Yes, I am going to use the ‘diversity’ word. I know we are seeing it everywhere as the panacea of all things including business and here is more justification for its importance.
Becoming a globally connected world is affording us the opportunity to understand different cultures far more than before.
Diversity of language, culture, ethics and consequently thinking are more relevant than ever. Watching a great TED talk about language the quote, ‘two countries divided by a common language spring to mind’, has never been more relevant than now. It’s so easy to misinterpret what someone is saying. Add non-natives to the mix and it is amazing there are not more misunderstandings.
Now take that understanding into the business world. People feel comfortable working with others they like and relate to and yet that will not give them the best chance for business success. No matter what product or services your business provides at the end of the line there is a customer and that customer is diverse and varied. Gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality, preconceived ideas or concepts, they are there all the way through the process, from concept to delivery.
Working with a diversity of people may make the whole process difficult, even make you uncomfortable. Yet the end results, I believe, will create a great business and a successful business, one that will also move us a step towards greater respect and tolerance for those we don’t understand.
I have often heard, “I can’t work with that person, they are so organised, disorganised, too focussed, not focused enough”. There will always be a reason why. I see the greatest business challenge as “how do you learn to harness that diversity and allow it to work for your business”? Once you head down the path of increasing diversity in your business you will need to manage the process, so everyone feels included and respected and is able to perform to the best of their abilities.
Effecting change, needs to come from the top the owners/ founders dedicating time and resources so that diversity goes beyond words and becomes reality. Informal and/or social settings, people connecting with each other sharing experiences, celebrating milestones met or great achievements completed.
Establishing a buddy/mentoring system for new people is also a great way to move forward with successful diversity in your business. There are many ways that you can encourage diversity in your business.
Please let us know your thoughts and ideas around increasing diversity in your business.