We tend to focus on diversity as an issue of workplace relationships.
It’s much more than that.
When we limit our focus to whether or not people are “playing nicely” together, the idea of diversity can take on a lot of destructive baggage. We can even begin thinking that it would be easier if we had a less diverse workforce. After all, if everyone were more alike, we wouldn’t have to deal with these issues – right?
Maybe, and maybe not.
More to the point, though, we’d be putting a very real lid on our organization’s ability to succeed. In creating a comfortable sameness, we’d severely limit our problem-solving capacity. And we’d pretty much put a stop to any potential for creativity, innovation, and growth.
Because – as Einstein is reputed to have said – problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them. So when everyone within an organization thinks alike, coming from a similar background, ethnic group, nationality, religion, and so forth, then, well, everyone thinks alike. No one can think outside the box because everyone’s comfortably sitting inside it.
Significant new ideas and solutions to big problems require new ways of thinking. The only way to have new ways of thinking is to bring together a diverse workforce of people from many different backgrounds. In short, new ways of thinking come from people we often consider “outsiders.”
This environment may not always be the most comfortable. It will definitely push most of us out of our comfort zones at one point or another. But when the issues of how we get along are addressed effectively, the diverse workforce will always be stronger, more resilient, and more creative than the homogeneous workforce.
And that means the organization will be poised for true success.
Recommended Training Resource: Wealth, Innovation, and Diversity – Putting Our Differences to Work in the 21st Century. Using examples from biodiversity research as well as corporate case studies, renowned futurist and leadership consultant Joel Barker explores the power of diversity to create success in our global era. As he explains, without diversity we cannot grow and develop, we cannot innovate, and we cannot create corporate or personal success and wealth. On the other hand, when we embrace the challenges and potential of a diverse community and a diverse world – the sky is the limit!