Expanding the definition of diversity in the workplace
”Let your mind go and the body will follow” — LA Story
This week the subject of diversity in the workplace came up in one my business meetings and thought I would share a few of the thoughts that were exchanged.
Many people immediately think of “gender” when they hear the word diversity but in the workplace, is that all it’s about?
At Olderhood we may be a small team, but we have always worked with and served people from all walks of life.
As such, we are constantly on the lookout for new ways of partnering and addressing the vast audience that we now serve.
With this in mind, the question we are exploring is how “diversity of perspective” makes for better decision making in business and in life.
At its most simplistic level, statisticians will tell you that a group of people who have many characteristics in common will tend to all think the same way.
On the surface this might initially sound like a good idea. After all, wouldn’t a harmonious workplace where everyone thought the same way be more productive?
Well … if all you want to do is cover the same ground, in the same way, over and over again, maybe it makes some sense.
There’s just one small problem — the advent of Covid-19 has touched just about every type of business on the planet and made it clear that most businesses are never going to operate in the same way ever again.
It’s fair to say therefore, that in the post-pandemic world — whenever we arrive there — most businesses will need to operate differently because they will need to figure out how to service their existing markets in new ways as well as how to service markets that don’t exist yet or, at best, are just in their infancy.
And guess what?
Figuring out how to access and service these post-pandemic markets will require creativity of thought in the business world like never before.
And what’s the best way to nurture and develop creativity in the workplace?
Infuse your teams with as much diversity of perspective, diversity of risk-tolerance, diversity of age, diversity of academic training and diversity of problem-solving abilities as possible.
For this to be possible the world of work will need to evolve to the point where our differences and unique characteristics are not just welcomed, they are celebrated.
It will be a world where everyone has something of value to contribute to the discussion and ideas will actually be shared and heard.
The transitional phase from “old style” business management to this new way of team-building and collaborating may be a bit bumpy, but it is a journey that I am excited to make.
• Robin Trimingham is the chief operating officer of The Olderhood Group Ltd and a virtual presenter, journalist, podcaster and thought leader in the fields of life transition and change management. Connect with Robin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/olderhoodgroup1/ or firstname.lastname@example.org
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