•Tell The Truth
•Keep Your Promises
•Respect The Individual
•Encourage Intellectual Curiosity
And the answer is:
I was talking last week with my brother-in-law, who races motorcycles and teaches motorcycle safety, about the whole Harley-Davidson motorcycle culture, and he shared with me that the reason he's so committed and proud to be part of the Harley-Davidson community is what they stand for.
And I said, slightly sarcastic, "what? Revving their engines super loud? Looking tough?"
And he pulled this out of his wallet:
I was floored.
Harley Davidson? The leather-wearing, super-butch biker crowd holds "Tell The Truth" as one of their five core values? "Be Fair?" "Keep Your Promises?" "Respect The Individual?" It sounds like some high achieving elementary school creed. And then, "Encourage Intellectual Curiosity" - and when I read that fifth core value, I could almost hear my inner stereotypes about "bikers" shatter.
I mean, hey, I know my brother-in-law, and it's no surprise to me that he holds those values. But even knowing how involved he is in the world of Harley-Davidson, and racing motorcycles, it didn't occur to me that maybe the other guys on the bikes, with the handlebar moustaches and the leather chaps, with the shiny chrome bikes and the ear-splitting engines, maybe they, too, are all about telling the truth, and being fair, and keeping your promises, and respecting the individual, and encouraging their own and others' intellectual curiosity.
And all I can say is, wow. I didn't realize I was holding onto that stereotype and putting a whole group of people into a box that was based on myth and fear and ignorance.
But now I (and you) know better.
Harley-Davidson Motorcycles. They've got some awesome core values.
And the next time I meet a biker, I'll treat them (even in my mind) with more respect.
Stereotypes are insidious things - and it's always fascinating (and humbling) to call ourselves on holding them. Knowledge is power, and the more we know about others, the better world we will all create.
So, did you see that coming?