My friend Tom Everill is the CEO of Northwest Center, which employs differently-abled people across several lines of business such as light manufacturing, packaging, janitorial services and data entry, as well as placing individuals within other firms.
In November he wrote a wonderful Seattle Business Magazine article The New Competitive Edge in which he shows how we can harness the power of human diversity to drive productivity, quality, innovation and customer satisfaction. This is not just a puff piece about "let's respect all people", it shows how we can give back but also gain concrete business benefits from hiring people who may not be just like us.
Leading organizations who tout their diversity programs seek to promote people of different genders and religious backgrounds to leadership positions, not only white males of a certain generation. It's expected not only that these people are chosen for their exceptional abilities, and that their different perspectives will bring benefits to the organization.
How many leaders today would view the different abilities of a partially paralyzed person, an autistic person or a person with Down's syndrome as true business assets? Tom does. Read the article to find out why.
What we need is to make a sort of radical diversity, the type of inclusion and caring for one another that brings out the best of our humanity, the norm.