It has been several weeks since George Floyd’s life was taken by a senseless action — the most recent in a series of deaths that continue to show evidence of systemic bias and even hate within today’s society. First, I know that there has never been a more important time to exercise empathy. I’ve never been a victim of racism like this, or been looked at differently because of the color of my skin, but I know many Dealers and their employees who have. Personally, I have deep empathy for people who have different experiences than my own. I remain empathetic by listening, remembering, acknowledging and fighting against the systemic issues that date back centuries. Systemic issues that we’ve yet to successfully remove from our society — that all of us play a part in upholding in some way or another. I want to have a better understanding of other people’s lives, their experiences and their feelings, and take more effective action that aligns with my values. I want to judge less and see more of our common truth and the oneness we all share.
We need to lean into our differences together. Taking no action is as bad as taking bad action. It’s on all of us to muster up the courage to be part of the change. That calls for us to listen, to speak up, to stand up for the marginalized and the victims among us and to push back against bullying and exclusivity. Diversity of all types is important to helping us become stronger communities. Inclusion and equity are even more important. If more of us aren’t committed to advocating for diverse perspectives and inclusive culture, neither will happen and the systemic issues won’t go away. After all, we are all a vital part of our communities. No matter how large or small the Dealership, we can respectfully lead change together.
If you are like me, you got into the Dealer business because you wanted to make a difference to restaurant owners, retailers and other businesses in your neighborhood. I will never forget the day I sold my restaurants and realized that as a Dealer, I could maintain my love for the retail and restaurant industries while playing with technology. I thought to myself, “Wait...and I can make a difference by helping people too? Wow!” But for myself, and I suspect it may be true for others, life happens. We forget how lucky we are to be in this business and start thinking about how to win, beat and lately, survive. We forget that the community is king and we can make a difference. Yes, life has changed. But we as Dealers can choose not only to be part of that change, but lead it.
Maybe the next time you find yourself having to justify value versus price to a customer, or why they should NOT choose buying direct over your 25-year-old family POS business, explain why your community matters to you. Show them how you and your team braved the pandemic to help businesses open back up while respecting, and being empathic to, the diversity of all people in your community. Together, we can do our part to engage in and support change with the goal of a more inclusive culture that helps us establish a strong community for all of the people we interact with every day.
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