We live in a society that constantly and desperately attempts to separate us into buckets and cause division. And who can blame this society? As humans, we try to make rational generalizations based on observation and using that data to understand the world. However, people are interesting. As I wrote last week in How to Fight Insecurity, we are all different in some way, which would mean that the neat piles that our society tries to place us in get pretty messy pretty quickly.
Diversity is needed. I actually spoke on this recently: we are all different, not divided. Without diversity, there can’t be inclusion. This is one of those concepts that turn out to be pretty counterintuitive. But how can this be? Wouldn’t decision making, vision casting, and leading be easier if everyone thought the same way and had the same motivations? Of course it would be easier! However, when you think about it organizationally, who benefits from a homogeneous culture where everyone is a cookie-cutter participant? Only the decision makers.
Conflict spawns from diversity since different people have differing opinions and thoughts. This is a good thing! This kind of conflict helps us see the same issue from a different angle and allows us to reframe the problem in a better light, which will lead to a better decision. But I must end this post with a caveat: diversity and conflict is only effective (not efficient) if and only if everyone buys into the final decision even if the idea wasn’t their own and they vehemently disagree.
What are some ways you manage diversity in your organization? What are some other benefits you see from having a diverse culture? Have you every strongly disagreed with something but still bought into the vision?