Diversity is an often discussed topic. Our common belief is that diversity means inclusion, and that creates a variety of opinions that can help us reach better answers, better compete in today’s global environment, and better represent all of the constituencies that we serve in the goal to achieve meaningful communication to our mutual benefit.
The real-world experience of diversity may take us out of our comfort zone, because it exposes us to people and expertise we may not be comfortable with or initially value. It can often be perceived to slow down decision making or expose us to approaches and answers that may be outside of our reach and comfort zone.
It seems to me that the real hurdle to diversity is our own ability to be comfortable with the unknown or uncomfortable. So how do we go about getting comfortable? We can make a point to take a ”time out” from the tasks that weigh us down on a daily basis and invest in getting to know someone different than ourselves. If we can have a respectful and open conversation about each other as people, the discomfort will diminish. If we can create a safe environment to talk about what we have in common and what’s different, we can establish a greater respect for those differences. This allows us to grow and be better educated and open to a range of solutions and options that previously eluded us. This may not be easy in today’s business environment, but that is why it’s so valuable.
I view diversity not only as the right thing to do, but there is also a strong business case that makes it imperative for our future business success.
How do you think we can add a broader perspective to our solutions? What has worked for you? Does your company have a formal diversity program? I would love to hear your perspective.