My birthday happens to be the first week of January, which always makes it an interesting time of year for me. Don’t worry; I will forgive you for not sending an e-card. Inevitably it’s difficult for me to convince people to celebrate on my actual birthday because many are only beginning to have their shame subside for behaviour caused by one too many types of eggnog on New Year’s Eve.

Every few years, I muster up a group of friends and head down to Niagara Falls for a weekend at the casinos. I’m not really the gambling type, but there is something nice about just getting away on a quick all-inclusive weekend vacation and, since we are headquartered here in Ontario, it’s just at our doorstep.

When I do gamble, I have always been a roulette fan. There is something so timeless about the game. The wheel, the quickly spinning colors and sound of the rolling ball all indulge my appreciation for the experience.

Roulette is a casino game named after a French diminutive for the phrase little wheel; petite roue. In the game, players may choose to place bets on either a single number or a range of numbers, the colors red or black, or whether the number is odd or even.

To determine the winning number and color, a croupier spins a wheel in one direction, while alternatively launching a ball in the opposite direction on a tilted circular track running around the circumference of the wheel. Eventually losing momentum the ball falls on to the wheel and into one of 37 (European roulette) or 38 (North American roulette) coloured, numbered pockets.

Historically, the Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae, is a medieval concept and ancient philosophy that refers to the wayward nature of Fate. The thinking behind it is that the wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna. She spins the wheel at random and changes the positions of those on the wheel: some suffer great misfortune, others gain windfalls, and some remain on neutral grounds.

This last time I was playing, the notion hit me: roulette makes an incredible business case for diversity and inclusion. It represents an ideal that I encourage you to embrace for 2012:

Embracing the power of possibilities.

The changing times and adjusting populations are a clear example of similarities to the wheel of fortune. We can’t control life and its beautiful randomness, but we can strategically increase our possibilities, which by nature increase our potential for success.

Let’s say:

  • The roulette table represents a specific industry.
  • The wheel and ball represent the changing times and fickle attitudes of the public needs.
  • The numbered/coloured squares represent all the varied areas of expertise that exist within an industry.
  • our chips represents the valuable assets; money, ability, and time.

As a business owner, you have several basic strategies you can take:

  • Place large amounts of your own chips in one or limited number of squares.
    This is for the pure risk takers. All in/All out types. In this scenario, you have increased your opportunities to fail. The public, time and time again, has proven that even if you are in today, you may be out tomorrow. Some people enjoy that aspect as it provides a limited amount of commitment, but longevity can be like finding the needle in the haystack.
  • Place small amounts of your own chips in as many squares as possible.
    Sure you have increased your possibilities for success, but you have capped its value potential. That evil phrase, ROI, will never really represent the efforts being implemented into your vision. This will leave you stressed, tired, broke and with underdeveloped ideas. If it doesn’t, you are one of the lucky ones.
  • Collaborate. Strategically place your chips combined with others chips on as many squares as possible.
    You have a vision to win and if you can convince others that your vision is worthwhile, they will invest their assets – their time, ability and/or money alongside of you. Now you can cover as many squares as possible, with the proper amount of time and/or funding needed. This scenario leaves you, without a doubt, with the highest level for potential success.

All business is a gamble. Using diversity as a tool while taking these risks will only heighten the value of your potential. When we increase the diversity of our expertise, combined with fostering inclusion of others’ assets, we create opportunities for unexpected innovation and in turn hopefully fiscal and/or ethical growth.


“The power of possibilities is endless.” – Quite the birthday gift of a realization.


(And the $50 that I won didn’t hurt either!)


“All the evidence shows that God was actually quite a gambler, and the universe is a great casino, where dice are thrown, and roulette wheels spin on every occasion” 
– Stephen Hawking

about the author - Elaine


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