Looking for a model? Companies ARE already purple, America!

Business leaders are expected to leave politics out of the workplace and, for the most part, that’s probably good advice. However, businesses are made up of people and people chose sides on November 8 or opted out of the process altogether. Some of those people were delighted with the results partying into the wee hours of the workday calling in sick on Wednesday. Others went to bed when the early results rolled in at 9 pm and also called in sick. But most of us, got up and went to work delivering mail, hauling trash, resolving insurance claims, counseling a grieving family, manufacturing lifesaving devices, cleaning hotel rooms, helping people find jobs, and counting ballots long after some media pundit had already announced the results.

America did what America does best, we went back to work . . . And we took our raw emotions and feelings of jubilation with us.

Yes, it’s going to take some time to sort this election out. The amount of vitriol spewed on both sides has prompted an unfriending trend on Facebook; led Target to exhort its employees to breathe in, breathe out (accompanied by a coloring book); and caused the leadership of American Airlines to remind its people of their values, the company’s values, the nation’s values. People have taken to the streets in protest for the past several nights, while the President and President-Elect sat down on Thursday for 90 minutes to talk about how to transition power peacefully . . . working together.

Every day, in companies, organizations all across America, people who didn’t vote for the same person are working side by side in offices, factories, stores, and plants . . . together. People who worship different gods or no god at all are stocking shelves and checking out customers . . . together. People who are paid a minimum wage are sharing lunchrooms and restrooms with people who make many thousands of dollars more . . . together. People whose skin color ranges from alabaster to ebony are caring for the sick and injured . . . together. People who love someone of the opposite sex or someone of the same sex are building houses, paving roads, or serving food . . . together.  Working together.

Yes, we can learn a lot from our purple workplaces.

Brigid Schulte, director of the Better Life Lab at the New America Foundation in Washington, wore purple to the polls last Tuesday to remind herself “ . . .  no matter how “other” we seem, we do all share the fundamental ideals of American democracy and the American Dream – meaningful work that provides a sense of purpose as well as security, time to love, to make connections with others, to play and feel joy, to be grounded in community and a sense of place, to have boundless opportunity, to be part of something bigger, more hopeful than ourselves alone, and to engage with, not turn away from our neighbors at home nor in the rest of the world. That is what I will be holding to in whatever is to come. That in purple America, in our willingness to see, to listen and to hear each other, we can find our shared humanity.”

Lately, I’ve been wearing a lot of purple – it’s the color of our daughter’s alma mater. At every rugby tailgate I’ve attended I’ve seen people wearing sweaters, t-shirts, pants, hats, gloves, and even socks to match – one vast host of purple humanity. What a glorious sight to behold.  Bottom line? Everyone looks better with a dash of purple. Myself included. Hallelujah.


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