The "White Goose"

inclusion, diversity, integration, white goose, yan maschke, executive coach, cleveland ohio

I was excited to have our annual visit to our friends’ second home at the Indiana Dunes over July 4th holiday last year. 

There is a peaceful pond, on which a family of Canadian geese roams around every summer, with their signature black neck, brown body and a strip of white under-chin. The baby geese became bigger year over year, and the family has grown to be more than 20 geese. 

“Here they come!” I was excited. 

With beautiful ease, they floated over the surface of the pond into our viewing window on the balcony. I can see the Mother Goose, the Father Goose, and the babies that are no longer babies. 

“That’s strange, a pure white goose is in the middle with the Canadian geese family!” I almost yelled. 

Our friends told us that this white goose seemed to have come from nowhere, and the Canadian geese family has nicely embraced the white goose into their family.

Looking at the obvious difference between the snow-white goose and the other 20 or so dark Canadian geese, I couldn’t help but wonder what made this integration successful

There are “white geese” in many situations in our environment - people with background, opinions, styles, and perspectives different than ours. One difference is that OUR “white geese” are far less visually obvious than what’s floating on this pond. 

With our increasingly more diverse, global, and ever-changing world, it has become far more important that WE integrate and embrace the “white geese” in our human community.

But whose job is it to integrate the “white geese”?

You have probably been a “white goose” in some situations in your life and you learn how to assimilate while still trying to be yourself.  You have probably also been part of the main group helping to embrace someone else who may feel like a “white goose”. 

I wonder what role the Canadian geese family played in embracing the “white goose”?

What role do you think WE can all play to embrace the “white geese” in our lives - both work and personal?

A few thoughts come to my mind:

  1. Step out and take the initiative to invite and embrace the “white geese”. Seek out their options, take on their perspectives, appreciate their differences. 
  2. If you feel like a “white goose” sometimes, don’t assume you are not accepted. Be courageous and authentic to express yourself and find comfort in seeking the embrace.
  3. Sometimes we can get caught up in feeling that we are the “white goose” and stop noticing those around us feeling just like us. You can always help embrace other “white geese” even if you feel like one in some way

What wisdom do you have to share on this?