough to sustain it.

Diversity is an essence of your company

What is really complicated is that you might fall into positive discrimination. Positive discrimination in the corporate world is just as bad as “regular” one. It means that you are aware there is a specific group that is getting left behind, and you are going to try to level the field by allowing extra opportunities to such group. It sounds pretty fair in theory, but it means that you are now willing to be not equitative with the rest of people.

If you really want to do something about your company environment, working culture and, in general, how it is perceived, I recommend you start by looking at your company’s values and ethos. That’s where true change can be achieved, and the repercussions will immediately be seen. See your own faults before trying to implement policies. Policies are for rectification, not for formation —diversity and inclusiveness is an essence of your company, not an accessory.

One of the building blocks of our company culture is our rule #2: Don’t be an asshole. Laugh all you want, but it carries a very powerful message: you can’t be part of our team if your work ethics are not aligned with ours. And you probably don’t realize how important this is until you see yourself surrounded by all kinds of people, from different cultural backgrounds and somehow they not only get along, but they all work as a team. . . all because of the starting point that a simple 4-word rule gives all of us.

Excellence is a habit

When we finally started hiring people, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to understand who we were and what was going to be our culture as a company. In accordance to our rule #3 (simplicity is the ultimate sophistication), we just handed them our Dojo Kun, which all of us has to follow. If you read it, it doesn’t say anything regarding what you cannot say or do, nor it is a discipline code. As one of the corollary of our rule #2 states: rules are for the obedience of fools and guidance of wise men.

During our hiring stage we had applicants as different as the stars in the sky. . . And it seems to me that knowing these rules were applied at Adapttech made all of them feel comfortable and welcome; and at the same time they perfectly knew what they were getting into: being diverse and inclusive is a natural byproduct of having an ethical and respectful company culture. . . which takes me to our rule #4 about how to maintain it: we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.