After speaking this week at the Mortgage Bankers Association inaugural Diversity Conference in Washington, D.C. as part of my National HOPE 100-City Book Tour, it became obvious to me that the business community generally uses the wrong lens when thinking through the issue of diversity in America (and quite possibly the rest of the world too).

Commendations to the MBA for holding this conference, and focusing their lens properly. But it did make me wonder how many other prominent business organizations, or businesses, see diversity as a straight ahead business issue.

That's right — a business issue.

Diversity is not a goody-too-shoes or a 'isn't that sweet' issue. It's not about morality or even the right thing to do. Yes, it is all of these good things for sure, but they're also fairly irrelevant in a hard nosed business environment. These reasons are nice but not sustainable. Here's what's sustainable:

Diversity is a business issue.

America is the largest economy in the world, and it also happens to be the most diverse place on the planet. Every race of people can be found here in the United States. And why do they come?

I asked one of my Pakistani drivers in Washington, D.C. why he came to America. His response – freedom.

When I then asked him why he ran a small business car service, as it would never make him rich by rich person's standards (though he could make a very good living at around 90k per year), and his answer was equally quick in response – freedom. The same answer.

So let's dig a little deeper on what freedom means to the American business plan called prosperity.

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John Hope Bryant is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Operation HOPE and Bryant Group Companies, Inc. Magazine/CEO READ bestselling
business author of LOVE LEADERSHIP: The New Way to Lead in a Fear-Based World (Jossey-Bass)
, and is the only 2010-2012 bestselling business author in America who is also African-American. His newest bestselling book is HOW THE POOR CAN SAVE CAPITALISM(Berrett Koehler Publishing). Bryant is a Member of the U.S. President's Advisory Council on Financial Capability for Young Americans, and co-chair for Project 5117, which is a plan for the rebirth of underserved America.

Follow John Hope Bryant on LinkedIn Influencers here.



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