What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

Up until a couple of years ago, I had never experienced any real anxiety. Or not that I knew of, at least. Until one day, I deboarded a plane in Canada, only moments later to find myself having a full-blown panic attack—hopefully my first and last. There was no apparent cause or reason. I was going somewhere and doing something I’d done countless times before.

But it came amid a highly stressful period for me. First there was the pandemic and then several major life events that followed (that I’ll refrain from detailing). My stress had reached the end of a major crescendo and there I was, passing through an airport, gasping for air, my heart racing.

All the while, I had no idea what was happening. I just put one foot in front of the other all the way to a cab and then to my hotel room. When I got there, it hit me … dry mouth, dizziness, heart racing, breathlessness—I was having a panic attack? It felt just the way I had always heard it described to me. But despite realizing what was happening, I was unable to disarm my body’s irrational fight or flight instinct. I just had to wait.

It’s hard to believe that, even with a deep understanding of our genetics and human psychology, that there would ever be a time when our instincts outweigh conscious behavior. But that’s exactly why some experts suspect that certain companies struggle with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI): unconscious fear and bias, based on the human instinct for tribalism.

At first blush, this sounded implausible to me. DEI efforts are conscious and deliberate, right? It turns out it might be more complicated than that— in some cases, at least. That’s one reason experts say it’s imperative that companies devise specific plans for their efforts and take a disciplined approach toward progress. It’s about ensuring that unconscious bias doesn’t get in the way.

On page 24, you’ll find more insights into this dilemma and how experts say you can ensure your company and its employees are practicing DEI the right ways, while also providing employees with a true sense of belonging (the ‘B’ in DEI+B).

Whether it’s DEIB or other aspects of business, progress can be a tough thing to measure, especially for an entire industry. Take hurricane products, for instance. Some years, it seems that there’s little to no change at all—no new codes and very few changes among products. On page 38, you’ll see how this year was different. We discovered that manufacturers have been hard at work, making hurricane and impact-rated products more attractive than ever to make them just as appealing as other products.

Of course, hurricane products aren’t the only to see their fair share of progress. This year (when we invited companies to submit information for our Annual Guide to New Products on page 30) it was apparent that R&D labs have been busy. We received more products than ever.

Whether it’s DEIB, hurricane products or product innovations in general—it’s always nice to sense that the industry is evolving. At the present, things might not be perfect, but you can feel that door and window companies are growing and improving. That’s exciting. And it’s what makes my job that much more enjoyable.

Drew Vass is the executive editor for [DWM] magazine.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

DWM Magazine

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